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83% of developers suffer from burnout

High workloads and inefficient processes contribute to coder exhaustion

The vast majority (83%) of software developers are suffering from burnout at work, according to a new survey.

The study, carried out by Haystack Analytics, found that the top reasons cited for burnout included high workloads (47%), inefficient processes (31%), and unclear goals and targets (29%).

The study found that burnout worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 81% of developers reporting increased burnout due to the outbreak. The top reason developers cited for increased burnout amid the pandemic was increased workload (40%), which ranked above any personal reasons for experiencing burnout.

The survey also found that 83% of developers are concerned about software reliability at their workplace. Of those concerned, 20% are greatly concerned, and 55% reported they were frequently delayed in delivering work due to inefficient processes to a great or moderate extent.

Of the respondents themselves, only 26% of software engineers find themselves solely working on product development. Another 74% saw themselves working on operations in some form, even if only as part of their job, while 44% of software engineers worked in hybrid roles.

The survey also looked at how quickly an engineering team can deploy ideas into production and get real-world users’ feedback, which researchers called a “cycle term.” The survey asked how long it took respondents to go from working on a feature to reliably deploying it. 

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While 28% of respondents said this took two to three days, 22% said this was done on the same day, and only 9% could do this within a few hours. Researchers said these figures showed that developers are “becoming increasingly flow-oriented, focusing on cutting Cycle Time for delivering business value into production.”

Computer scientist Junade Ali, who led the research survey said that the results showed that developer burnout is far worse than imagined.

“Given the ever-greater role software plays in society and the high rate of concern developers have for software reliability in their workplaces, this raises serious concerns about the quality of software that plays an integral role in our everyday lives and critical national infrastructure,” Ali said.

Ali added that the novelty of measuring developer burnout in this study “has shown that well-being has often been disregarded when measuring engineering productivity.”

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