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How many hours do programmers work in a week?

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Stacy’s Answer

In my experience, programmers have a problem-solving mindset that drives them to work more than 40 hours every week. This works fine for those without many family responsibilities, but as you get older you might find that you need a balance between work and life outside work.

Companies might also have specific expectations when employing a programmer, such as delivering bug-free, specific functionality by a pre-determined date. This implies that no matter how many hours are involved in delivering the code, one must meet the deadline.

If possible, use sites that rate employers to see how happy their employees are. If they are unhappy and seem to have a lot of churn (people leave after only a few months or less than a couple years), that might indicate they overwork their employees.

Stacy recommends the following next steps:

Learn about agile software methodology and continuous delivery
Learn about "gig" style employment
Use sites that test your programming problem solving ability and see how long it takes you to complete complex challenges
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Tony’s Answer

That depends on the type of job and where you are in the life cycle (beginning/middle/end) of your project. Ordinarily, 7 to 8 hours a day. When you are close to a deadline, you could work 12 hours. (You usually get that extra back as compensatory time off) when things are not as crazy.

I am a programmer for a living. But I am also a programmer as a hobby. I just love making neat things and fixing broken programs. I had a project that I worked that had me to working 100 hours every week for 8 months. It was the most rewarding thing I ever did in business. The praise I got for the job was nothing compared to the pride I felt in myself.

If you pick the right career, the hours secondary. If you love doing what you have chosen as your field, the hours fly and you just don't count them.

Tony recommends the following next steps:

Just make sure you pick something you really like doing.
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Erik’s Answer

I've worked as a software engineer for many companies of various sizes. The short answer is it depends. This can vary by company, division or even your team.

You can expect 40-50 hours a week for the most part, although around release time it can go up to 80 depending on the situation. You have to be careful as some workplaces are sweatshops with highly unrealistic schedules, where working 80+ hours is the norm. There's nothing to celebrate about working that level of hours, as that quickly leads to burnout and a lot of health-related problems down the road.

Erik recommends the following next steps:

When interviewing companies, ask hard questions about their project management, especially with scheduling. Also see if the people look stressed out or tired. That's usually a bad sign.
Don't be afraid to work hard, but don't kill yourself - make sure you look out for #1.
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