Music and software development

 Early in my career, I would always ask the people I worked with if they played music. More often than not, the answer would be yes! It was so common that I stopped asking if they played music, and asked what instrument they play.

Why is it so common for software developers to play music? I'm not sure, but if I had to hazard a guess, I'd say it uses and develops the same skills needed in that line of work. Arts in general will help you learn faster, solve complex problems creatively, and think outside the box.

Scientifically, there are no direct links between playing music and becoming a better software developer. However, many things musicians do can translate directly to the software development world. Here are three of them, in no particular order.

Break large projects into more manageable bite-size parts

The same way a musician would learn a new piece, software developers need to break up large projects into smaller chunks. Musicians will learn a few measures at a time and put them back up to produce the entire song. Software engineers will break up large projects into modules, features, and functions they can develop and test before putting them all together to produce the finished product.

Practice through repetition

When learning a new song or part of a new song, repeating a few measures over and over is the fastest way to learn it, overcome the technical challenges, and get better at it. The same concept applies in software engineering when learning a new language or framework: the best way to learn the intricacies of a new technology is through repetition. It can be tedious at times, but it is often the fastest way to improve.

Love of learning

Playing music and writing code both foster the love of learning. Whether it be learning a new song, how to play a new instrument, or learning a new language or framework, the desire of doing new things or doing things differently is the catalyst that keeps that love of learning going. I have a hard time believing some people want to play music or do software development with very minimal knowledge and no ambition to better themselves or just try something new. All that new knowledge is new tools at your disposal to solve problems you may encounter in your career.


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