Time to Update the Software Engineer Stereotype

The typical software developer is an early bird, drinks just one cup of coffee a day, and never touches Soylent

1 min read
Software programmer sitting against an person sized cup of coffee
Illustration: iStockphoto

According to a survey of 1600 software engineers conducted by job search site Hired as part of its annual State of Software Engineers report, a number of stereotypes about software engineers are just plain wrong.

First, they aren’t all rolling into the office around noon and coding late into the night. In fact, 66 percent of software engineers, according to Hired, are larks, not owls, preferring to get up early and finish work early rather than sleeping in and working late. If forced to choose, 53 percent would work from home every day, and 47 percent would come into an office every day, the Hired survey indicated. (But, at least in Silicon Valley, most don’t have to choose on a permanent basis, and mix and match depending on the project, the day, or the season.)

The increasingly healthy foods and beverages made available  by high tech companies appear to be luring engineers away from the coffee machine; according to the Hired survey 40 percent of software engineers drink just one cup of coffee a day, and only 2 percent ever drink Soylent—that would-be trend never did really catch on.

Finally, Hired asked engineers what kind of music they listen to through their ubiquitous noise-cancelling headphones. Electronic/dance beats came out on top, followed by rock and then classical.

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Special Report: Top Tech 2021

After months of blood, toil, tears, and sweat, we can all expect a much better year

1 min read
Photo-illustration: Edmon de Haro

Last January in this space we wrote that “technology doesn't really have bad years." But 2020 was like no other year in recent memory: Just about everything suffered, including technology. One shining exception was biotech, with the remarkably rapid development of vaccines capable of stemming the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year's roundup of anticipated tech advances includes an examination of the challenges in manufacturing these vaccines. And it describes how certain technologies used widely during the pandemic will likely have far-reaching effects on society, even after the threat subsides. You'll also find accounts of technical developments unrelated to the pandemic that the editors of IEEE Spectrum expect to generate news this year.

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