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Are Programmers Composers? Here are 7 Similarities Connecting Developers and Musicians

If you're a programmer - or more generally - an information technology specialist, working in an IT company seems to be a dream job, doesn't it? From my point of view, however, it has been linked to the question of whether it is the place I should be. For the record, I graduated from the JU Faculty of Philology, and now I am studying music (playing the most pleasant instrument, which is the flute, obviously). It's my biggest passion, and I try to pursue it in various fields as you can see below.

Since the very first day of my work at Comarch, I have wondered if there is any real connection between music and IT. Two years (almost) have passed, and I have realized that there are a number of skills and ways of working that are common for both musicians and programmers. Has this subject ever crossed your mind? Let’s take a closer look.

1. Mathematical skills and logical thinking

First, musicians and programmers have to possess mathematical skills and be driven by logical thinking. If you believe music is all about emotions and beautiful sounds, you're wrong. It requires the musician to play at the right pace, with the correct rhythm, and equally with the whole band. So basically, it’s about counting. It is of great importance when it comes to music, unless you don't mind playing when others are silent and everyone knows it's not how the composer intended.

How is this connected to programming? Well, without counting, IT would not exist. Obviously, it's not a question of doing equations. It's way more complicated. Counting allows IT specialists, for instance, to develop and finish their projects. It should be enough to enumerate here some activities based on math skills such as creating algorithms, analyzing statistics, or even building an app.

Kraków OUP Symphony Orchestra directed by Małgorzata Tęczyńska-Kęska

Kraków OUP Symphony Orchestra directed by Małgorzata Tęczyńska-Kęska

2. Codes

This, in turn, leads to the next similarity between music and programming - working on codes. Programmers use different kinds of codes every day, whether they are creating an application or using a specific software. The same goes for music. The artist needs to work with a given code, which in this case means notes and musical notation. All of those signs written on a sheet of paper have to be combined altogether in order for the musician to perform a piece.

3. Software used for work

Although musicians do not write codes through the same software as programmers, it seems to be a very similar way of working for them. The tools that they use for work help them to carry out their duties. So, programmers turn to algorithms and musicians use notes to create the intended result.

The musical equivalent of tools such as VS Code used by developers would be Sibelius, which enables composers, arrangers, and musicians to create, edit, and print sheet music.

Orkiestra Dęta „Echo Gór” z Kasinki Małej

Orkiestra Dęta „Echo Gór” z Kasinki Małej

4. Creativity

Musicians and programmers engage in the creative process, exploring new melodies and arrangements in music, while developing innovative software and solutions in programming. Creative thinking and experimentation are vital in both fields.

5. Attention to detail

The devil is in the details - whether you're working on a program or a musical piece. A minor change (a bug or a wrong note) can completely alter or even ruin the outcome.

Musicians strive to reproduce a piece with utmost precision, paying attention to dynamics, intonation, and performance nuances. Similarly, programmers need to be precise in their code, focusing on syntax, structure, and program functionality.

6. Collaboration

Music and programming often require working with others. Musicians typically play in bands or orchestras that rely on listening to each other and engaging in close, harmonious collaboration. Similarly, programmers work in teams where communication is crucial for ongoing project work and troubleshooting.

7. Perseverance

Devveloping in the world of IT and music requires a lot of perseverance. Learning to play a new instrument or mastering a programming language demands time, patience, and a systematic approach.

Now that you’ve made it to the end of the article, do you perceive yourself as a kind of artist?

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