How highly-focused developers use the web

Check the academic version of this post.

4 months ago we’ve released a Chrome extension to help developers track how they use the web and be more productive. From December 2014 to April 2015 we accumulated many hours of activity from our community. We have taken a sample of a little more than 30,000 hours of the browsing activity, cleaned up the data, analyze the patterns that arise and put it all together to show you what we’ve found.

Codealike Time Tracker for Chrome. Install Now!

We randomly selected from our dataset +160 users with development high activity and also the Chrome extension activated on the timeframe between December 2014 and April 2015. We clustered our sample based on the behavior of the Codealike Focus Level KPI and selected the upper quartile as our highly focused individuals and moved from there into analyzing the browsing patterns.

How we've clustered the data.

If you haven’t used Codealike Premium before, you can learn about the focus at Focus: What are we talking about. The Focus Curve has very interesting statistical properties, but that is something we will talk about in-depth in another post. For now, it suffices to say that, only a handful of developers are consistently high performers on that metric.

We hope this data will help to start the discussion on how to better improve your everyday performance and show how quantified development can be used to help you be the best developer out there.

OUR CONCLUSIONS & SUGGESTIONS

  1. Turn on Chrome dev-tools (F12) and use it frequently when you browse the same web app you’re developing.

    1. There is a consistent use of Chrome dev-tools among highly focused individuals.
    2. The frequency of use of dev-tools is as much as twice on both frequency and time than with regular developers.
  2. For technical issues or questions, don’t hesitate and go to the web, and quickly.

    1. Contrary to conventional wisdom, highly focused developers spend more time browsing technical sites than on Social Networks or Source Control Management tools such as Github or ALMs such as JIRA or TFS. In both frequency and time.
  3. No wonder, using Social Networks is bad for your focus.

    1. Nearly the same time that the Regular developers spend on Social Networks, Highly Focused developers uses it on tech forums, Q&A platforms and other online developers’ tools.
    2. If you can’t avoid the use of Social Networks, try to at least reduce the frequency of your visits.
  4. E-mails can be also a harmful distraction.

    1. Highly focused developers spend nearly half of the time than the Regular developers checking e-mail. There is also a frequency difference but not as much as we would have expected.

    2. While Highly focused developers spend 7,46% of their time checking e-mail, the Regular developers use 12,61% of their time browsing the web.
    3. Try to concentrate your interaction via e-mail to a given moment of the day. Check, answer and go back to the code ASAP.
  5. Embracing Office Collaboration tools may not be a bad idea.

    1. This might be counter-intuitive, but actually helping others or getting help via Office Collaboration tools (such as Slack) at your own pace might be better than synchronous interruptions that demand your attention immediately.
    2. Highly focused developers browse almost 3X times more Office Collaboration tools than the Regular developers.
  6. Use Codealike.

    1. No kidding: Highly focused developers uses Codealike nearly twice more than the Regular developers. Data-backed fact 🙂
    2. Highly focused individuals visit Codealike as much as the sum of all web-based Office Tools such as Dropbox, Google Drive or Office.
    3. Our hypothesis here is that highly focused individuals are self-aware about their work patterns and our data is providing them the ability to fine-tune.

Percentage of time visited by category for each type of developer

SOME FACTS

Minutes of super focus each day

super-focus

WHAT IS THIS?

When working on the code, a developer needs to focus and gain concentration in order to understand the task and what he needs to do. Codealike can understand the level of concentration for each developer and use that information to provide better metrics. This metric measures the amount of minutes that a developer stay above the average concentration of Codealike’s community.

Average time each day debugging the web

debugging

WHAT IS THIS?

Codealike tracks the activity of each developer browsing the web. Click here to learn more about this feature. Debugging the web is a key activity for Web Developers, by doing this, they can detect, prevent and fix bugs on the source code.

Average number of interruptions each day

interruptions

WHAT IS THIS?

Codealike can also infer the amount of interruptions that a developer has across each day. As you might know, interruptions harm concentration and productivity. Interruptions are frustrating. We’ve found that there’s no significant difference between the amount of interruptions each type of developer suffers each day.

HOW DO DEVELOPERS USE TIME WHEN BROWSING?

Time spent on SCM & ALM

Highly focused developers

11.74% Complete
Top 5
Github 47,49%
JIRA 21,24%
TFS 10,98%
Trello 10,52%
Bitbucket 8,61%
Other 1,16%

Regular developers

11.24% Complete
Top 5
Github 38,63%
JIRA 13,89%
Trello 11,49%
TFS 10,01%
CodeCollab 9,27%
Other 16,70%


Time spent on Search Engines

Highly focused developers

8.17% Complete
Top 5
Google 98,19%
Bing 1,77%
Yahoo 0,04%
DuckDuckGo 0,00%
Other 0,00%

Regular developers

7.55% Complete
Top 5
Google 92,38%
Bing 5,99%
DuckDuckGo 1,40%
Yahoo 0,24%
Other 0,00%


Time spent on Social Networks

Highly focused developers

12.02% Complete
Top 5
Facebook 63,00%
reddit 12,65%
VK 8,93%
Twitter 5,31%
WhatsApp 3,66%
Other 6,45%

Regular developers

23.12% Complete
Top 5
Facebook 52,10%
reddit 18,28%
WhatsApp 8,91%
VK 7,90%
Twitter 6,81%
Other 6,01%


Time spent on Troubleshooting

Highly focused developers

21.27% Complete
All Sites
Stack Overflow 47,71%
MSDN 25,53%
Other Sites 13,73%
Windows Azure 2,99%
AngularJS 2,76%
w3schools 1,69%
Bootstrap Specs & Docs 1,55%
Stack Exchange 1,39%
JSFiddle 1,31%
C# Corner 0,69%
API Specs 0,59%
Google APIs 0,06%
Clojure Docs 0,00%

Regular developers

12.61% Complete
All Sites
Stack Overflow 42,91%
MSDN 23,20%
Other Sites 17,79%
Windows Azure 6,54%
Bootstrap Specs & Docs 2,21%
w3schools 1,76%
API Specs 1,69%
Stack Exchange 1,50%
JSFiddle 0,93%
AngularJS 0,84%
C# Corner 0,55%
Google APIs 0,07%
Clojure Docs 0,01%


Time spent on Webmail

Highly focused developers

7.47% Complete
Top 5
Gmail 71,49%
Hotmail / Outlook 12,71%
Intranets 6,38%
Inbox (Google) 5,88%
Yahoo 1,70%
Other 1,86%

Regular developers

12.77% Complete
Top 5
Gmail 87,80%
Hotmail / Outlook 4,15%
Other 4,04%
Inbox (Google) 2,74%
Intranets 1,25%


Time spent on Music & Videos

Highly focused developers

4.49% Complete
All Sites
You Tube 89,45%
SoundCloud 4,50%
Spotify 3,57%
Vimeo 1,67%
Pandora 0,81%

Regular developers

10.40% Complete
All Sites
You Tube 90,13%
Pandora 4,12%
SoundCloud 3,82%
Vimeo 1,07%
Spotify 0,86%


Time spent on Office Tools & Collaboration

Highly focused developers

9.69% Complete
All Sites
Slack 63,41%
Google Docs & Drive 30,22%
Yammer 2,96%
OneDrive / SkyDrive 2,74%
Dropbox 0,67%

Regular developers

4.10% Complete
All Sites
Slack 53,28%
Google Docs & Drive 37,67%
OneDrive / SkyDrive 4,52%
Dropbox 3,82%
Yammer 0,70%


Time spent on Codealike

Highly focused developers

3% Complete

Regular developers

1.60% Complete

We hope this data will help to start the discussion on how to better improve developers everyday performance.

We believe that quantified development is another tool in your arsenal to become the best you can be.

And we want to know from you. What your conclusions are? What else do you want to know? What other facts/myths do you believe we should investigate?

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