Home Code Quality How much is technical debt costing you?

How much is technical debt costing you?




Software developers are becoming one of the most important and expensive resources in the world. Therefore, leveraging your organization’s current talent is vital to ship high-quality products fast. However, the average organization wastes up to 42% of its development time due to technical debt.

If not addressed, code quality issues resulting from a high technical debt will impact not only the customer experience but also your organization’s ability to innovate and maintain a healthy codebase.

How costly is your tech debt?

Are you interested in knowing the numbers for your organization? We do the math for you, try our tech debt calculator, in two simple steps:

  1. Select the number of software developers in your organization;
  2. You get the cost of your technical debt and how much you could save with Codacy.
Codacy ROI calculator

Number of software developers

For our example, let’s consider a team with 50 developers, but you’ll need to know how many developers you have in your organization.

Average cost per developer

Different countries (or even cities) have distinct realities in terms of salaries. Therefore, you’ll need to know how much your organization is paying developers. For our example, let’s consider a Software Engineer position in the USA, with an average salary of $ 116 000 / year.

Note: We know that employee salary and employee cost might not correspond to the same amount, depending on your country’s tax policies.

Time spent on maintenance

According to Stripe’s report, developers spend over 17 hours every week – yes, every week – dealing with technical debt and bad code. Considering a 40-hours work week, developers spend about 42% of their time on code maintenance.

Cost of technical debt

Knowing the cost per developer and the time spent on maintenance you can easily do one times the other to see the total of your tech debt.

cost of tech debt = average cost per developer x percentage of time spent on maintenance

From our example, we have the following cost of technical debt, per year and per developer:

cost of tech debt = $ 116 000 x 42% = $ 48 720

From our example, we have the following total cost:

total cost of tech debt = $ 116 000 x 42% x 50 devs = $ 2 436 000

Bear in mind this only considers code maintenance. There is also the opportunity cost of not being able to ship new features or bearing a high time-to-market. So, in reality, the cost might be even higher.

How Codacy can help you reduce the cost of technical debt

We need to convert all those hours wasted on dealing with technical debt into productive development time. Of course, we know it’s impossible to eliminate all unplanned work, but certainly, we can reduce it. That’s where products like Codacy come in.

Time saved with Codacy

Codacy is a static code analysis tool that helps you automate code reviews on your commits and PR by:

  • Defining and enforcing your coding standards on every PR;
  • Displaying the current state and trend for the most important code quality metrics (security, style, duplication, complexity, and coverage);
  • Sharing visibility into your technical debt and the most problematic areas of your code;
  • Preventing security issues with security and performance checks;
  • Keeping track of your overall code quality evolution.

Codacy helps you recover up to 25% of your lost engineering time by managing your code quality and technical debt. That’s the equivalent of having 25% more developers without the staffing cost.

Codacy cost

Codacy has no limits on LoCs, repositories, analyses, or languages. Pricing is purely based on the number of developers/Git contributors in the team, keeping your cost low and predictable in the long run. Each seat costs $15 per month.

Codacy cost = number of users x $ 15 / month

Codacy ROI

You now have all the data needed to calculate the return on investment on a product like Codacy. By paying $ 9 000 per year (estimated cost for Codacy per year for 50 sets) you save up to 25% of each developer’s time spent on tech debt, saving in total €609 000 in time that can be used to build better products.

Here, we’re only considering that Codacy optimizes work related to technical debt and code maintenance. But Codacy helps developers regardless of their current development goals.


Developers are a valuable asset for any software development organization. However, developers spend 42% of their week working on code maintenance. Although you can’t eliminate unplanned work, you can reduce the effects of technical debt.

That’s why we exist. We want to enable software development teams to achieve their full potential with products that matter. Go ahead and see how much you can save with an automated code review tool such as Codacy. We can recover up to 25% of your lost engineering time.



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