A Typical Work Week For Software Developers: The Raw Numbers

Films and TV shows set in fast-paced industries like finance and entertainment have created the image of the indefatigable worker. In them, people often work late into the night, on weekends, and are always available in the event of a crisis. The unfortunate reality is that this fictional worker archetype has been steadily leaving its mark on the expectations of managers, CEOs, and founders.

The Guardian recently reported on this phenomenon when they were presented with text messages sent from the manager of a call center in the United Kingdom to their employees.

The message read as follows:

Right team we have a great day ahead of us, down to us to make it great… going to be loads [of] gazelles knocking around in the grasslands again today so when we get starting you need to have claws out, win the fight and bringing them back home to the pack! Remember ‘gazelle will never say just eat me’ we have to hunt and it starts at 09.00!

Some employees might view these messages as a source of inspiration — motivation to do their jobs better. However, most see it as a sign that our work culture has run amok. Many workers feel that they are being pushed far too hard, even if they’re being compensated with a handsome salary.

But first, let’s discuss why it is important for us to talk about this topic.

Why This Topic Matters For Many People

The sad reality is that many who work in positions that require advanced degrees end up feeling exploited by those they work for.

Workplace burnout can lead to reduced productivity for several months after the initial illness. This means that companies may end up losing out on revenue because of it, which is something nobody wants to deal with.

That said, let’s get into the numbers. How many hours do software developers typically work per week?

How Many Hours Does A Software Developer Work In A Day?

Like all jobs, the hours that each programmer spends at their job can fluctuate depending on many factors.

Some of these variables include the role they play within the company, how much there is to do, and even personal factors like family obligations or medical issues that might affect their ability to work.

Let’s start by comparing some countries where demand for software developers is the highest:

  • United States: 6.75 hours per day
  • Canada: 6.52 hours per day
  • Australia: 6.20 hours per day
  • Brazil: 6.57 hours per day
  • New Zealand: 6.74 hours per day

At first glance, it’s strange to see that in all of these countries, software developers work for less than 7 hours per day. Isn’t the average work day 8 hours long, after all?

According to most definitions: Yes.

However, it is important to remember that these averages include plenty of people who work part-time or who have contract jobs that have them working only minimal hours per day. One survey of full time software developers in the United States suggested that they work about 8.6 hours per day on average.

Based on a study of 3,000 employees, most Software Developers spend between 2 and 6 hours coding per day:

Number of hours spent coding by Software Developers per day

When it comes to meetings, around 70% of Software Developers spent less than 1 hours in meetings.

Number of hours Programmers spend in meetings per day

How Many Hours Does A Software Developer Work In A Week?

To understand the hours a software developer spends working in a week, we need to look at averages across several countries. We want to provide you with the full-spectrum of software developer experiences across the globe, so it’s important that we are looking at multiple countries with various customs and cultures!

Here’s the data:

  • Mexico: 43.36 hours per week
  • Vietnam: 41.72 hours per week
  • India: 40.71 hours per week
  • Greece: 38.78 hours per week
  • Russia: 37.96 hours per week
  • Peru: 37.16 hours per week
  • Portugal: 35.83 hours per week
  • Estonia: 35.70 hours per week
  • Turkey: 35.23 hours per week
  • Nigeria: 35.13 hours per week
  • Ireland: 33.57 hours per week
  • Italy: 33.12 hours per week
  • Argentina: 32.52 hours per week
  • Finland: 31.90 hours per week
  • Germany: 26.03 hours per week

As you can see here, there is a broad spectrum of expected work hours per week depending on a person’s country of residence. Software developers generally work somewhere between 35 and 40 hours per week, but there are outliers — we’re looking at you, Germany!

How Many Hours Does A Software Developer Work Per Month?

You’d think it would be easy to take the number of hours software developers work per week and multiply it by 4 to get hours worked per month. However, it isn’t always this simple!

Here are some of the reasons why the monthly hours that a software developer may put in can differ:

  • Variable number of weeks per month.
  • Time off for holidays.
  • Seasonal or one-off projects.
  • Number of people taking vacation time.
  • Project specifics.

A given software developer can reasonably budget for at least 125 hours of work per month. However, that number can fairly easily climb to 250+ hours, depending on the volume of work and how many people are out of the office.

What Are The Typical Working Hours For A Software Developer?

Even though there’s a lot of variance in how many hours software developers work per week and month, we can generally describe the working hours for this profession as “flexible.”

Many workplaces will have standard hours during which their employees need to be present — for example, whether an employee should come in at 10 AM or 11 AM isn’t going to have much effect on their workday.

However, there are a few standard patterns that we can identify:

Most software developers will start working in the morning hours and continue working into the late afternoon or early evening. New research shows that 9:06AM is the average start time and that most developers clock out at 5:34PM. Developers may also frequently stay up late at night during the work week to get ahead of deadlines or because they’re too excited about their work to go to sleep.

Typically, software developers will have some time off on the weekends and during major holidays. This can vary depending on company policy and local legislation — or it may be negotiated between an employer and employee, especially if the developer has a contract rather than a full-time position! It’s very common for developers to take 2–3 weeks of vacation time over the course of a year.

More Software Developers than ever are now working a 4 day work week To add to the flexibility that so many software developers enjoy, many employers are now springing for 4-day work weeks. This helps programmers avoid burnout which can often result in higher quality code. A 4 day week is a fantastic employee benefit which is also a major recruitment attraction for companies who may otherwise struggle with hiring.

This article was original posted on 4 day week — Software engineering jobs with a better work life balance 🎉

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Phil from 4 day week

Phil from 4 day week

Founder @ 4dayweek.io - jobs with a better work / life balance.