Musicians make great software developers. It's a researched fact that's been written about a good bit over the last 5 years.
It's actually the reason I created this site! I am a classically trained musician with over 15 years of bassoon, music theory, and music composition experience- and I just happen to be one of the statistics that transitioned into software development.
However, I didn't make the jump because I read these articles, I made the move a few years before it was a trend people became aware of. I made the leap because making money in music is hard. Really hard.
That brings me to point #2 of why I created this site. I want to specifically help more musicians who were like me; needing a career that could actually sustain themselves and their family.
Don't get me wrong, it is definitely possible to make a living as a musician, I know plenty who do, however the ceiling is still pretty low in terms of max income, even for what many consider a 'successful' music career.
Sparing you my personal story and how I got here (will be another post I'm sure), let's get into the science behind why musicians make great software developers.
...thanks to their performance background, attention to detail, and innate need to perfect their parts, musicians tend to be analytical, logical and methodical—skills that the best coders also possess. (huffpost.com)
I remember going through two university music degrees and the amount of sheer practice (or woodshedding as we'd call it) it took for me and my fellow classmates to stay competitive and competent with the pieces we were learning. Parts vary greatly, from playing in a 60 person orchestra to a 3 person trio, you have to be flexible as a player and realize your role within the ensemble. You might even get stuck waiting 10+ minutes of counting bars (hopefully there's a cue!) only to play one or two notes. You can't lose focus for even a second, no one can, or else the entire work falls a part.
This skill naturally forces musicians to realize their place within the greater picture of a piece of music and forces their brain to analyze relationships and structure. These are skills that are wildly useful in a software development setting.
“There seems to be a high correlation between musical ability and reasoning skills,” Terry Skwarek, the director of SharePoint administration at DePaul University, once told CNN. “It has to do with recognizing and manipulating patterns. That happens in music and in programming.” (huffpost.com)
Software and music are both artful and creative. While there are certainly rules to both, both are encouraged to be broken if you can reason the decision. There are many ways to craft a piece of music as well as an application. It's why development tends to be such a natural transition for so many musicians.
It's counter-intuitive to some to hear that software is creative but it certainly is! Every programmer has a personality and you can see it in how they write their code, no two programmers will create an application the exact same way. Again, there are certainly best practices and frameworks to guide you by, just like in music, however, it is encouraged to think outside the box!
Math is also heavily involved in both music and software. With music for example, you are constantly surrounded by fractions, intervals, beats per minute, time signatures, etc..
Harmonic structure is merely the stacking of different intervals to create a chord, how fast a piece of music should be played, is notated by how many counts happen within 60 seconds. These are just a couple of examples of how musicians are constantly using the analytical side of their brain.
Software can get complicated fast when it comes to math, especially with things such as algorithms and complex computations. Musicians minds are naturally tuned to thinking in numbers already, so the sometimes rude awakening is softened a bit by the previous experiences.
Jumping back to the woodshedding quote ealier:
Both software development and music are skills that require finesse, so they can be learned similarly,”
As a musician, you are already predisposed to the grind required to learn a piece of music. It's not something that happens overnight. Instant gratification is a rarity in music. Therefore, when transitioning to learning software, a notoriously difficult, arduous process, musicians are less likely to hit the 'flight' response and abandon ship. They know what it takes to do something the right way and are more likely to stick with it through the end.
These are just a few of the many examples of why musicians make great software developers. I hope this gets you excited if you're looking to make the jump! Tomorrow, I'll pick back up on where we left off with the curriculum. See you then!