Software engineers spend lots of time not building software

Administrative tasks, brainstorming, and waiting for tests combine to overtake the hours spent designing and coding

Software engineers spend more time on administration and other tasks than they do on actual application design and coding, according to a survey of developers by software development services vendor Electric Cloud.

In the survey of 443 software engineers conducted in March, design and coding take up more hours than any other single process in a software development project: an average of 19.1 hours per week. Brainstorming and collaboration take up 6.7 hours. Administrative tasks, such as dealing with email and meetings, take up 5.8 hours. Software engineers spend 3.7 hours waiting for tests to complete, 3.5 hours waiting for builds to complete, and 2.7 hours on environment management -- or 9.9 hours in total for these housekeeping functions. Collectively, all the non-design and non-coding tasks take up 22.4 hours per week out of the 41.5 hours worked in total.

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Electric Cloud surveyed 443 software engineers on how much time they spent on each activity.

The survey also polled others involved in the software development processes, including test engineers, technical architects, project managers/test leads, and product managers. The survey was not limited to Electric Cloud customers. Not surprisingly, software engineers spent more time on design and coding than did others polled, with technical architects, who numbered 156 respondents to the survey, spending the closest amount of time on design and coding as software engineers: 14.3 hours a week.

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This story, "Software engineers spend lots of time not building software" was originally published by InfoWorld.

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