What's a day like for a software developer?

A Day in the Life of a Software Developer

Peek behind the curtain to see what a day in the life of a software developer looks like. Learn what developers do every day to have a better understanding of what a software development job entails.

Software development is a newer field compared to other professions. Yet, we can feel its impact on our daily lives. Most people interact with different software every single day—from online bank transactions and shopping to entertainment and education.

While each software development project is unique, developers have their own way of approaching their workload. This day-in-the-life overview is a general illustration of how software developers take on projects.

But before getting into what a day in the life of a software developer entails, it’s essential to understand the software development life cycle. Also, let’s briefly define the responsibilities of a software developer.

The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

When developing software, having an organized workflow is a necessity. This framework is called the Software Development Life Cycle or SDLC. It defines the processes or tasks related to each phase of the software development process.

As such, the SDLC serves as the guide for the software development process. It allows for a disciplined and systematic development approach. Here’s a brief description of the phases in the SDLC:

1. Analysis

In this phase, the team performs a requirements analysis to determine the project’s priorities, including the features. This includes documentation, estimation, and validation of each sub-tasks.

2. Design

This is where developers make the software architecture and mock-ups of the project. Furthermore, this is the stage to identify the tools or technologies to use during development.

3. Development

During this phase, the actual development happens. Developers will write code to create the software.

4. Testing

QAs will lead this phase. They test the system to see if it works according to the defined specifications. Also, they will report any bugs to developers for fixing.

5. Deployment

After all the tests, the software development team will launch the product for consumption. It is important to know that the phases of SDLC are not sequential. For example, teams can perform the Analysis and Design steps simultaneously.

Software Developer’s Responsibilities

Now that you have an idea about the process of developing software, let’s take a look at the general tasks assigned to developers.

Software developers are technical experts that design and create software. They develop applications for both desktop and mobile devices. Their roles may vary according to the requirements and needs of their organization. However, their tasks always entirely revolve around the software development life cycle. Below are the general responsibilities of software developers:

  • Research, gather and define business/software requirements
  • Develop scalable and efficient code based on user needs 
  • Test and debug code for any issues
  • Communicate and collaborate with developers and UX designers
  • Determine which software tools, systems, and components to use
  • Monitor the performance of all existing systems
  • Upgrade and improve existing systems
  • Ensure the integrity of the QA standards
  • Write technical documentation
  • Gather user feedback for points of improvements 

With these tasks, one can conclude that any software developer’s workday is packed. Because of this most developers establish a preferred routine to get into their workflow quickly each day.

A Day in the Life of a Software Developer

Before diving right in, we have two disclaimers: (1) Software development jobs can vary day-to-day. (2) Every organization has its own culture and ways of doing things. 

Morning Sprints

Typically, software developers work as a part of an Agile team. Each team has five or more members. Generally, software development projects are large and complex. This is why it is broken into shorter periods with specific objectives called “sprints.”

Every development team member will take on tasks that best suit their skills. (Some teams would allow the developers to pick their task while others have the team leaders assign one.)

To collaborate, the team will have short daily sessions. The purpose of these 10-15 minute meetings is to let developers share what they have done, their roadblocks, and to-dos.

The Routine

Traditionally, software developers work an 8-hour workday shift. However, they may be asked to stay until completing tasks during critical times. With that said, a developer’s day may look like this:

Morning Rush

8 AM: The developer clocks in, checks, and replies to emails. They also organize both short and long-term to-do lists and set meetings.

9 AM: Attend stand-up meetings and organize daily collaborations.

Then, they head into their project tasks. Depending on their assignments, they will spend time writing code, solving pending problems, and possibly bug fixing.

To communicate with their fellow developers, they will either send them messages and queries through chat applications or do a quick meeting. After a rather hectic morning, this will bring them to their much-needed lunch break.

Encountering Issues and Launches

After writing code and solving problems in the morning, the developer potentially needs to address different aspects of the project. The developer might proceed with conducting code reviews and tests to check for the program’s functionality or if it works as intended.

Great developers ask their colleagues to brainstorm how to approach projects and issues. They develop a solution and alternative ways to solve problems. Before the developer proceeds to make changes, they have to pitch their approach to their manager and the rest of the team. 

Upon getting people onboard with their solutions, the developer can now proceed in implementing the changes. After checking and testing the new features, they will deploy their project to its respective environment.

That is what a typical day in the life of a software developer is like. 

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