How Many Hours Does a Software Developer Work?

People often hear about how software developers can sometimes work long hours. While that can be true in some cases, there are plenty of factors worth considering for that assumption to be true. Depending on which firm the developer work in, the industry the developer works in, their experience in the field, and their general skills in programming.

So if you want to find out more about how many hours a software developer works, here is a thorough breakdown.   

Average Working Hours for a Software Developer 

Programming is a full-time job that requires developers to work at least eight hours a day, depending on their assignment. Software developers are no exception to this rule. In fact, they usually tend to work longer than eight hours. Therefore, an average of 25% of software developers work overtime. 

Most software developers usually start working in the morning. They continue working through the late afternoon or, in some cases, early evening. Recent research shows that software developers time in around 9 in the morning and mostly time out after 5 in the afternoon.

Development in general can  be a very demanding job. Streaming companies and gaming companies rarely track their software developer’s working hours. Developers usually get an assignment and will leave when they finish. However, this can also depend on the specific policies of a company. If they’re a popular tech company, software developers will usually work very hard there.

Average working hours vary for each developer according to their levels. There are, entry-level developers and senior software developers. 


Average working hours for an entry-level vary from eight hours to nine, depending on the complexity of their work. They may choose to extend their hours by staying in and learning from more experienced developers. 

Senior Developers

For senior software developers, overtime is inevitable. They often work for 45 hours a week or ten hours a day. Their manager can also call them in when a stakeholder asks for a report or an update regarding their projects. And when they’re promoted to managerial positions, they have a much bigger workload and responsibilities to sort through, such as training and looking after entry-level developers. 

How Many Hours Does a Software Developer Work In a Day?

Software developers work on a daily basis to build and optimize programs, softwares, applications, and underlying operating systems. However, since most of them work on assignments, their daily timings can be challenging to decipher. It can either be a long shift or an shorter one; their schedule is as flexible as it’s unpredictable. 

Usually, their timings are nine to five, an eight-hour shift. But when they’re assigned a complex task with a deadline, they usually stay in late and finish their work. Suppose, they have minor projects lined up throughout the day, they won’t need to stay in for eight hours. A skilled software developer can go through those projects in just a few hours. 

Software developers usually work eight hours a day or 40 to 50 hours a week. This may vary depending on multiple factors such as:

  • Software developers are more likely to work longer hours if the company they are working for is either a start-up or a well-established business.
  • If they’re nearing the deadline for an important project, they will need to stay at work to address all of the bugs and optimize their software.
  • If a software developer is in a higher position, they will usually have to stay back. Their responsibilities to their team and whoever is under their employ require them to often work longer hours.

Many workplaces for other professions have a strict schedule for timing that every employee has to follow. However, you can have a relatively flexible working schedule in software development. If you finish early, you can spend it however you like. Unlike in some professions, you have to complete your shift.

Some tech companies have an average of working their software developers for 32 hours a week since they operate only four days a week.

How Many Hours Software Developers Spend Coding?

Developers will spend a large chunk of their office time writing and fixing code. However, while it is a major part of their workday, it isn’t the only thing that they do. From meetings, to training sessions, to briefings, and much more, software developers will usually spend their day in various ways. 

And as some companies move towards implementing a four-day work week, developers will be spending even less time coding. As of now, developers spend between two and four hours of their average shift coding. 

32-Hour Average or a Four-day Work Week

Some tech companies have introduced a four-day per week average, which have increased productivity incredibly. Initially, when Microsoft Japan introduced this, companies were skeptical and didn’t quite agree with having such a small work week. However, with productivity increasing by 40% on average, companies have also started applying policies for their employees. This also caused more hiring listings for the companies that have a four-day week policy. 

There’s an increase in the number of software developers working four days a week. Since developers often work so hard, they require frequent breaks to avoid burnout. The extra day off every week adds to the existing flexibility of their schedules, while improving creativity and mental health. Both are essential for every human but especially crucial for developers. They need to function at optimal capacity to write code and find creative problems to bugs. 

Goose Chase, Uplift, Kickstarter, Wildbit, Smalls, etc., are excellent examples of companies that applied this policy.

Do Freelance Software Developers Work Longer Hours?

Freelance software developers usually work for various clients at once, but some may choose to work for one company, per project on a contract. Mostly, these particular developers will complete special projects and complex applications that need more refined programming skills.

Freelance software developers don’t tend to work longer hours because of their personalized schedules. They’re free to choose whatever projects and clients they like according to their schedule and needs. Once they have the project they want, they can usually finish up in a few hours. As previously mentioned, software development has more flexible schedules compared to other, more rigid firms. But if the developer is working as a freelancer, their working hours will be easier to handle. 

Developers lean more towards freelancing since their working schedule is more versatile and designed to fit their specific requirements. Students who want to earn as they study will often opt for freelancing or individuals who have a tighter schedule.  

If you’re looking for more adjustable schedules in a work environment and programming is something you specialize in, then freelancing in software development would be perfect for you.

To Conclude

How many hours does a software developer work vary depending on various factors. If you are considering becoming a full-time software developer, you should know that the workload differs throughout different industries. However, sometimes working as a software developer does require putting in extra hours if there are specific factors in play. For further adjustable working hours, you can opt for freelance software development as it offers more convenience.  

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