The Programmer’s Bill of Rights

2 minute read

Every programmer shall have two monitors

With the actual prices of LCDs it’s an easy requirement. When I first got my dual head workstation, I said it’s superfluous, this is why Linux has multiple workspaces, I can switch to a different workspace quickly, an other screen would distract me. But now I can say it is really improving productivity. I can run my IDE on the right and the browser on the left monitor, but I can still switch to a different workspace where my virtual machine, GIMP, terminal is running.

Every programmer shall have a fast PC

Developers are required to run a lot of software to get their jobs done: development environments, database engines, web servers, virtual machines, and so. Time spent waiting for starting a Vagrant instance, cache warmup, even rendering a webpage for 200ms is wasted time.

Every programmer shall have their choice of mouse and keyboard

Our relationship with these tools are similar to a painter relationship to his brushes. Some likes expensive brushes, some likes changing them for every single picture. So the right for choosing the tool is mandatory. I prefer cheap, flat keyboards and big, quality wired mice changing often when they are worn enough.

Every programmer shall have a comfortable chair

Because we are spending minimum 7 hours in a chair, every day. Your problem is, not every developer is the same as height, having the same bone disorder so the company will need different chairs. My opinion is, the more stable chair is better and leather is good to tell on the golf fields for the business friends but hard to sit for your workforce.

Every programmer shall have a fast internet connection

If I have a plan, I can spend hours only with My text editor implementing the code, but without fast internet connection I can’t plan or search for alredy written solutions to steal.

Every programmer shall have quiet working conditions

I can’t focus my mental concentration to my work if something is interrupting me time by time. If I have one interruption, my productivity is slowly recovering, if I have 5 interruption in a day, my productivity will be around 30% of normal. If somebody is interrupting me in every 20 minutes, it’s better to go home as I can’t work. The image below is a typical table of my daily productivity if I can work one of my hobby project from home at night. And I had only one interruption, for example a project meeting after 14:00.

The few basic rights we’re asking for are easy. They aren’t extravagant demands. They’re fundamental to the quality of work life for a software developer. If the company you work for isn’t getting it right, making it right is neither expensive nor difficult. Demand your rights as a programmer! And remember: you can either change your company, or you can change your company.