For a junior engineer, what’s the proportion of time spent coding vs. non-coding tasks?

Profile picture
Data Scientist at Applea year ago

I'm trying to learn more about the different career trajectories in tech. I come from a data science background, and I'm interested in the software engineering path. It would be nice to understand what my life would look like if I were to make the switch.

1 Like
1 Comment


(1 comment)
  • Profile picture
    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    a year ago
    • It will vary a lot from team to team and company to company, but I would say that in an ideal world, it should be around 65/35 with coding having the strong majority. This is because the core foundation for any software engineer as you might have guessed is extremely competent coding ability. You need to be able to write high-quality code quickly and with high independence. This is the balance I tried to get for my junior engineer mentees at Meta (E3s).
    • The 35% would be a mix of the following:
      • Meetings (team sync, 1:1s, offsites, etc)
      • Reviewing others' code
      • Dealing with bureaucratic and logistical stuff
      • Various "people-ey" things like taking on an intern, doing interviews, etc
    • The balance will go out of wack in weaker teams/companies and of course in startups due to their high variance. Here are some example scenarios:
      • You work for a very slow-moving, political, bureaucratic org: In this case, you will spend more time fighting bureaucracy and process than actually coding.
      • You work for a very early-stage startup: The highest leverage thing to do here is just to code more products. So you may be 90/10 as a junior engineer at these companies.
      • You work for a very thrashy, chaotic org: You will spend a ton of time just figuring out what the heck people want you to code before actually getting to the concrete work.