Average daily coding time of a developer

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I know the definition of "coding time" can vary but let's be reasonable and human here, of course coding time is more than the time spent typing actual characters in your editor. Taking a few minutes to read some doc, search the web for a function or to type a few VCS commands count as "coding". On the other hand, spending 30 minutes reading a manual does not. You get the idea.

That being said, let's take a developer working 7 to 8 hours a day (regular day job for example). What would be your estimation of his daily actual coding time? On average, of course.

P.S.: This is not a question related to productivity measuring or anything, just plain curiosity.

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I'll be honest, about 3-4 hours for a 8 hour workday. Most of my other time is divided between meetings (ugh), answering slack messages, coordinating with other developers, reading manuals (or social media), code reviews and stackoverflow.


I use 6 "engineering hours" per day as a general estimate of how much work comes out of each person on an engineering team a day.

This is regardless of job title, meetings in a day, wfh status... It comes out in the wash, so I just call it 6 hours. The other 2 or 3 could be considered lunch, meetings, watching Youtube videos as a team about reactions to Tesla's Ludacrious Mode, etc.

It also assumes that things like talking over a problem with another dev or code reviews are coding, since it does pertain to implementing code.


Kayla, I generally find that 30 hours per week is about tops for output as well. I like your term engineering hours. That is a healthy description.


I think more in the 4-6 hour range. That's me personally. I do believe anything more is achievable, but not recommended.

That's me at work, on my side projects and just f'ing around after hours, I do about an hour or 2 MAX.


In my limited time (month out of school) of experience. I think it varies from job to job. At my internship I would be coding for honestly around 80 percent of the time. While at my new full-time job I think the average would be around 50 percent for most people here (less for people with higher positions).


Around 4-5h for the most optimal days.

Less if I had to take care of the management part, more if I had to write new systems/libraries/algorithms.

I did some tests on myself (and observing my peers), over the years, involving productivity and most of the time, more hours means more code, but less productivity. The extra time was mostly spent

  • debugging (because is more code, more the mess, harder to find the bugs)
  • refactoring (I was too deep into the problem, didn't saw the easy way)
  • rewriting (I didn't took enough time to understand and solve the issue BEFORE coding)

The statements apply to experienced developers. In the first years as a programmer I was coding 13/8 hours :))


Our team estimates 50% overhead: in other words 8 hours at work = 4 hours of productivity, given meetings, randomizations, etc.

If we didn't have meetings-free focus-Thursday, it would be much worse.

I had two weeks were I was on another team and got to skip all meetings. OMG it was so productive. Unfortunately, that's not sustainable either.


I feel like there is room for improvement on my part (always), but this makes me feel better! 4 is pretty much average, 5 is a pretty nice day, 6 or more feels like god-mode!

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Web dev, cinema lover, music enthusiast and video game fan. Working as a full-stack Ruby on Rails web developer and hacking with Node/Express, Vue.js and Flutter on my spare time.