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The state of IT developers: Code quality matters

Are IT developers facing burnout? New data suggests so.

Joachim Mnich, CERN's head of research and computing said there was still much more to learn about the Higgs boson. — © AFP
Joachim Mnich, CERN's head of research and computing said there was still much more to learn about the Higgs boson. — © AFP

The company Rollbar has released a survey showing that 41 percent of developers have admitted that burnout is at least somewhat of a problem, and work environment and tools figure prominently into developer productivity.

This research is based on a national third-party survey of more than 1,000 industry professionals including CTOs, developers, engineers and technical leads. The poll was undertaken by Propeller Insights.

The findings show that more than three-fourths of survey respondents said that a better work environment/workflow (77 percent) and better tools (76 percent) would be very or extremely helpful to their productivity. These measures were seen as especially important for avoiding burnout.

Developer fatigue can occur if a software engineer becomes tired of programming. Coding is hard work and the brain can only handle it for so many hours at a time.

In addition, 57 percent said that they want to maintain code quality (fewer escaped bugs) and nearly a fourth (24 percent) said they want to meet product/business timelines. Overall CTOs, developers, engineers and technical leads feel the most productive when they are creating better quality code – and not just more code.

It also stands that about a fifth (19 percent) said they want to release code more often.

Commenting on the findings, Brian Rue, CEO and co-founder at Rollbar says: “Coding is hard, tedious work, and it’s easy for developers to become tired of it, especially amid the uncertainties created by COVID-19 and the changing global business landscape.”

He adds: “Developers care deeply about code quality and meeting business objectives, and they equate their productivity to these considerations and to improving product… managers and companies must keep developers engaged with new and challenging tasks, support them with new tools to code better and faster, and create environments that nurture creativity and acknowledge that burnout is real.”

Many firms are working on this; eighty percent of the survey group said that their organization thinks about and plans its software development lifecycle. More than three-fourths (77 percent) of those surveyed said that their organization has people working on DevOps to help the code production, release and environment. Nearly as many (71 percent) said that their organization is working to improve the developer experience.

The overall message is that code quality is critical, and businesses should prioritise it over quantity.

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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