On the Unhappiness of Software Developers

An interesting study on what makes developers unhappy. And some guidelines as to how to reduce “unhappiness.” And no, ping pong table ain’t it.

Abstract: The happy-productive worker thesis states that happy workers are more productive. Recent research in software engineering supports the thesis, and the ideal of flourishing happiness among software developers is often expressed among industry practitioners. However, the literature suggests that a cost-effective way to foster happiness and productivity among workers could be to limit unhappiness. Psychological disorders such as job burnout and anxiety could also be reduced by limiting the negative experiences of software developers. Simultaneously, a baseline assessment of (un)happiness and knowledge about how developers experience it are missing. In this paper, we broaden the understanding of unhappiness among software developers in terms of (1) the software developer population distribution of (un)happiness, and (2) the causes of unhappiness while developing software. … Our results indicate that software developers are a slightly happy population, but the need for limiting the unhappiness of developers remains. We also identified 219 factors representing causes of unhappiness while developing software.