Every day we use tools and form habits to achieve more with less. In software development, there are so many tools and technologies to improve work efficiency that it causes fatigue even from making decisions.
When GitHub first launched Copilot Tech Preview in 2021, the company assumed it would improve developer productivity, and in fact early adopters were talking about it. But now, within months of its final release, it’s time to measure the effectiveness of the AI tool through quantitative and qualitative research.
New GitHub research reveals how Copilot affects developers. Here are some interesting facts from it.
Productivity is more than just speed
- Improving developer satisfaction. Between 60 and 75% of users reported feeling more satisfied with their work, less frustrated when coding, and can focus on more enjoyable work when using GitHub Copilot.
- Saving mental energy. Developers reported that GitHub Copilot helped them stay in the flow (73%) and maintain mental effort while doing repetitive tasks (87%). This is where developer happiness lies, as we know from previous research that context switches and interrupts can ruin a developer’s day and that certain types of work drain them.
…but speed is also important
In a GitHub survey survey, we found that developers were able to complete tasks faster when using GitHub Copilot, especially repetitive ones. This was an expected result (after all, GitHub Copilot writes faster than a human), but this opinion of more than 90% still came as a pleasant surprise. Developers overwhelmingly find that GitHub Copilot helps them get things done faster.
So, during the experiment, the group that used GitHub Copilot had a higher task completion rate (78% compared to 70% in the group without Copilot). And developers who used GitHub Copilot completed the task significantly faster—55% faster than developers who didn’t use GitHub Copilot.
What does this mean for developers?
Research has shown that GitHub Copilot allows you to complete tasks faster, saves developers’ mental energy, helps them focus on more enjoyable work, and ultimately have more fun programming.