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How Many Hours Do Software Engineers Work in 2022?

Here in this write-up, we’ll be talking about how many hours do software engineers work. Let’s learn more about it.
How Many Hours Do Software Engineers Work in 2022?

The world of software engineers is intriguing to outsiders. One impression that many individuals get is through inaccurate information concerning how many hours do software engineers work. It is a common assumption that most software engineers work round the clock.

When you enquire about standard work hours per week, numbers between 60 and 80 hours per week are not an uncommon answer. This thought lives among both developers and non-developers.

Among some engineers, there is also a strong feeling that you can only be a great software engineer if you work all hours God gives.

Nowadays, software engineers generate more output for a fewer number of hours worked.

What People Think 

Today working conditions of software engineers and other professions are very much improved.

Companies and individuals have evolved to innovative and sensible work weeks making space for their personal life.

Even companies have begun to realize that working overtime doesn’t necessarily mean that engineers will be extra fruitful.

And with the inception of remote working, software engineers can augment their output with minimum effort. Flexible work conditions have ushered in improved efficiency on all counts.

The Decline of Working Hours After the Industrial Revolution

crypto trend

Over the last 150 years, there has been a drastic reduction in the average working hours of employees.

Data was collected for the annual total hours worked of employees between 1870 and 2017.

It was found that in 1870 workers in many countries worked for over 3,000 hours a year which amounts to a whopping 60 to 70 hours a week over a 50-week working year.

Studies reveal that in Germany there was a decrease of up to 60% from over 3,000 hours a year in 1870 to just over 1,000 hours in 2017.

Even the United Kingdom recorded a decrease of 40% in working hours. These figures reflect a sharp decrease in the number of hours worked by employees.

If you look even at the last 70 years of countries that did not industrialize early you will still see a steady decline in the number of working hours. But the decline would be probably less.

Then, another interesting observation is that some countries like Germany recorded a steady decline in the number of working hours.

Other countries like the United States and India remained more or less constant.

An interesting aberration is countries like South Korea where there was a steep increase in the working hours from the 50s to the 80s, after which it dropped, and increased again in the 90s and early 2000s.

It was also observed in the case of China.

The Economic Prosperity Factor

Economic prosperity is also one of the reasons to determine how many hours do software engineers work. Life is not the same everywhere.

The most developed countries in the world have an average income of up to 20 times more than people in less developed countries.

When taking into account such differences in opulence, a normal question is: who works more, developers in richer countries or those in poorer ones? 

Analyzing the accessible data, the answer is clear – developers in some countries actually tend to work more than they should under ideal conditions.

Working hours tend to increase or decrease depending upon the gross domestic product (GDP) and per capita income.

It makes sense that once their income increases developers can afford more enjoyment and less work for more earnings.

Higher labor productivity is linked to fewer working hours when the efficiency is improved.

If a developer delivers more with each working hour, it becomes possible for them to work less and still give the required output.

This system may appear to work in theory, but it doesn’t always apply in reality. There is a disparity in the working hours of software engineers in various countries.

There are developers in some countries who work far more hours than their counterparts elsewhere.

The Real Picture

The world of software development is evolving rapidly and has numerous aspects that make it tough to keep abreast with evolving technologies.

To make matters worse, several companies hesitate to endow a lot of time, effort, and money in increasing the knowledge and skills of their engineers. 

This results in a state where numerous software engineers learn new skills and technology in their free time.

They do this in bits and pieces whenever they feel the need to and tend to treat it as a source of recreation.

Furthermore, the learning time for software engineers is only when they are not working on any project and are free.

However, this learning activity is also seen by people as working hours. But these employees are not being paid during that time.

Also, many software engineers, particularly those who are unmarried, tend to keep long hours at the office, often not clocked by the company.

There are even employees who stay back late to make use of the company facilities like free internet, beverages, snacks, and comfortable air-conditioned space!

Such employees who stay back late without any valid reason are seldom questioned by the management who gets the impression that these are dedicated employees.

An outsider would be easily impressed by such employees who make out that they are working late into the night when they are actually watching movies or playing video games at the office!

But the rest of the world thinks that they are toiling hard on some complex, secret project!

Factors Determining Efficiency and Excellence

Coming back to the crux of the issue, we have seen that standard operational hours fluctuate based on culture, business, company, and the individual.

So then how should we approach the subject of how many hours do software engineers work?

Only work will make an employee dull. You have to pursue your hobbies and deal with other social and personal obligations. It motivates you to find that extra time that evolves from doing smart work.

The better the engineer, the fewer hours they are likely to work. Will the software engineer working 60 hours a week be a better employee than the one working merely 30 hours? Not necessarily.

There are so many factors that make someone an excellent software engineer:

Scientific Knowledge

This can be defined generally here in terms of physical machines, ideas, knowledge, and processes.  Knowledge makes it possible for each employee to become so much more productive. The additional productivity will drive an increase in income and decrease working hours.

The Zeal of Learning Something New

Every day, new computing software is being developed. Old versions are updated and new technologies are flooding the market.

The average software engineer is faced with the challenge of keeping up-to-date with these dynamics.

The result is that software engineers willingly spend more and more time getting updated with the changing scenario of the software industry. They will take this newfound knowledge with them to their next job interview.

Management Skills

Software engineers must also be good at management be it in a team or while executing their personal work. Management plays a vital role in prioritizing tasks and communicating ideas and projects to their colleagues. T

he management process and administrative aspects for the job keep a software engineer occupied well beyond their allocated time each day.

Domain Expertise

Domain expertise widens your perceptive index and caters to larger audiences in lesser time.

It will enable you to influence decisions, company goals, offer new facts and improvements which will lead to lesser working hours

Competence When Working

Competency gives you exposure to systematic techniques and excellent analytical skills.

You use the right tools and algorithms which will be used to enhance the working experience. This in turn decides how long you will work to achieve your goals.

Cultural Aspects of Working Hours 

The total amount of hours worked in one week differs across countries. There are many diverse datasets to measure the parameters of different countries.

It is not always possible to acquire exact figures.

The important thing to note is that the disparity among the two extremes in each data set can be up to 10 hours a week.

Not only do people work more or fewer hours depending on where they live, but it also differs by company and industry.

You can imagine that a software engineer in a start-up will be expected to work more hours than someone in the same position at a different organization—not because they are less encouraged, but because older companies have been synchronized more and have a stronger work-life representation.

The result is a reduced number of hours software engineers are expected to perform in several organizations.

The Effect of Working Patterns

Software engineers have a steady workload – they work on their everyday jobs and have certain milestones to accomplish.

They move from one objective to another at a steady pace. That is how the typical work hours of a software engineer stay identical for months and years. 

Then, you can find engineers whose workload is less stable.  These employees experience erratic working hours that are not easily measured.

A software engineer may work in a supporting role, being accountable for fixing bugs and glitches whenever they crop up.

They might have numerous days of excessive output working for up to 10 extra hours a day.

Later on, they may have a couple of peaceful weeks of smooth sailing with only working for the requisite hours in a day shift.

Do different companies have a diverse approach to how many hours do software engineers work?  Some companies compensate with overtime while others don’t.

Some companies support self-management and allow their workers to work whenever they want as long as the job is done. The requisites of operational hours are still very much debatable.

With so many variables in the fray, you will find it almost impossible to freeze on an exact figure to answer the question, “How many hours do software engineers work?”

The Actual Work

The nine-to-five timetable does not mean individuals work all that time. Unless you have the habit of breathing over each employee’s shoulder all day long, you cannot keep tabs on what exactly each employee does.

Everyone is entitled to have a coffee or smoke break once in a while. 

Calculating the working hours of software engineers becomes more complicated when they work remotely. The working hours for software engineers, particularly the ones working remotely, are not set in stone.

The common pattern for remote workers is to spend an hour or two toiling on their actual job.

Then, they spend an hour in-between work attending to their personal tasks and then get back to work. How are you going to measure actual hours worked in such a scenario?

What eventually matters the most here is getting the job completed on time. People are not robots.

They cannot work continuously without distractions or having a couple of small breaks to stretch their legs.

In developed countries where people have the propensity to work fewer hours on average, the hours they do spend at work predominantly are their actual working hours.

Reports published strongly confirm that most engineers work around 40 hours a week, but there are certain rules laid out depending on the domain of work.

The game developer’s work hours would be dissimilar from a quality expert’s work hours, and that is considered to be completely normal. 

Some types of engineers work continuously over extended periods. Others have bursts of output followed by periods of low action or inaction.

What we see here is the average working pattern of software engineers. It is the way this particular category of employees spends their working hours.

How to Measure Working Hours


What you need to do is hit upon that balance amid having a good time at work and doing the work.

The objective here is not to make people work additional hours but to make those hours add up to a job well done. 

Let us assume that you have an average of 40 working hours per week. Out of this time spent, approximately 32 are dynamic hours.

It is those 32 hours of actual work during which you need to be productive to be as advantageous to your company as possible.

As a software engineer, most of your day will be spent dealing with coding, programming, fixing bugs, dealing with glitchy software, resolving technical queries for clients, and testing and installing software applications for customers.

These are the hours that we can consider that is the actual number that software engineers work in a day.


How many hours do software engineers work? That depends on the position you occupy, the company you work for, the job requirements, customer opportunity, whether you are on-call or not, and so on.

Being a software engineer is not a standard job, so you may anticipate working overtime and perhaps during evenings and over weekends.

All things considered, with the information provided here, we can safely assume that the average software engineer works between 40 hours to 60 hours a week.

Good management is all about finding ways to increase output while honing efficiency.

Developers are getting opportunities to improve productivity through advancements in technology.

It leads to a decrease in working hours which is essential for a society to prosper.


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