Developers spending less than an hour on coding

Toolchain maintenance and other administrative tasks are keeping developers away from coding, leading to burnout and an estimated £10.4bn a year being wasted

A study from the company Software calculates that developers are spending just 52 minutes per day on coding, due to being bogged down in manual tasks — causing downturns in the mental health of staff, as well as digital transformation progress.

According to further research from software delivery platform Harness, UK businesses are inadvertently wasting over £10.4bn annually as a result of a lack of software productivity, while developers manually carry out routine operations tasks that could be automated.

Administrative tasks being focused on instead include toolchain maintenance, unnecessary scripting, and responding to security issues occurring across the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).

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“We are facing a developer experience crisis,” warns Nick Durkin, field CTO at Harness. “Repetitive tasks such as the maintenance of unnecessary scripts, repetitive manual testing and waiting times for builds to complete, are keeping organisations’ best developers from the critical work of coding.

“This toil is driving huge inefficiencies across the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), minimising the impact of developer talent and stalling critical digital transformation projects. It could even lead to burnout, or push an organisation’s most skilled resources to seek more engaging roles with another employer.

“Organisations must act now to improve the developer experience, empowering them to do what they do best; turn ideas from concept to reality.”

Automating manual coding

While organisations are increasingly investing in automation to improve Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) processes, developers need the capability to automate at scale and speed without creating security holes, or causing constant rollback.

Open source software development automation tools such as AutoGPT have emerged as possible solutions to unmanageable manual workloads for developers, able to create website code through prompts.

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Additionally, investing in AI and machine learning (ML) within CI/CD pipelines can help reduce the burden of routine and repetitive software delivery tasks, freeing up engineers’ time for more skilled work.

In the case of maintaining security patches for example, ML can be utilised for deployment verification to monitor for vulnerabilities or abnormalities.

Durkin added: “IT budgets are increasingly under scrutiny, but organisations still need to bring reliable and secure innovation to their customers. Firms must therefore find new efficiencies and address the current imbalance, by optimising developer workflows to achieve speed within approved guardrails.

“Empowering developers to harness modern techniques such as chaos engineering, feature flagging, and shift-left security testing will bring further advantages to innovation, by bridging the gap between development, operations, and security teams. Ultimately, these improvements will help organisations to drive greater developer satisfaction and avoid burnout, ensuring digital transformation stays on track and they can get ahead of the competition.”


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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.