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Sep 14, 2015 | Reading time: 3 Minutes

A Day in the Life of a Software Developer

Laura Vietmeyer, Managing Editor

Today’s blog by SingleHop senior developer Aaron Ryou is our (belated) celebration of International Programmer’s Day, which was held yesterday, September 13 – the 256th day of the year. What’s significant about that figure, you ask? It’s the number of distinct values that can be represented by an eight-bit byte.

We asked Aaron to share with us a typical day in the life of a software developer, one of the fastest-growing and most in-demand occupations in the U.S.

Thanks to him and all of INAP’s dev team for their spectacular work; their contributions are the foundation of our growth and success!

– The Editors

software developer comic
(via programmers.life, Andre Noel)

I come to work, drink caffeine and click buttons on my keyboard. That’s the abridged version.

Here’s the expanded version.

For you aspiring programmers out there: Be prepared to be a student for life. There is no “I know enough” or “I’m at the point where I don’t need any new skills.” You must continually learn because tech always evolves. It’s the primary reason why my passion for the job hasn’t diminished from the time I was a junior (wet-behind-the-ears) developer. From job-to-job, project-to-project or task-to-task there is always something new to absorb.

I think that’s one of the great perks of working at SingleHop – the company nurtures “dev curiosity.” Typically, every morning starts by asking yourself, “What can I learn today?”

But let’s back up for a second. Before I can talk about my day as a developer, you have to understand the night of a developer. It’s usually spent reading or playing around with some new technology that may not have anything to do with your day job. This can take you to the wee hours of the night (hence the need for inordinate amounts of caffeine the next day).

With that helpful context established, here’s my (and a large contingent of other’s in my occupation) typical day.

1.) The first thing you think when you sit down at your desk is “I hope nothing I wrote breaks” because as a developer you’re not only working on new code but also have to support released code.

2.) The second thought of the day is, “Where did I leave off yesterday?” Sometimes you remember exactly where, sometimes it’s more problematic. Juggling multiple tasks is part of the job and oftentimes it leaves you scatterbrained. I guess the trick is to keep things prioritized.

How do we keep things prioritized you ask?

3.) Scrum to the rescue! Scrum is a methodology for software development that ensures dev teams are working as a unit toward the common project goal. We have our scrum about 9:30 every morning. This involves our whole team from PMs to designers and stakeholders. Any questions about what I should be working on that day will be asked here. I work with an awesome team of devs so getting great advice on my tasks and projects is easy and appreciated.

4.) Hmm . . . what’s next? Did I  mention caffeine? Next comes the clicking of the buttons:

  • Click, click, click
  • Update task tickets
  • “What should I eat for lunch? Italian Beef or Thai?”
  • Click, click, click
  • Update task tickets
  • “Ooh someone’s playing video games.”
  • Click, click, click
  • Update task tickets
  • “Ooh, there’s beer!”

I know I said this was the expanded version, but we don’t need to go into the minutia. In reality, a single day isn’t the best aperture for viewing what it’s like to be a developer. What it really comes down to is making positive contributions to your team, caring about the code you write, keeping up with new skills and tech, and promoting growth for your team as well as for yourself.

If you can check those items off your list on a consistent basis, software development will provide a long and rewarding career.

Updated: January 2019

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