Stack Overflow Reveals Developers’ ‘Active’ Hours

There’s a dusty stereotype of programmers as creatures of the night, chugging energy drinks at 3 A.M. while churning out code. Anyone who’s worked in tech knows that cliché holds true for a subset of developers, but that most ultimately follow their own rhythms.

For those curious about when developers actually plunk down and program, Stack Overflow recently crunched data related to visits by hour. Stack Overflow hosts thousands of question-and-answer threads, which can offer some insight into which languages have the most developer attention. The data scientist doing the crunching, David Robinson, chose August 2016 for his testing range, as that would limit the effect of students on the final results.

His conclusions? Most people visit Stack Overflow during traditional business hours (i.e., 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.). “You can even see a dip at 12 p.m. when developers eat lunch,” Robinson wrote. “Programmers of all types use Stack Overflow at their jobs, go to sleep at night, take a break for lunch, and so on.”

Pretty typical, in other words. But certain types of programmers also exhibited unique behavior. C# programmers tend to “start and stop their day earlier,” Robinson continued, “and tend to use the language less in the evenings.” C# is frequently used in the enterprise and finance industries, where companies tend to get an early start on the day.

C programmers, on the other hand, start their days later, and ultimately stay up the longest of all examined groups. “This suggests C may be particularly popular among hobbyist programmers who code during their free time (or perhaps among summer school students doing homework).”

Python and JavaScript, two other popular languages folded into the study, fall “somewhere in between.” Language tags that popped up the least between 9 A.M. and 5 P.M., meanwhile, included Haskell, Assembly, and OpenGL. An earlier study by Stack Overflow named Haskell, Assembly, and OpenGL the most-used languages on weekends, suggesting that developers turn to these for side projects and hobbies, not workaday functions.

The rest of Robinson’s post offers a neat breakdown of the technologies used by “morning people” versus “afternoon people,” a breakdown of usage by city, and more. It’s well worth checking out, no matter what time of day you prefer to work.

Image Credit: Stack Overflow,

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