What Is Programming Productivity?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 01 March 2020
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Programming productivity typically refers to how effectively a programmer can produce code for a particular project, which can be gauged or evaluated in a few ways. In the past, productivity was often based on raw output of lines of code, as many programs were created from scratch and required a great deal of programming. Utilizing newer techniques, however, productivity may refer more precisely to how quickly problems can be solved and how well a programmer can identify useful shortcuts in addition to creating original code. Programming productivity can also refer to how “clean” a programmer’s code is, with regard to how much additional work may be required to finalize the code.

The term “programming productivity” is used with regard to computer programming and how quickly or efficiently a programmer can create new code for software. This term is of tremendous importance to software development, as increased productivity can help a program be completed more quickly and at a reduced cost. In the past, programming productivity typically referred to how quickly and effectively a computer programmer could create code. Many developers used a “clean-sheet” approach, in which code was created from scratch to make a computer program.


Modern programming, however, has largely adopted the use of various platforms and programs that can be used in creating new software code. This has greatly enhanced basic programming productivity as computer programmers are able to use these platforms to more quickly generate code in a meaningful way. As these changes have taken place, however, programming productivity has taken on new meanings in order to track how effectively a computer programmer is able to produce code for new software. More often, such productivity is related to how quickly a programmer can identify and solve problems during development of new software, and the ability for a programmer to recognize when existing code can be used rather than building a program from a “clean-sheet.”

Programming productivity should also be considered with regard to the quality of the code a programmer creates. Two programmers may work at different speeds, the first creating 1,000 lines of code in a week while the second might only create 500 lines of code in that time. These raw numbers should not be used to evaluate programming productivity, however, as the code itself may not be of the same quality. If months of additional work are required to debug the 1,000 lines of code created by the first programmer, while the 500 lines of code created by the second are free of errors and ready to use, then productivity of the second programmer may be far superior.


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