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.
Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 40 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.