Do Programmers Have a Good Work-Life Balance?
Having a good work-life balance is the dream of every employee. This desire to have a great work-life balance has led to what others have called the Great Resignation. Employees have realized that more need to be done to make their lives better.
The COVID pandemic has contributed to the great resignation by keeping people at home, while people were forced to be at home, they had a great time reconsidering their work-life balance.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 47 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs. This number also includes programmers. Due to the shortage of talented developers, some companies are now paying to interview.
This shortage of talented developers means that the available programmers will end up doing more work than normal to cover up for the shortage. In many companies, this has led to a bad work-life balance.
However, working conditions for Programmers differ depending on the companies they are working for or the size of the project they are working on. To conclusively determine whether Programmers have a good work-life balance, we are going to look at five things as highlighted below:
- DO PROGRAMMERS HAVE FREE TIME?
- DO PROGRAMMERS WORK LONG HOURS?
- DO PROGRAMMERS HAVE A SOCIAL LIFE?
- DO PROGRAMMERS GET PAID LESS?
- DO PROGRAMMERS TRAVEL?
These are going to help us understand the work-life balance of Programmers. According to Oxford, work-life balance means the division of one’s time and focus between working and family or leisure activities.
Thus, a good work-life balance is one that does not tilt the scales of work-life to one side. Let us consider the following;
DO PROGRAMMERS HAVE FREE TIME?
Free time in this respect is the time you have away from work or a programming project. Most Programmers working to beat a deadline rarely have free time. Some Programmers can work on projects beyond their 9-5 job.
Plus, Software development is an ever-evolving field, there are always new technologies to learn and implement, and this takes quite a good chunk of a programmer’s time.
However, there are some Programmers who have free time depending on the company they work for. Google for example has the famous 20% time (80/20 rule), where every developer is given 20% time to work on innovations of their choice. This is a good example of programmers having some free time.
Ultimately, Programmers have free time depending on the company they are working for and the project they are working on. If deadlines are approaching, Programmers will be required to invest more time in the project including working after 9-5. This may drastically reduce the free time they have and affect their work-life balance.
Most programmers are deeply immersed in their field that even with the free time they have, they use it for learning and researching more about software development. Such types of programmers have made programming part of their life, as such, there is no distinction between their work and life.
The more free time your programming job offers you, the better your work-life balance will be.
DO PROGRAMMERS WORK LONG HOURS?
Some Programmers especially in management positions work long hours to manage their team and deliver results.
The number of hours programmers work is dependent on many factors such as the company they are working for, the projects they are working on, the size of the team they are in, etc.
With the great resignation and a shortage of a skilled pool of good programmers, most Programmers will end up working longer hours than normal.
Working long hours is not a daily routine, most companies in the U.S. and other parts of the world have traditional working hours of 8 hours per, Monday to Friday, that is 40 hours per week.
However, since programmers can also work from home when the need arises, extra work can be assigned. Imagine what would happen when the entire system is down, no matter what time it is, programmers will be required to fix it.
Most companies will offer extra pay for the extra hours you put in, meaning, some programmers who work long hours will earn slightly higher, this however, will hugely affect your work-life balance.
DO PROGRAMMERS HAVE A SOCIAL LIFE?
The nature of programming work is not very social, it is just you, and your computer. However, many companies have incorporated social activities in programming to help programmers remain socially active even at work.
Some of the practices like pair programming help programmers to solve problems with other programmers. Some companies have added playgrounds and games in working places to help programmers stay socially active.
Some programmers engage themselves in a lot of social activities after work. Many programmers have a well-balanced social life. They are able to stay away from code and nurture their relationships.
If you are working on a project that is taking too much of your time and affecting your social life, you need to re-evaluate your priorities and consider going out there for social interactions. Projects will always be there, but loved ones and friends will not always be there, give them time.
DO PROGRAMMERS GET PAID LESS?
The salary of any programmer will depend on more than one factor, it’s about:
- The company you work for
- The country you are working from
- Your qualification and experience
According to Glassdoor.com,” The estimated total pay for a Programmers (Web developers for example) is $97,751 per year in the United States area, with an average salary of $84,571 per year.” However, in some countries, Programmers get paid significantly less compared to those in the U.S. Canada, U.K, and Australia.
How much you earn as a Programmer will greatly affect your work-life balance. Programmers who earn less are more likely to work for more hours in order to raise more income to meet the demands of life.
On the other hand, programmers who earn very high salaries will generally do a lot of work, affecting their work-life balance. It must be noted that it is possible to have a very high salary and a very good work-life balance.
DO PROGRAMMERS TRAVEL?
Being able to travel is a great sign good of work-life balance. The nature of programming (Software Development) does not restrict you from traveling, as long as you have your computer with you and a good internet connection, you can work from anywhere, anytime.
Programmers can work while traveling, what matters is whether they can afford traveling expenses. If money is no object, Programming (Software Development) is one of the best fields for traveling and working at the same time.
Companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Google, Slack, Microsoft, Dropbox, Shopify, Coinbase, etc. allow some of their employees to work from home.
This means Programmers can work from home or travel without problems. This also helps a lot of Programmers to have a good work-life balance.
Other companies such as Google have programs for their employees to travel as part of their work, during the process, employees are given a smart walking stick, which takes photos that google can use in their projects.
It’s a win, win, employees are able to see and map new places and google gets more data for google maps and other projects.
From everything we have looked at, it can be concluded that programmers have a good work-life balance depending on the company they are working for and the project they are working on.
The shift in employers’ culture to provide perks for programmers has improved the work-life balance for many developers.
Many companies are providing a lot of incentives to keep talented programmers. The more companies do this, the more the work-life balance for programmers will improve.
With working from home being a thing, most programmers can spend time with their family and friends and also take part in leisure activities.