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Do software engineers work as a team or alone?

-Does it depend on the job?
-When is it better to work as a team?
-Does one person do more work than the other?

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Jack’s Answer

-Does it depend on the job?

For most established companies, software engineers work in teams, often in tandem with other departments like sales, marketing, customer support.

-When is it better to work as a team?

All the time. Software development is a team sport, and more people bring more diverse skillsets, ideas and mentorships for those starting out.

-Does one person do more work than the other?

This would be dependent on your experience level , expertise and familiarity with the product. But it requires clear communication upfront regarding workload.
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Priya’s Answer

Generally, software engineers in the industry work as a team. When building larger products, the work is broken down into manageable chunks and people pick up the work they have expertise in. Most products have a range of different teams to work on different parts (i.e. Frontend, Backend, etc.). For many teams, they use agile method so in one sprint, a person may end up doing more work but in another sprint, another team member will do more, so in the end, the work is generally balanced. If only one person is doing majority of the work at all times, then it is a red flag.

Priya recommends the following next steps:

Read about agile method
See how you can find an opportunity to shadow an engineer
If learning a programming language, try to find an open source project to contribute to
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Matt’s Answer

Hi Kevin,

Software Engineers typically work in teams. From my experience, freelancing is the only route where you will be completely isolated by yourself. Even with working on a team, most time working on day to day tasks (coding, debugging) are largely done individually, However, you will always have someone on your team to reach out to when you are stuck.

On a team of say 10 engineers, you will have 1-3 managers and or senior (experienced) developers. The remaining will be junior (entry-level) developers. Senior developers typically perform the most work on a team, at least in the form of coding. Seniors are handed the most difficult coding problems as well as expected to be available to answer questions from junior developers on their work items.

So while you work in a team, you will notice as you gain more experience on a project, you go from reaching out often to get help from senior developers to being able to work more independently and being the one who can give support to fellow junior developers. This is something managers will look at to see your career progression and ultimately lead to promotion.

I think it is always better to work as a team. Being a software engineer will always have it's challenges. The ability to reach out to a colleague for help and vice versa is the best way to attack a project.
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Melissa’s Answer

Software engineers work in a team environment, you also get to work on your own and collaborate with your team. Typically you always have to work with others in your organisation, you're always building software for someone else to use, you have to work with others. It has to be used by someone else to create impact, you're always working with someone else to create. It's always better to work as a team; to bounce ideas off of, collaborate, get advice to help solve problems. You might work on individual tasks alone, but your work has a whole will benefit from being in a team. It's not about more or less work - everyone on the team brings different strengths and collaborates together.
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Jason’s Answer

If you work for a big company, then most likely you work as a team unless you work for smaller projects. For smaller companies, you'd most likely work alone.

Since you're a student, it might be better to work in a team because you can learn a lot of things when you work with a more senior team member. You can also gain a lot when others code-review your work.

When you work alone, you'd definitely do more - from topic research, tech design, implementation, testing, bug fixing, review, and releasing. This way, you can learn a lot, too, but learning curve could be pretty steep if it is your first job.
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Noah’s Answer

It absolutely depends on the job and your experience level. For larger and mid-sized companies, you'll usually be working in a team but the majority of your work-time might still be spent on your own. You could just have things like weekly check-ins or something like that. If you prefer working on your own though, maybe you should consider working for smaller companies or maybe even starting your own project. It will still be important to have good communication and teamwork skills but you will be much more in control of your own ship so to speak. You also tend to get higher-up job positions/titles within smaller companies because they have less capital to play with.

Also if your experience and education level is low, chances are that you'll have to start as an intern or low-level employee working in a team and as you gain experience you'll be able to have more freedom and choose your own workstyle.
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Bernard’s Answer

Hello Kevin,

It always depends on where you work but you should opt to work in a team. In the beginning, you will most likely be paired with a more senior engineer.

However, to this day, I will opt to work with another person, even non-engineers. You will be surprised with what you can learn from other people.

For example, my stakeholders (the people I develop for) are usually our Finance team (they keep our accounting straight...this is a vast oversimplification). When I am developing, I will bring one of them in to work with them. Why? Because they know things about accounting I would never know. I learned so much; not just about that but how that team works.

I am able to develop with them in mind and we now have a great trust between our Engineers and them.

Working in a team is more than just getting the job done. It is also about building trust across the company.

Work with others and you will never stop growing.
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Dimple’s Answer

Hi Kevin,
It depends on the kind of work you will be doing. Some tasks you may be able to go it alone, where you require some amount of focus and undisturbed time. Working with others will give you a lot of insights and perspectives you may not have thought of. Also when you are beginning it pays to work with someone so you get good information and being building your network which will come in handy in the future.

Even though you may be able to do some individual tasks by yourself, you will need information and guidance from multiple teams your task affects/interfaces with upstream or downstream.

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Kayla’s Answer

-Does it depend on the job?
Yes. It depends on the company, the company culture and team culture.

-When is it better to work as a team?
It is usually always better to work as a team. You can move faster when working alone, but you move further when working as a team.
For examples:
- When brainstorming solutions to issues, it's always better to have fresh ideas and someone to bounce ideas with.
- When working on a project, you can parallel work when you have a team and build different pieces at the same time. There's only so much you can do individually.

-Does one person do more work than the other?
It's not easy to measure the amount of work one person do.
For example, senior and architects on the team do not work on individual tickets, but they help unblock other team members and their work cannot be measured but are very important.
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Akos’s Answer

It depends on the job, but it is always better to work as a team. This will allow you to learn from others, get corrected when there is a better way, find different solutions to the issue, and spread out the small tasks. Also, when you work for big companies, or on big projects you will have to work as part of a team, so better learn it early.
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Talal’s Answer

Depending on the project's needs and the organizational structure of the company, software engineers may operate alone or in teams. The majority of the time, software engineering projects call for the cooperation of numerous engineers with various skill sets in order to produce high-quality software.

Software engineers collaborate to define project requirements, create software architecture, and write code to implement features using a team-based methodology. They might also work together on activities related to testing, bug-fixing, and maintenance. Engineers can benefit from one other's knowledge and experience, share ideas, and collaborate to their mutual advantage.


In software engineering, working alone is also typical, especially for smaller projects or jobs that call for individualized care. Working alone enables engineers to take responsibility for their job and focus on it without interruption.
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