Why I Don’t Agree With “A day in life of a Software Engineer” Videos On YouTube

What happens when the camera is not recording?

Koen Verburg
3 min readSep 20, 2020
Photo by Laurenz Heymann on Unsplash

If you watch a day in the life of a software engineer of one of the FAANG companies. These videos will show you that you can start today at 10:30, have a lunch in a restaurant, have a meeting, code between those obligations, and be done with the day at 7 and that’s it.

This is only true for the coding and meeting part.

I watched the YouTube video of Morgan codes and her video actually shows a true representation of a day in the life of a software engineer. In her video, you will see her do coding for most of the time and have a meeting or two.

That is actually how your day would go!

In essence, it’s actually very boring, you will sit or stand at your desk, code and at some stage, you walk to the coffee corner, you get coffee or another drink, respecting the tea people, and repeat the cycle until the end of the day.

Of course, you will have meetings, and if you are a Lead Developer then you will have some strategic meetings on top of the usual ones as well.

Over the last 5 years of my career, it has been a balancing act between meetings, coding, high priority tasks that fly in, and, above all, ensuring smooth communication with the client to maintain a good relationship.

What happens when the camera is not recording?

Those videos will not show production issues, communication between developers, the client, or project managers/scrum masters.

Let me explain.

It could be that your program is very heavy and potentially too heavy for your laptop to handle, and as you will have to wait on the program to finish building, this makes it hard to do any programming.

Or better get some coffee after you have started running 2000+ test suites before you commit and submit a pull request.

Sometimes you have to wait days for your pull request to finally be reviewed and merged into development.

Mistakes happen and you have to revert your last commit because that broke production.

You will have to cancel that dinner reservation you had because you need to ssh into the production server to fix some faulty settings in the database.

And you’ll have to tell the client that you messed up.

Even better, you spend a couple of days banging your head against the wall as you can’t get an API to work due to the lack of documentation. And you go home with the feeling of an(other) unproductive day.

Honestly, I’m not exaggerating here. These are the worst things that have happened to me or that I have seen happening around me.

I will still tell you to become a developer

You are still reading up to this point, so I assume you still want to be a developer.

There are so many cool things about software development. The fact that you can create something out of nothing is so freaking cool!!

Starting a new project with a client is so exciting. Because you feel the positive energy of the client, who wants to get started sooner rather than later, and also because it is a cool project. Personally, this gives me so much energy!

Later down the road when you have been working on a project for months and you create a new feature for the client. During the sprint demo, you present that new feature and you can see the happiness and the excitement of the client in their eyes.

Those moments mean so much!

That’s just the interaction with clients and working on projects.

The development community online is also huge and so inviting as well. Everyone that wants to code is welcome to join and it doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced programmer.

For myself personally, I can get so much joy out of automating little things. Getting that alias to work so I don’t have to type out that paragraph-long one-liner. Or tweaking my terminal so that looks even better!

Hope you guys have taken some learning from this and have a better understanding of how the life of a software engineer really is.



Koen Verburg

Software Engineer based in Rotterdam — Photographer, Art Enthusiast, Dreamer, and thinker.