Study finds that 83% of developers suffer from work-related burnout

Technology has played a key role in our society, especially during the pandemic, but little is understood about the engineers who build the software that powers the modern world. A new study has found that 83% of software developers suffer from workplace burnout. The top reasons cited for burnout included high workload (47%), inefficient process (31%) alongside unclear goals and targets (29%).

Engineering productivity business Haystack Analytics co-ordinated the study which found burnout has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 81% of developers reporting increased burnout due to the pandemic. The top reason cited by developers for greater feelings of burnout during the pandemic was increased workload. The study also finds that 83% of developers are concerned about software reliability at their workplace, of which 20% are concerned to a great extent.

Leading the research exercise, computer scientist Junade Ali says, “Whether allowing us to stay connected or building vaccine booking systems, software developers have played a key role during the pandemic. The results show that developer burnout is far worse than I imagined when I designed this study.

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.”

Technology continues to drive high-growth companies. For example; technology-focussed Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust has grown 151.37% over a 3 year period as of the 1st July 2021, the highest 3-year performance of any FTSE 100 company.

The importance of well-being is underscored by the number of developers needed to sustain the fast-growing technology industry. Statistica finds there are around 408,000 software developers in the UK alone. By 2024, Statistica estimates the global population of software developers will grow to 28.7 million.

Commenting on the study, Kathryn Koehler, director of developer productivity at Netflix says, “This is a good set of questions”. Koehler said the results showed that “you can’t capture the productivity of a team in one metric”, and it was important to measure team well-being alongside productivity metrics.

Koehler went on to talk about how Netflix was starting to develop their own approach to measuring developer productivity internally by “starting small, but starting on something that is impactful; and then not stopping there continuing to think about productivity, satisfaction and the other stuff in context.”

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