I am software engineer working in a large-sized organization. At job I easily get 2-3 hours spare time most of the days of months. In the spare time could be done which will be helpful for personal and financial growth?

In the past I spent most of time in documentation and added system monitoring layer to the system.

  • 1
    What does your manager and/or team lead think you should be doing? May 21, 2020 at 17:27

3 Answers 3


Assuming you've already checked with your manager and there really is nothing on your plate, as a software engineer, the first thing that comes to mind is software improvements:

  • fix or at least investigate bugs (if there are no bugs assigned to you, see if you can fix anything that has been bothering you)
  • implement small wishlist features
  • refactoring and code improvements
  • increase test coverage (unit/integration tests)
  • automate tedious tasks

It's very important that anything you pick up in your downtime needs to either be small or something you can put aside (e.g. commit to a separate branch) at a moment's notice.

Other than that, could you

  • help/mentor any colleagues?
  • do code reviews?
  • write documentation? (I know you already mentioned that)
  • read documentation/code of any subsystem you don't already know?
  • read news/documentation about new technological developments

If there's still nothing to do, you could (as mentioned by @cdkMoose) learn a new programming language or technology that

  • you know would be useful for your current job
  • you think might be useful for your current job
  • would be useful for your personal development

And of course it's okay to occasionally just enjoy the downtime because you know there will be times when you'll be stressed out of your mind.

  • 1
    You've got to be careful changing things that aren't on the plan. It's very easy to make a minor change that requires hours of time from the testing team so they can be sure that you haven't broken anything. May 22, 2020 at 14:00

As always, start with asking your manager if there is something you should be working on in that time.

If you don't get enough direction from your manager, the next thing I would look into is learning something new. Learn a new language, a new framework, a new technology, a new use for your tools/product. All of these will make you better as a software engineer. There will also be opportunities for this new-found knowledge to help you make better decisions on your work projects.

Time spent learning is time well invested in your future.


As a hardware engineer for a large tech company, I've recently ran into the same issue with this situation, especially now with COVID-2019.

Here are a few tips on how you can maximize your productivity for yourself:

  • I agree with @cdkMoose. Learning new things could prove to be very beneficial towards your career and your team. There are a lot of free resources online to help you learn new topics, new technologies, new coding languages, etc. Not only will this you a better worker in general, it could also help you brainstorm for new solutions for what your company can provide or help optimize current design with your services.

  • Reach out to other managers in your business unit and ask how you can contribute. I recently reached out to marketing, product management, and software teams. Not only have I received so many assignments to do, I have learned so much about the responsibilities for what each team does. My director (my manager's boss) has told me other directors and managers leading those teams and my vice president (my director's boss) have all praised me for all of the work I have done so far. So this can greatly benefit performance reviews at the end of year, possibly allow you get to get a larger raise and bonuses, and potentially a promotion if the shoe fits.

  • Do some research about how your customers are using the solutions that your company provides and see how you can make it better. This sounds like some marketing research but it'll keep you busy for a while. I've also recently did this and I learned so much about how this particular solution my company provides a huge impact in customer infrastructure.

  • Create some documentations to make your work and other's work easier. Are there are any resources that you often use at work? If not, this might be a good opportunity to draft up a document.

  • 3
    Hmm wow. Someone just downvoted everyone on this page but failed to provide criticism. Gotta love the power of anonymity.
    – user82352
    May 21, 2020 at 20:14
  • Downvotes are random here. It could just mean "I saw the answer" or "Hello." I upvoted now.
    – guest
    May 25, 2020 at 8:32
  • @KingDuken Not exactly random, but there seem to be users on this site who will downvote all answers present when they downvote a question for any reason - go check out the vote counts on other questions with downvotes. Don't take it personally, it happens to everyone. Just part of the site.
    – Player One
    May 31, 2020 at 23:27

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