The programmer’s private office

22 July 2008

Peter Hilton

by Peter Hilton

In StackOverflow Podcast # 7, Joel Spoelsky points out that 'I have yet to find another company except for Microsoft and Apple, I think, that has private offices for developers'. Personally, I agree with Joel that that it is valuable for a developer to have a private office, but then I would say that because I have one:


My private office gives me three things that I love: control over my environment, less noise and distraction, and a crucial noise-reduction flow-enhancement device: a door.

Although we do not all have private offices at Lunatech, I am not the only senior developer who does. Willem-Jan has the desk in the middle, angled for the optimum view of the canal (we are in the Netherlands):


Martin sits as far away from the door as possible, and enjoys a garden view. More importantly for the rest of us, his carefully cultivated collection of junk does not infect where the rest of us work:


Sietse, one of the more junior developers, has to share his office with Daan, although they also have huge desks, that would not fit in one of the small rooms. However, Sietse (pictured) gets the place to himself most of the time because Daan (not pictured) works on-site four days per week:


The same goes for the Erik and Floris, the Wipido developers upstairs, who share an office. However, having a larger room does mean they have room for a sofa, an enormous wide-screen television and Guitar Hero (which Jeff Attwood might just approve of):


Of course, even given the choice, not everyone wants a private office. Some developers, like Bart, actually prefer the continuous interaction with colleagues you get from having other people in the room, or at least do not mind the noise. Still others, like Nicolas, seem to be able to work anywhere as long as they have a laptop to work on and headphones to replace noise with music.