6 answers

What is the day to day like being a software developer?

Asked Boston, Massachusetts

Depending on where you work, what are your hours like and what do you do.

#computer-software #softwaredeveloper #technology #game-development

6 answers

David’s Answer

Updated Boston, Massachusetts

I've worked as a Developer, Technical Lead (in charge of a small team), and a Senior Analyst Programmer (doing the scoping and requirements gathering as well as the solution development).

The day to day depends on what kind of team you're a part of and what industry you work in. A lot of companies have moved towards SCRUM/AGILE development.

In an AGILE work environment you come into work and usually start the day with a SCRUM or daily stand up meeting. This is the chance for the tech leads and project managers set and check priorities for the day/week/release. Everyone has a voice, but the objective of this meeting is to be quick and a quick information session. This usually spawns other breakout meetings or 1 on 1's with other coworkers to go into more detail if needed.

On a standard day I'm doing one of a few things. I'm either researching/designing, coding, code reviewing, or demoing functionality.

Research/Designing - Researching the requirements and asking questions if the requirements are not clear. This can be using a whiteboard to draw out the problem and the touch points. This can be just talking to coworkers to have someone else hear the idea/design.

Coding - this is coding in whatever language you're working in. I've personally worked in MSSQL, Java, Python, C#, and a lot of front end JavaScript frameworks. What you'll code in depends on the jobs you're working, but exposure to all levels of the technology stack is great for career growth. I would say that the more time you spend creating a strategy and drawing out your solution (research/design step), the less time you spend coding/recoding.

Code Review - is when you review other coworkers code. Rarely do we code as a one-person team. We do code reviews just to provide a second set of eyes. Sometimes you can catch silly mistakes or sometimes you have some experience with the functionality that the other coder hadn't considered.

Demoing - depending on the job, you might have to demonstrate your code. This is a great opportunity to show off your work. You will learn a lot in these sessions because you start to figure out what the end users (the people using your programs) really care about and how they use the software.

Leon’s Answer

Updated Fort Worth, Texas

I worked in Quincy MA at Arbella Insurance for 12 years not as a software developer but as a release engineer. In the release engineer position I worked closely with the software development teams so I know a lot of what they do day to day.

Arbella Insurance has been on the best places to work in Boston for 8 years and most of the years in the top three. So what I tell you about software developers at Arbella is NOT always true about other companies.

At Arbella the software developers mostly code in Java and their daily schedule usually depends on the time of the month. All of the standard Production releases are scheduled for the end of the month. So the work schedule during the first and middle parts of the month are pretty much 8 to 5 but the end of the month there maybe extra time spent to get the Production release delivered on schedule.

Arbella associates are able to use VPN away from the office so if there is extra time to work on their code they do not have to come into the office. Other companies might have security problems with associates using VPN so they would have to come into the office to work.

One of the reasons Arbella was the best place to work in Boston is because of the daily activities. There is usually a fun activity during every week (games between associates, celebrate employee promotions and years of service, special meals before holidays, etc.) and volunteer for activities around Boston. There is a cafeteria in the building with discounts for employees. I am sure there are more fun activities that I am leaving out.

Again other companies in Boston might have a completely different day to day schedule. So it is important when you interview with a company that you ask about the day to day activity at that company.

Leon recommends the following next steps:

  • Learn to program a language and progress to an advanced level.
  • Learn another programming language.

Xiangmin’s Answer


Hi Bryan,

I worked as a software engineer at Amazon Web Service and now at Airbnb. I just start at Airbnb and haven't got familiar with everything here so I can share my typical week at AWS.

Every morning around 10am we always have a small meeting within the team which we call Standup before we really start our work. During the meeting, each team member shares what they completed yesterday, what they will do today and any questions/concern they have. This is a good opportunity to know other team members' work. Then we start our daily work and it usually includes coding, code review, service/architecture design and design review. We also need to spend some time on interviewing people.

As a software engineer, we usually have three important meetings every week. On Monday we have Dev Operational Meeting, which is to discuss problems occurred with our online product during the past week and see if there is any way to prevent them. On Thursday morning we have a demo show meeting to display the achievements in the past week. For example, we can show how the website performance improved after fixing some bugs or the new feature we just added. On the same day afternoon, we will have meeting called Retrospective to discuss what we like, what we don't like and what we can further improve. In the Friday morning we do planning for next week, which we call it Story Writing & Tasking. During this meeting, product managers will share what we need to complete next week and we discuss with develop managers to break it into smaller tasks for individuals to work.

We have happy hour at 4pm on Friday! Managers will bring beer and stacks and we play foosball, pingpong and chat, which is pretty cool! :)

That's pretty much what's our life as software engineers at AWS. Please feel free to leave comments if you have any questions.

Xiangmin recommends the following next steps:

  • Tech company blogs are also good places to know more about this.

Glenn’s Answer


Of course it depends on the job and role, but in my case I typically start out by going through my email and dealing with any questions or issues. Next I'll either be working on some code (designing, coding or testing) or troubleshooting a problem, documenting, etc. I may have to prepare and go to a meeting or two (or three) over the course of the day (mainly online meetings in my case). In between there's coffee, lunch, maybe a walk. The work is interesting and funny, challenging and sometimes frustrating, but ultimately satisfying.

Ian’s Answer

Updated St. Louis, Missouri

Hi Bryan!

I work as a Scrum Master at AT&T, so I can tell you what I see as the day to day of my dev team. We follow Agile as our software development life cycle. This means we try to be constantly adapatable and deliver software iteratively rather than gathering all of our requirements at one time and then deliver one final product some time later (the waterfall SDLC).

So, each day we have our daily stand up. We work in two week iterations meaning at the end of the two weeks we then then have a retrospective to review what worked well, what could be improved upon, and review actions items from the last sprint to see how we can keep getting better. After retro, we then hold a sprint plan where the developers commit to stories to take on for the next sprint. During our sprints we will also host a short backlog grooming twice a week where we review stories, assign level of effort points, and then prioritize the story in our backlog.

In an ideal day, a developer will have about 6 hours of development time after accounting for stand up, lunch, etc..

Let me know if you have any other questions and have a wonderful day!

Joe’s Answer


I've worked as a Software Developer for over 30 years.  Day to day depends on what your role is in the company.  There are several roles depending on skillset, and your current level of experience.

As an entry level software developer your day would involve some potential meetings, and development.  As you move up the ladder in experience you will typically take on other roles such as (mentor, researcher, designer, code reviewer, etc.).  You'll typically wear multiple of these hats on a daily basis.

The one thing to realize is that your learning / training never ends.  There are always new technologies that you need to stay on top of to be successful.