tokyodev forum

Typical week of software engineer

Hi everyone,

Maybe a topic that no one really wants to speak about openly - but it might interest some people who are looking at beginning a career in software development etc.
Do we have any statistics regarding the median (or average) weekly work hours for a software developer in Japan?
I know it depends on the actual person, how close the next release is, etc. But there must be a sweet spot between a 35 hr a week boring job and a “how come did you not answer my 4AM slack message” complaint from a manager?
Do you think the majority of software developers work 60 hrs a week? 80 hrs a week? More? Or is this one question that has no real clear answer (and thus ends up being a roll of a dice during the interview process)?

I wouldn’t worry too much about what the average number is, both because what’s true for Japanese developers as a whole won’t match the typical international developer’s experience, and also because the amount of overtime will vary vastly on a per position basis.

It’s possible to work no overtime in Japan. When I was working for a Japanese startup, I never did. I know other companies that have no overtime policies as well. So if you’re not wanting to work overtime, I think there’s plenty of options.

Anecdotally, working large amounts of overtime among developers is quite rare, at least among the developers I’ve met (though of course those are the ones who are attending tech events and whatnot, and I suppose if you always worked overtime you wouldn’t be attending).

I did ask a question regarding overtime in my international developer survey this year. The results aren’t out yet, but I can say that in response to “How often do you work overtime?”, a large percentage answered never or rarely (1-2 days per year or less).