Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Day in the Life of a Software Engineer

I've discovered that many people don't really know what I do at work. Lots of people imagine that being a "computer programmer" (I prefer the term Software Engineer) consists of sitting in a dark room typing furiously at a computer.

Basically, Kevin Smith's character from Die Hard.

That's a long way from what I do.  First of all, it's really hard to get anything useful done in a dark basement. Secondly, a single person typing madly at for hours on end does not create useful software. Useful software comes from patient, well rested software developers who get plenty of sunlight.

A Day in the Life of a Real Software Engineer


  • Wake up
  • Feed the dog
  • Put on a tee shirt and jeans
  • Grab my backpack and lunch
  • Drive/bike to work



  • Chat with coworkers about an approach to a problem I'm facing.
  • Keep working on the task.


  • Attend team meeting
    • These generally are about sharing progress ("Here's what I've accomplished, here's where I'm stuck") and clarifying goals.
  • Get a big piece of paper to sketch notes and diagrams related to the task I'm addressing.


  • Get hit by flying rubber band (inter-cubical communication).
  • Go for a walk.
  • Design an icon for a button related to my current task.
  • Each lunch.


  • Discuss the downward spiral of M Night Shyamalan's career.
  • Brainstorm approaches to a tricky problem.


  • Switch to a different task.
  • Discuss status of ongoing office pranks.


  • Get more coffee.
  • Read documentation in an empty conference room (to avoid distractions).


  • Do pull ups.
  • Switch to standing desk to avoid getting too sleepy.


  • Take a quick nap.
  • Update notes on task progress.


  • Drive/bike home

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