How to Successfully Pretend to Work Hard as Software Developer?


Figure 1: With the right glasses you may even close your eyes the next meeting

Your Janus Faced Motivation

This article describes how to pretend to work hard as a software engineer. You may have two completely different motivations to read it.

First - The Office Bum

So, you are just a lazy bastard – trying to get money for nothing. If you are in this category, you are out of respect for your co-workers. Please, stop reading now. All this is not for your ears!

Second - The Corporate Energizer Bunny

You have just too much to do in your daily work and you need more time to think and learn.

In most companies the people in HR department and/or management don't understand that software developers are brain-workers and not factory employees.

Quite often they are of the opinion that you should spend all your office time with hard work. We are humans and we need room to follow own ideas, lean something new, recreate or just getting better developers.

If you are in this second category, you may read the following tips to prevent you from too much work.

First Impressions Last

Work hard and make an excellent first impression. This may seem like stating the obvious, but the important part of the sentence is the word first. Imagine you start to work in a new team. Your boss and peers will get in the first days or weeks an impression, what kind of developer you are.

The better this subjective judgment is the more freedom you may get in the following months or years. Working hard in the beginning, showing excellent technical and analytic skills is definitely a good investment. The best is to save sometimes the asses of your boss and some peers.

Don't Exceed Standards

Be careful not to exceed the standard of performance in the team. You can show that you are a fast developer, but don't be too fast. Your management will get used to it and give you more and more work.

This would be counter productive in respect to your goal: "You like to have more free time to do the important things." Also your peers will not be amused to be seen as stupid and slow idiots. So, don't be too fast, but try to be reliable and always on time.

Maintainable Code

The code you write should be as good as possible in respect to maintainability. The longer you work on a topic the more this factor will influence your personal productivity.

Don't forget that: "Every hour spend with errors is a wasted hour!" In cases you get slower and slower in the implementation of new functionality, you will get more pressure. Good design and some basic documentation may also save you time. Automate the routine jobs and write test automation.

Personal Networking

Learn as much as possible from others. The better your personal network is, the easier you can solve problems. All the company standard operating procedures and processes will just work in easy cases.

When it gets tough, you need people which are willing to help you. If the others don't like to work with you, they will not help you. So, it is also important to regularly let others look good.


There are many more other helpful techniques to get more freedom in work. The most important rule is: "Work hard, be clever and fast if you work - then allow yourself to do what you like to do in the remaining time."

Never forget, the more you know the better you can solve problems and/or create value. We are brain workers. Invest in your personal capabilities and the company will have a good and decent benefit.