DEV Community

Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

Posted on

What do you do on a daily basis for your job?

Top comments (28)

colinmtech profile image
Colin Morgan

Senior Remote Contract Software Developer here. I'll describe yesterday because it's a fairly common day for me.

  • Check slack for any mentions that I missed while I was sleeping and reply where necessary.
  • Check devops channels to see if anything is on fire.
  • If something is on fire, I start investigating and fixing.
  • Check email and reply where necessary.
  • Check github for relevant correspondence and reply where necessary.
  • If nothing is on fire, I start knocking out github issues that are assigned to me.
  • Grab a bite for lunch.
  • East coast is usually waking up now.
  • Jump into a meeting and meet new client for project I'll be taking lead on.
  • Start the process of setting up for the project (get github access, PM software, etc).
  • Go back to knocking out github issues.
  • Attend the daily development team stand up.
  • Go back to knocking out github issues.
  • Ride off into the sunset, because I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride.
oivoodoo profile image
Alexandr K

Remote Contract Developer

  • make coffee
  • play with kids
  • make breakfast
  • read emails
  • read slack
  • read hangout
  • read
  • finally read task board
  • work on the tasks
  • eat
  • play with kids
  • work again, again
  • go outside
  • eat
  • meetings time (morning for my clients and evening for me)


ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I'm getting pretty jealous of the folks in the thread who work from home and wake up well before their clients.

Seems like a good way to have lots of nice productivity and then finish up with a few meetings later on.

okolbay profile image
andrew • Edited

Martin Fowler’s blog has a good take on this pne, I guess it was posted here on

effective remote is hard, most of the people working remote might be productive for few hours a day (because they manage only their individual schedule). Most of remote/distributed teams, though, are loosing to on-site. There is a high chance of working in a silo and “what the hell have you built” effect.

So don’t envy )

sullinator07 profile image
David Sullivan


jacoby profile image
Dave Jacoby

I am a developer (right now, the developer) for a genomics core lab.

What we do is gene sequencing (reading, not writing) for a research institution. There are many labs that need sequences done, and few of them do it enough for it be worthwhile for them to get their own sequencer, so there's us.

What I do, most days, is look at two screens at a standing desk and type.

My corner of the lab is mostly about meta-data. Who brought in samples? What are the samples? What do you want done with them? How are we getting paid? This is mostly web forms and SQL, and I go in to fix data much more often than I do to fix or update the tools, but that does happen.

Because nobody wants to waste time and money sequencing bad samples, there are Quality Assurance steps. My code generates config files, so we don't get "sample 1, sample 2" in output that we have to associate with the sample IDs later. I also have some visualization tools that allow us to inform our customers where we are in the process.

Sequencing can take between a few hours and a week, depending on the engine, and you end up with about 100 characters of ACGT per read, and all the reads are in different files, and the assembly process occurs to make it into one full genome, which can be several hundred GBs. Here we must remember that file systems are filled with inodes, and you can kill a file system with a huge number of small files, even if disk usage is still small. This is not part of my workflow, yet.

The output of the assembly is on a multi-petabyte storage system (shared across departments) connected to several research clusters, and we have several ways to share this data. If our customers are also on this cluster, we use Access Control Lists (ACLs) to ensure they can access it. Previously, it was done via ln and magic, but the new storage system supports ACLs, which is better. I wrote tools that add and remove access control based on stored rules across large directories, but now that that's working, I rarely have to think about them.

If a customer does not have access to these systems, or if we have moved their data onto tape storage, we use a service called Globus to give them access. Because the permission to share this data lies with us, not our customers, I wrote a proxy to for this. I spend much more time checking that systems are up and helping the customers and their collaborators navigate this service than working on the tools themselves.

Additionally, I'm a computer guy in a lab where much of the work is biochemical, so fixing PCs, running cable, and answering questions on Excel also fall to me.


  • Monday morning, I reset permissions for Globus.
  • (Almost every) Tuesday afternoon, I go to campus helpdesk at a coffee shop to ask the admins of the storage system and clusters questions and to sometimes answer our customers' questions as well.
  • Every other Thursday, there's a meeting between my boss and other bioinformatics people. Every other meeting, the admins are there as well.

Nearly everything else changes depending on what's going on that day or week.

craser profile image
Chris Raser

I'm a Senior Dev for an online clothing retailer. Mostly web-focused (full stack, all JS), but with a sizeable chunk of time devoted to more Enterprise-y stuff (Java).

Typical day:

  • ~8:30 AM: Arrive, check my calendar.
  • Catch up on email, answer/file/todo as appropriate. Reach Inbox Zero.
  • Resolve any issues from overnight failed jobs. (Infrequent.)
  • Create general plan for the day.
  • Headphones in, coding. (Usually something I think I can knock out before lunch.)
  • ~10:00 AM: Short break.
  • Either I'm back to coding, or if there are smaller tasks to do, this is when I'll get them done.
  • ~11:30 AM Lunch: bike ride or gym, quick cleanup, take lunch back to my desk.
  • Coffee, headphones, code.
  • Break at a good stopping point. Snack.
  • If there's more coding to be done, the headphones go on again. If it's email/conversations/planning, this is my usual pen & paper or "can we chat about..." time.
  • 5:30 PM: HARD STOP. Get my child from school.
  • ~8:30 - 10:30 PM: If there's something left over that really can't wait, I'll do it after my child goes to sleep.
yechielk profile image
Yechiel Kalmenson • Edited

Web Developer:

  • Field incoming tickets with bug reports/feature requests.
  • Triage and prioritize which of the above we should be working on.
  • Work on the tickets my boss tells me to work on that day.
  • In absence of above guidance work on any of the other tickets I feel like working on.
monknomo profile image
Gunnar Gissel

I'm a senior government developer and my days are usually like this:

  • Check email for emergent issues and other things that might set the day's agenda
  • Check calendar for whatever meetings I have
  • Check Jira to see where issues are and how my contractors and juniors are doing
  • Look at Jira issue I'm working on; work on it
  • Field user support questions
  • Field stakeholder questions
  • Field developer questions
  • Elicit feedback from stakeholders
  • Go to status meetings
  • Go to design meetings
  • Go to outreach meetings
geoff profile image
Geoff Davis

As a developer for an ad agency, I usually have a variety of tasks for a variety of different clients on any given day or during any given week; the dynamic nature of my job is one reason why I have really enjoyed working at an agency!

One hour I may be creating/editing/fixing emails (so much fixing) for one client's Q2 retargeting campaign, while the next I'll be provisioning a different client's production environment and preparing that Wordpress site to deploy to prod the next hour.

Other tasks you could find me doing include updating other static sites, working on year-old QA findings someone re-discovered, cutting up landing pages for retail acquisitions, and joining a task force of coworkers for a new project kick off.

danroc profile image
Daniel da Rocha

Architect (as in buildings, not software;)
Design Director at HENN Beijing

  • Start the day with Chinese class
  • Standing meeting on our "design wall" to discuss the design progress the day before and define goals for the day
  • the rest of the day is a mix of tutoring the team, going over design iterations, meetings with our German "mothership", big endless meetings with clients or local partners where my Chinese skills are tested (and usually fail)

Then, the most fun part of the day:

  • come back home for an extra 2-3 hours coding on my side project and imagining how my life would be if I were a dev instead!
bengreenberg profile image
Ben Greenberg

Web Developer here:

  • Do whatever is needed for the company at the moment
  • For the past 3 months: Work on SQL Server Reporting Services and develop dynamic financial reports while optimizing existing reports
  • Field tickets that come in and address them
briankephart profile image
Brian Kephart

I work at a music school.


  • Code our web app, which is replacing a variety of off-the-shelf software systems used internally.
  • Teach guitar & bass lessons, group guitar classes, and bands.
  • Function as the manager the last two hours of the night, and on Saturdays.
  • Am in charge of all tech-related systems, from the web app to our wifi to fixing guitar amps.

I get funny looks at the local Ruby meetups.

leob profile image
leob • Edited

Developing software, as a remote freelance dev ... web apps, mobile apps, enterprise systems. A fairly large part of it is also keeping my knowledge up to date (and expanding it). A third component (being a freelancer) SHOULD be marketing and networking but I'm not nearly spending enough time on that.

scrabill profile image
Shannon Crabill

I am a Senior Email Developer at a financial company. Oddly, I do less and less coding as time goes on :( In general, my workday looks like this.

Check emails
Make edits to HTML file(s) and upload into ESP
QC HTML files w/edits made by other team members
Set up and launch emails via ESP
Attend meeting(s)

Rinse and repeat

I'm probably way oversimplifying it. On a good day, I also do the following

Update or create documentation
Attend training / upskilling
Find videos/tutorials for weekly lunch and learns
Implement LEAN practices

juankortiz profile image

Freelance Web developer, programming teacher and software developer (tough rarely these days). Dependending on the day (wednesday is my "client meetings" day, monday and thursday are my "teacher" days):

  1. Get up.
  2. Have some nice breakfast with my wife.
  3. Turn on my notebook, check my work email, messages on social media to see if one of my clients is requesting something.
  4. Open my editor (Sublime Text) and my other tools and start coding right were I left the day before. That's my main task in the morning.
  5. When I'm stuck, I check some resources. Mainly, I use Stack Overflow, some subreddits and a tool named Zeal, a desktop app for Windows with the docs of my programming languages.
  6. Lunch with my wife.
  7. Sometimes I sleep after lunch, or I check some pages:, a Medium page called Codeburst and more Reddit.
  8. Depending on the day, I keep coding or working on personal projects. Or I prepare myself for teaching: this year I'm teaching Python and Java, so I need a few hours to review the contents for each class.
  9. Again, depending the day, I:
  10. Keep coding with intervals (unlike the morning, in the afternoon I tend to take more time to rest).
  11. Go to class, from 4 to 8 pm.
  12. Go to see my clients, same hours.
  13. Spend time on other activities: take a walk with my wife, watch some movie together, go to see a friend.
  14. At night, we make dinner and get some rest. Our rule is that after dinner we don't work anymore, unless I have some very urgent changes to make or if she need to finish her stuff (she's a teacher as well).

In between, I make my day more pleasent with some lemon juice, some ambient, post rock or instrumental music and taking periods of time to stretch and make other stuff at home.

okolbay profile image
andrew • Edited

Its interesting actually how most answers are about domains - gene sequences, retail, etc. Here’s a challenge - would you guys be able to desribe what you do as a programmer, without breakfast/commuting/domain details?
To understand better, how CS is applied.

I’ll start - I mostly did maintetance of current prod apps - bugfixing and hammering in new features. Recently I do more greenfield projects (because team leverages small components approach, I avoid word u-services), so I spent some time analysing requirements and deciding on whether it makes sense to apply sophisticated patterns like actor model and CQRS, and eventually decide that old simple-crud-database-centric desing would do just fine ))))
from time to time I have a chance to do something interesting, a moment when a smart pattern makes a good match for business challenge is very rewarding )