How Many Hours Do Software Engineers Work?

How Many Hours Do Software Engineers Work?

Published on: April 6, 2023
Last Updated: April 6, 2023

How Many Hours Do Software Engineers Work?

Published on: April 6, 2023
Last Updated: April 6, 2023

Quick Answer 🔍

How many hours do software engineers work?

Software engineers work a normal 40-hour per week job and some may work 50 to 80 hours a week depending on the company, location, and the job description.

If you’re planning to train in the software engineering field, it’s smart to find out what a career in this industry involves.

You need to know what software engineers do and what’s expected of these professionals. You also need the answer to the question, “How many hours do software engineers work? 

You also need to know the core skills, what types of software engineers there are, and the challenges that you might face if you decide to work in this field.

The following will answer these questions and more, so you can determine if this is the career for you. 

How Many Hours Do Software Engineers Work?

We will address how many hours software engineers work, and what a typical day looks like for a software engineer.

Normally, software engineers work a normal 40-hour per week job in a cozy office setting, a computer lab, or a home office.

However, some may work 50 to 80 hours a week depending on the company, location, and the job description. 

This is not your average job, so you may expect to work overtime and maybe evenings and weekends.

Some software engineers travel to various locations to consult and perform a variety of functions related to software for clients. 

How many hours do software engineers work? There is no set number of hours unless the company for which you work sets specific work hours.

There are some software engineering jobs that require only a standard work day of 8 hours. 

Likewise, there are companies that require full commitment to the work by expecting you to be on-call and ready to work past regular business hours and weekends. 

A day in the life:

You may get up at 8 am to get ready for your day by having some breakfast, getting showered, and getting dressed.

As a software engineer, you will likely go in early and stay late, depending on the firm, work commute, and mode of transportation.

Once you’re at work, let’s say around 10 AM, you’ll work on whatever projects you have pending and like some new ones.

You’ll check your email for memos and your calendar for happenings on a given day. You may have a morning team meeting.

You’ll work until lunch, where you will usually have an hour for lunch.

Some software engineers work through lunch, or take a short lunch and get back to it. This depends on job requirements and laws.

You get back to work and deal with your job of testing and fixing things for clients. You will be doing this for most of your day.

If you work for a company that sends you out to physically work on systems, you may be out sometimes on jobs.

Between 6 PM and 9 PM, you may take your dinner, or end your day and eat dinner with your family.

You may have to go back to work after dinner, or bring your work home and work on it there, if that’s allowed. 

You may end your day at 6, 9, or 11 PM, depending on where you take a job.

How Many Hours Do Software Engineers Work as Compared to What People Think?

Software Engineers

Unless you’re already a software engineer with knowledge of how this career path works, you may have some misconceptions about the job.

If you’re planning to go to college to learn to be a software engineer, you need to know what the job entails, not what people think it entails. 

Some people think that software engineers work all the time, but that’s not how it works, Others think they work a few hours a week and come and go as they please. It depends on who you ask.

The above information about how many hours do software engineers work is the most accurate at between 40 and 80 hours per week.

So, when you’re choosing a company to work for, make sure to ask about their hours and expectations before you accept an offer.

There are companies out there with a culture of work-life balance that offer ideal working conditions with less stress than others. 

What Is a Software Engineer?

The short answer is that software engineers and developers are professionals who perform tasks on computer programs and applications. They identify issues, correct issues, and build new software programs. 

These trained professionals apply the principles of software engineering used for designing, developing, maintaining, testing, and evaluating computer software.

This kind of career can lead you into IT firms, software development projects, Armed forces, business, government, Internet companies, railways, manufacturing, and more. 

What Are the Types of Software Engineers?

There are two main types of software engineers. 

  1. Systems Software Engineers: This is a career where you would develop operating systems and networks needed to make user-facing programs run.
  2. Applications Software Engineers: This career is more client-centric in that you would be designing software applications for end users. You may also find yourself collaborating as a team with marketers, customer success staff, project managers, graphic designers, towards the final delivery of a software program that meets the requirements of said end user.

What Skills Are Needed to Be a Software Engineer?

This career is not all about IT degrees, but also soft skills that make your day and the day of your clients easier, happier, and more efficient.

Knowing how many hours do software engineers work is just one of the things about this career you need to know.

  • You need expertise in multiple programming languages.
  • It requires solid knowledge of computer systems and information technology.
  • You’ll need problem solving and logical thinking skills.
  • Interpersonal skills come in handy in this field.
  • Learning good communication skills goes with the territory.
  • You should be good at multitasking.
  • The ability to easily adapt to new project requirements and technical settings is a must.
  • Conducting software requirements analyses is a necessary skill. 

What Are Some Pros and Cons of Working as A Software Engineer?

If you are considering a career in this field, here are some pros and cons to weigh before you move forward.

  • Learning flexible skills
  • Enjoy excellent working conditions, job security, and high pay
  • Make a big impact in many aspects of computing and technology
  • The learning curve is steep and not for the faint of heart since you need a solid skill set
  • The late-stage earnings in this career aren’t as high as other computer-related careers unless you find a job with a highly successful startup or consulting firm
  • Only a few remarkable programmers will have a noticeable impact in the industry


As a software engineer, most of your day will be spent coding, programming, fixing bugs, getting frustrated with glitchy software, answering technical questions for clients, and testing and installing software applications for clients. 

How many hours do software engineers work? That depends on the role you play, the company you work for, the job requirements, customer expectations, whether you’re on-call or not, etc.

It’s not a typical job with defined hours in some cases. Other times, the company has set hours for you with occasional overtime and weekend work.

Hopefully, you have gathered enough information here about being a software engineer to make an informed decision about whether this is a career you are passionate about.

You do need a passion for helping people and computers. 

Remember, it also requires specific skills across multiple programming languages, patience with clients, good customer service skills, coding skills, and more.

This career can offer you an above average income with some wiggle room for promotions if you work for the right company.

Ultimately, you choose where you work, so ask questions and learn about the company culture before taking a job.

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Written by Jason Wise

Hello! I’m the editor at EarthWeb, with a particular interest in business and technology topics, including social media, privacy, and cryptocurrency. As an experienced editor and researcher, I have a passion for exploring the latest trends and innovations in these fields and sharing my insights with our readers. I also enjoy testing and reviewing products, and you’ll often find my reviews and recommendations on EarthWeb. With a focus on providing informative and engaging content, I am committed to ensuring that EarthWeb remains a leading source of news and analysis in the tech industry.