Music seems to be more ubiquitous today than it ever has been. Music players are built into our phones, music delivery platforms such as Pandora and Spotify offer on-demand content in new and unique ways, and everyone seems to have an awesome pair of headphones. Music is so ubiquitous, in fact, that companies are starting to advise managers to let people listen to music while they work, because younger generations are more productive that way.
That sure feels like the case for programming. Programming is something that people try to get “in the zone” for; it feels more gratifying and productive to bust out code for a few hours rather than take it in 30 minute chunks. But how does one get into the zone? How can we make hours of staring at text on a screen something exciting?
Well, that’s where music comes in. If you’ve ever seen the Social Network, there is an awesome scene that illustrates how good music can augment the coding experience. Early in the movie, when Zuck is writing his FaceMash website, their is a techno song in the background that lends an intense, futuristic vibe to the scene. As Jesse Eisenberg’s voiceover describes “busting out emacs” and “modifying php scripts”, the viewer isn’t feeling bored; rather, it creates a feeling of action and excitement. As a programmer, that’s the kind of music you want on your side.
In fact, I’ve used that exact song countless times. There are other great, “techy” sounding songs to get you into the coding mood, especially from original soundtracks such as The Matrix. Or, you can just go for casual listening (I do enjoy rocking my Third Eye Blind Pandora station). Music is actually one of the parts of programming I look forward to the most- I love programming, but music really makes it a memorable experience.
While a programmer is not actually only as good as their playlist, it is important to love what you do on a daily basis. The more fun you can make it, the more you will get out of the activity. Programming doesn’t feel like “work” to me, I enjoy it that much.
Start building a playlist. And prepare for awesomeness.