Rust language is fun but challenging — survey

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Use of the Rust programming language is on the rise, with respondents to a recent survey about the language reporting an uptick in weekly usage. However, some users also reported struggles.

Among those surveyed who are using Rust, 81% were using the language on at least a weekly basis, compared to 72% in last year’s survey. Of all Rust users, 75% said they are able to write production-ready code but 27% said it was at times a struggle to write useful, production-ready code.

These findings were included in Rust Survey 2021 Results, the latest edition of the Rust community’s annual report on usage of the language, published February 15. While the survey pointed toward a growing, healthy community of “Rustaceans,” it also found challenges. In particular, Rust users would like to see improvements in compile times, disk usage, debugging, and GUI development.

The Rust Survey 2021 Results report was based on a survey of 9,354 respondents in December 2021. The number of participants grew by roughly 1,500 responses compared to last year’s total. In other findings:

  • For those who adopted Rust at work, 83% found it “challenging.” But it was unclear how much of this was a Rust-specific issue or general challenges posed by adopting a new language. During adoption, only 13% of respondents believed the language was slowing their team down while 82% believed Rust helped their teams achieve their goals.
  • Of the respondents using Rust, 59% use it at least occasionally at work and 23% use it for the majority of their coding. Last year, only 42% used Rust at work.
  • Of the respondents using Rust at work, 89% said their teams found it enjoyable and fun to program.
  • The top reason given by respondents for why they use Rust at work was that Rust allowed them “to build relatively correct and bug-free software.”
  • Only 3% of those surveyed said Rust was a risky choice for production use.

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