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What Do Programmers Really Do?

· · Posted in Editorial
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Indeed. What do we do? Well I was curious.

WTF you might say. "You're a programmer! Shouldn't you know what you do?" Well yes, I know what I do. What I mean is what do programmers do while programming besides programming. I myself write the codes (duh) and hang out on Twitter and listen to podcasts, watch movies, listen to music, and sometimes I just concentrate so hard I forget to eat. I was curious to see what everybody else did while hacking; twtpoll to the rescue!

So I made a poll, and of course nobody read it, because nobody in the software community follows me (okay that's a lie, @defunkt follows me, as well as a couple friends), so I nicely asked Scott Hanselman and that fixed the problem. Overnight there were just over 500 responses. Alright, now we're in business! On to the results!

Pretty straightforward, and I think it the fact that half list listening to music makes perfect sense.

The extra stuff I pulled out and revised a bit for easier reading:

  • Listen to talk radio/audio books
  • Google
  • Reddit/Slashdot
  • Watch TV
  • Answer TwtPolls
  • Spend time with the kid(s)
  • Spend time with the pet(s)
  • Prepare food
  • Eat
  • Wash dishes
  • Do the laundry
  • Answer coworkers questions
  • Chat/IRC
  • Play video games
  • Random web browsing
  • Download and try new software
  • Respond to fellow programmers
  • Check stackoverflow/serverfault/superuser
  • Get interrupted by other people
  • Drink coffee/alcohol/coke
  • More programming…
  • Read RSS feeds
  • Read blogs
  • Read books
  • Answer email
  • Compile
  • Drum along the desk
  • Dodge co-worker distractions
  • Online browser games (chess)
  • Try to ignore everything else

The really interesting ones were:

  • Have sex
  • Work on plans to sing a new song to Steve Ballmer

So that's it. That's what programmers do.


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