Should developers study 20 hours a week after work?

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I just started reading Robert C. Martin’s Clean Coder and have been enjoying it so far. But I did run across one section that I found interesting where people would probably have thoughts about it. In the first chapter, there is a section labelled Work Ethic where he talks about how it is the responsibility of the developer to continually grow their skills outside of work. That makes total sense to me because this is an industry where technology is always changing and you have to keep learning to stay relevant.

The part I found interesting was in this quote here:

You should plan on working 60 hours per week. The first 40 are for your employer. The remaining 20 are for you. During this remaining 20 hours you should be reading, practicing, learning, and otherwise enhancing your career.

He then goes onto breaking down the math for how many hours that leaves you for free time.

Do the math. In a week there are 168 hours. Give your employer 40, and your career another 20. That leaves 108. Another 56 for sleep leaves 52 for everything else.

In this article, I wanted to explore this a little bit and leave my thoughts on how much you should study after work.

How does 20 hours of studying after work affect those with busy family lives?

I am a single woman without kids and when it comes to studying, my time is my own and not shared with anyone else. But I am curious how this 20 hours of studying works for those with kids and busy family lives. Between little league, band practice, and the millions of other activities kids are involved with, where does the time go?

Maybe a strict 20 hours a week isn’t feasible? Maybe it is better to pick a study schedule that works for your family life. Or maybe you are reading this and think that 20 hours is completely doable.

If you are developer with a busy family life, I would love to hear your thoughts on this. 😃

Should junior developers spend 20 hours or more studying after work?

As a junior, I feel like a lot of us will spend time studying after work so we can continue to learn and grow. But sometimes this could lead to us spending a lot more time studying and burning ourselves out. When I first started working I put in more than 20 hours after work because I felt like there was so much I didn’t know. Looking back, I wonder if I was overdoing it.

Is 20 hours a week expected of juniors?
Should it be more?
Or should it depend on their personal schedules?

Curious to hear your thoughts 😃

How does this 20 hours a week apply to more seasoned developers?

If you are more seasoned in this industry, how much time do you spend studying after work? Are you working on personal projects, reading books, listening to podcasts, or doing something else?

I am curious to hear what learning after work looks like for seasoned developers 😃


I feel like I have raised more questions then I have provided answers in this article, but this is a good discussion to have in our community.

What does continual learning look like for developers?
Should there be a strict time commitment or should it be more fluid?
Are there seasons of your career where you will invest more time in learning outside of work?

Love to hear your thoughts on any of the questions I raised in the comments below 😃


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