I started my PhD back in 2011 in Information Systems and Communications, immediately after I received my master degree in computer science. By 2015 I started working full time as software developer and the available time that I could dedicate to the pursuit of my PhD degree was greatly diminished. Several other events occurred in the last five years, and until the beginning of this year I made the resolution to finish my thesis and research papers in two years. It's been so far a completely different experience, an experience that I attribute to my professional experience in software development from the last years.
For instance, my major is in multi agent and distributed systems, and now I have a better knowledge of the language and software where many of this systems run. I am now able to get a deeper understanding of research papers. But I also have a better grasp of people skills for team cooperation and communication, the office and corporate environment has made me focus in the outcomes instead of the mediums, and a 9-5-ish schedule has helped me be better at prioritization and planning.
I am not saying that I or anyone else in the same situation, was incapable of finishing a PhD back in the days, but having some years of professional experience has improved my research skills and they are being handy this time. I am having a good time working in research along with my software development job.