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In my opinion, there is no "best" desk setup because the best one is actually the one you will like the most and will make you the more efficient while working.

That being said, one thing I would consider quite useful to anyone is a large desk, there is no such thing as to much room on a desk. A big desk allows you to have multiple monitors if needed. And by having free space on your desk you can also use it for something else than (or while) coding (e.g. writing) without having to move everything to make room.

 

Basically this.

Desk space, and paying attention to ergonomics are the biggest things.

osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworks... <- OSHA's ergonomic guides are a pretty good start for understanding how you should be sitting at your desk.

It's also worth it to invest in things like your peripherals (mouse and keyboard), and your chair.

A $150 keyboard, $200 chair, and $500 desk that makes life easier on your wrists is better than all the medical bills associated with dealing with carpal tunnel.

 

A $150 keyboard, $200 chair, and $500 desk that makes life easier on your wrists is better than all the medical bills associated with dealing with carpal tunnel.

*laughs in French health care*

Seriously though, I totally agree, investing in good hardware if definitely worth it for someone who uses a computer a lot.

Another important thing is monitor vertical position: it should be adjustable (with adjustable stand or wall-mounted arm). Same goes for monitor angle.

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