On this blog, we’ve taken on some questions that seem as though they’d be too general to answer. For instance, we looked at what programmers wear to work and whether programming is hard. And now, in that same vein, I’ll answer the question, “are software engineers happy?”
Of course, you must understand that this involves painting with a broad brush. How could it not?
So the idea here isn’t to peg every software engineer on the planet, nor to speak in absolutes. Rather, it’s about taking a look at the most common case for those of us in the field.
I’ll give you a short, quick answer. Then I’ll list some of the things that detract from a software engineer’s happiness before elaborating in more detail on happiness factors.
Are Software Engineers Happy? The Short Version
Alright, so here’s the short quick answer. Are software engineers happy?
By and large, yes. In employment survey after employment survey, software engineer scores high marks. The combination of autonomy, pay, flexibility, and job satisfaction leads to software engineers being quite happy compared to people in other professions. For instance, check out this recent survey from US news rating it the best job there is.
Of course not every survey out there puts it at number one. But you’ll consistently find it in the top 5 or 10, especially when you factor in variants of the software engineer title.
So given that you see a pretty consistent ranking of the gig as a top job, it’s reasonable to conclude that software engineers are relatively happy. Now, let’s dig into why that is.