What is the best word for a place where programmers work?

I'm looking for something like "studio," which is a room where an artist, photographer, sculptor, etc., works or where performers, esp. dancers, practice and exercise.

Thank you.

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    To some extent, this depends on the kind of product being produced. For example, game developers who program work at "studios." – user867 Jul 19 '13 at 6:15
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    One team of programmers I worked with referred to the room in which we toiled as the oar deck, but I don't think that's quite formal English. – Brian Hooper Jul 19 '13 at 7:58
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    Their mother's basement. Their bedroom. A virtual office. Starbucks. The janitor's closet. youtube.com/watch?v=eW0zn702_WA – Canis Lupus Jul 19 '13 at 18:59
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    The only universally applicable word I can think of is “computer”—and that describes somewhat different aspect. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 20 '13 at 11:47
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    (Looks like tchrist and I both need to check more carefully before adding comments, to see if we’ve any words out …) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 20 '13 at 12:26

12 Answers 12


Why not just use the term "office"?


If an independent company, I think "software shop". If not independent then just "software department".

The acronym "IT" can be used instead of "software", but might infer that technical staff ("talent" consisted of more general technicians, rather than just programmers.

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    "Shop" is good. – Fuzzy Analysis Jul 19 '13 at 6:39
  • "Shop" also has somewhat informal connotations, so use it accordingly. – Kevin - Reinstate Monica Jul 19 '13 at 15:55
  • "Shop" alone also makes me think of car mechanics. – Izkata Jul 19 '13 at 19:25
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    As someone in the industry for 20 years as a developer, I think "shop" is the most commonly used term for a place where developers congregate to work, at least among developers themselves. Even in corporate IT environments, amongst themselves developers refer to their particular workspace and team as 'our shop'. – Vector Jul 20 '13 at 4:35
  • "Shop" is very US oriented, in the UK a shop is specifically a retail outlet. – Matt Mar 24 '16 at 9:58

Some of the most commonly-used words for a programmers' workplace have already been mentioned: office, lab (as in computer lab) or laboratory, shop (as in software shop or programming shop), and studio. Other commonly-used terms, not yet mentioned, include workstation (in the sense “an area, at a workplace, for a single worker” as well as “a desktop computer, normally more powerful than a normal PC...”) and cubicle (in the “small separate part or one of the compartments of a room” sense rather than the “small enclosure in a public toilet for individual use” sense).

Less commonly used (but perhaps a good descriptor for some programming environments) is sweatshop (“a factory or other place of work where pay is low and conditions are poor or even illegal”). The ideal word, the best word, for a place where programmers work, is atelier (“A workshop or studio especially for an artist, designer or fashion house”), but it is often not used in this context.

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    Why do you think atelier would be the ideal or best word for this? It rather sounds like the least fitting word to me. – Simon Lehmann Jul 20 '13 at 12:08

Software companies tend to be called "Software Houses".

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_house

That's less about a place where developers (programmers) work, and more about the company they work for.

As a software engineer myself, I call where I work an office.

  • I'm not so sure how ubiquitous house would be. Like you, I'd opt for "office" before "house." – J.R. Jul 25 '13 at 9:55

Some may call it a Hacker Space

The concept of a hackerspace started in Europe (anyone recognize the German linguistic construction?) as a collection of programmers (i.e., the traditional use of the term ‘hacker’) sharing a physical space.


As a software student (in college) and part-time software engineer, I have to say that there is a tendency to call it 'software lab' or just a laboratory.

  • That's probably a better term for a location at a university, as opposed to industry. – J.R. Jul 25 '13 at 9:55
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    We did call it the “lab” when I worked at Hewlett-Packard. – Bradd Szonye Jul 30 '13 at 8:35

Depends on the actual environment. A lot of "code houses" (referring to the company hiring the programmers) are setting up workspaces differently than they used to.

The older paradigm was to put the developers in offices, or if those were at a premium, in "cube farms". The newer paradigm is the "team room", in which a development team is given long tables to work at with little or no visual obstruction between devs. This newer approach assists with communication and also makes the space more modular, so XP techniques like pair programming are made easier than when two people have to squeeze into a single cube.


its upon role.. if he is database administrator then

Server room

if he is programmer then


if he is not just programmer also coordinator

Software house

Above all

Just "office"

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    I agree that it's context-dependent. I might add another: if the team does classified programming, consider vault. – J.R. Jul 25 '13 at 10:01

I hear the word bar thrown around pretty often.

  • haha BAR is nice :P – Jashan Feb 4 '15 at 10:53

As a software developer who knows other software developers who work at software companies. They usually say software firm.


I think best term would be tech world, tech room, technology room, or technology block.


Many programmers, hackers, and similar work from home sitting in their couch. This is actually more common than you may think. You don't necessarily need a proper office desk, because practically all writing and reading is done on the pc/laptop.

Edit: I formulated this answer badly. I know from my own experience that programming can be a very creative task, and many "offices" that I know are arranged and decorated to boost the programmers' creativity. It is not unusual to find "chill out" corners with sofas, stereos, video game consoles and such (see for example the offices of Google which are quite unusual). I've even seen pool tables and mini cinemas in such offices. And programmers often work in these areas. In a similar way, programmers sometimes prefer to work at home. So, in my opinion, such an office is rather placeless and it is far too easy to label it as simply "office". "Studio" (as mentioned by others above) is a more appropriate name. I've even heard the more abstract "space" (remember, programming can be done also on the move, on trains, airplanes, etc).

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