Take what you thought you knew about developer life and chuck it in the waste bin

When we say the word “developer” what is the first picture that springs to mind? A young man (probably unshaven, in skinny jeans sporting some sort of ironic T-shirt that he got for free at a recent tech convention) hunched over his desk, in the wee hours of the night, a Redbull in one hand, cold pizza in the other, with only the cold glow of lines of code to keep him company …

Thanks to our recent survey of developers based in the U.S. and the U.K., we can now confirm that lots we thought we knew about a typical developer is in fact … wrong.

What the survey told us is that your typical developer is making smart choices that include eating right and choosing healthy snacks (bye-bye donuts), making time for lunch (although often still eating at their desk), getting to bed on time (well, before midnight anyway), and of course coding for fun or watching TV in their free time.

To go into a little more detail, we had a look at the day in the life of your average developer, and our findings revealed:

  • While 50% start the morning with a cup of coffee, the usual breakfast suspects like cereal, eggs and toast were the most important way for developers to start their day. “Other” choices provided, which included fruit, oatmeal, tea, yogurt or a smoothie made up over 20% of breakfast choices. They took preference over less healthier breakfast options like Poptarts or fast food, both at around 1%. It should be noted here that respondents could choose more than one item for this question.
  • While nearly 40% drive to work each day, almost 30% work from home; and 15% use public transportation – among U.K. respondents that number jumps to 24%. Also, more than 10% of the U.K. respondents report biking to work. Well done, you 10%.
  • Spotify is the most popular means of listening to music during the day with more than one in four using the service, but more than 20% don’t listen to music at all during the day. Of course, a few people also told us about some other methods they use, which include using MOD (old retro Amiga computer files) for listening to audio, and we had one vinyl fan who works at home. Tidal (Jay-Z’s new platform) had two mentions (although, we’re uncertain if one of those replies wasn’t in fact from Mr. Jay-Z himself).
  • 38% bring lunch to work and eat at their desk, while another 12% bring their lunch but then leave the office during the day to eat it. Of course, 11% also said “What’s lunch?” 12% get lunch in an office cafeteria, and nearly 28% buy lunch out.
  • Somewhat surprisingly, more than 28% do not snack during the day, and more than 21% pick choices other than the junk food we expected to see rise to the top of the list, including a variety of healthy options like almonds, carrots, dried fruits, health bars, sunflowers seeds, veggies or nuts. Fruit was another popular healthy option with almost one in five having that as their daily snack of choice. An apple a day, as they say.
  • The majority of the developers surveyed only socialize with their colleagues occasionally while over 20% do not socialize at all, either because they would rather not, or they simply do not have colleagues! It should be noted that U.K. participants were less likely to socialise due to working alone, while U.S. respondents were more likely to not socialise due to not wanting to do so in the first place (we can be a stubborn bunch).
  • When it is time to relax, nearly 72% watch TV, and 63.5% code for fun (some habits die hard). Nearly 58% like to go out, and 51% reported that they are into gaming.
  • More than half are in bed before midnight, and 12% turn in before 10 pm. Only 2.1% reported being nocturnal, and 2.6% agreed that sleep is for the weak.
  • Among those surveyed, the majority have been doing this sort of work for more than 10 years, including 45.5% of respondents who identified as IoT developers.

Stay tuned, as we will be taking a closer look at how the daily habits of developers compare between the U.S. and the U.K., and we will also be conducting additional research studies with the developers throughout the year to continue to take the pulse of this unique community.


Featured photo courtesy of Ed Ivanushkin.

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