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Why do programmers work at night? | ISN
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inSight - Why do programmers work at night?

Posted by admin on January 16, 2013

Work hours and why programmers work at night

I was reading and article today that popped up in my LinkedIn feed, on why programmers work at night.  Check it out on businessinsider.com


This hit home to me, as I have been working with my business partner over the past few weeks to launch our new company’s website, and invariably, we would be on the phone at 3am discussing screen layouts and color schemes.  I recall one night/morning when I was the passenger in a car driving north through the night, hunched over my Samsung Galaxy SIII screen, reading content and checking for spelling, then communicating with Jeremy via text message.

This got me thinking, not about why programmers do their best work at night as I agree with a lot of the thoughts conveyed in this article, but as to how does society view and treat the night hawk programmers.  In his blog post, Teller alludes to the fact that society looks down on someone who is eating breakfast at 2am.  This is generally true; there is a feeling that success is finding a job that has you working between the hours of 8am and 5pm. 

But why is it then that if you survey a random sampling of business leaders and C-level executives, the common theme will be that their work never ends?  Why is it that a CIO taking a conference call at 10pm with his colleagues on the west coast and the companies Tokyo division is considered responsible, but coding at 3am is considered juvenile? 

I recently finished reading the book The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman.  It is an excellent read, and Friedman takes you on a journey of business globalization from 1989 on-ward, which takes him about 1000 pages to do.  I won’t try to summarize Friedman’s viewpoints in a 6 paragraph post, but one key point to take away is that in a flat world, successful businesses will adapt to the 24 hour day that globalization brings. 

This brings me back to last week when my business partner and I were collaborating on web design across time zones, yet both in the middle of the night.  It is my hope, and a large part of our business plan, that iSystemsNow will fully embrace the fact that a global workforce doesn’t work 9-5.  If you do your best programming at 3am, that is awesome!  Why would I want you to program at any other hour?  I hope that any developers out there that may be working with me in the future will hold me to this!

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