Results of LW Technical Background Survey

by johnswentworth1 min read26th Jul 20194 comments


Personal Blog

See results here.

The main goal of the survey was to provide info for authors about their target audience, so here's a high-level overview toward that end:

  • The average respondent is some kind of professional programmer, with an undergrad degree (or equivalent) in CS.
  • Most people have seen at least some economics and probability, but not at the level of a undergrad degree.
  • Almost everyone knows calculus, but linear algebra or differential equations will likely be lost on at least ~25% of respondents.
  • There are substantial zero-knowledge and high-knowledge counts for most areas.
  • About half of respondents had read the sequences in their entirety.

Here are charts of the responses to each question. I strongly recommend looking at them directly rather than just taking my summary at face value. As always, remember this is an opt-in survey without any sort of verification of responses, so take everything with a grain of salt.

One interesting note: we had a handful of respondents declaring very high skill levels (Nobel-level economists, Turing-level computer scientists, or primary developers of popular software). I'd personally be interested to hear what exactly those people work on, especially if they're willing to occasionally field questions on their area of expertise. All y'all should leave a comment or something.

Actually, I'm curious what everyone works on, especially specialties for all the researchers. Feel free to leave a quick comment, especially if you're able and willing to occasionally field questions in your area of expertise.