Creativity in the programmer's profession – a choice or a necessity?

Creativity defines the ability to create connections between seemingly unrelated things. The profession considered one of the most creative are programmers.

Creativity is the driving force behind the world's development in its various dimensions and directions, and its basis is creative thinking. At the same time, it is a quality that future generations should improve to sustain the development of our civilization. Today, the professional group considered one of the most creative are programmers. Their role in building the breakthrough (but not only) technology of the future is invaluable.

The creators of software and websites are one of the most numerous professional groups in the world. It is difficult to determine precisely how many programmers are worldwide, because many are amateurs, but estimates say 20–35 million. For comparison, their number in the UK is similar (though slightly larger) to the number of doctors.

Estimates say there are 20–35 million programmers worldwide

This profession's role and importance are increasingly compared to creative activities and make you think of programmers as artists. Not only because of what they are doing now but also due to their growing impact on shaping the future. Software engineering is essential today in all aspects of the global economy. And because more and more companies are building a culture of information systems, the demand for talented and open-minded programmers is still growing.

Software development is probably the most creative area you can imagine. It's a human thought in front of the screen, waiting to be filled with code that you can use to create anything.

Creative programmer – what does it mean?

Creativity is not obvious. And although it is dormant in everyone, it still needs to be directed. When we talk about a “typical” programmer, there often comes to mind someone who writes code with due diligence, line by line. He is concentrated, methodical, thinks analytically and logically, using the features of the left hemisphere of the brain (the one responsible for analytical skills).

However, the programmer's work is not only a reproductive use of already known functions and diagrams. Above all – the development of new concepts requires creative solutions to unprecedented problems.

Information systems are increasingly needed in many industries, including the typical humanities. Therefore, in every new project, programmers need the skill of creative thinking and even basic knowledge about the specifics of the work of artists, lawyers, or scientists. More and more programmers come from an artistic, architectural, or musical environment. The functions assigned to the right hemisphere of brain are therefore, equally important.

The ability to think independently, go beyond the scheme, and create practical but unusual solutions is necessary today when developing breakthrough technologies.

Creativity is the ability to create connections between seemingly unrelated things

To create useful and valuable programs and applications, not to mention advanced computer games, you need to demonstrate knowledge and your own creativity. The most popular programs and applications should be well written. And above all, thought out in order to be ingenious and legible to others.

Creativity is the ability to create connections between seemingly unrelated things – an inherent feature of a good programmer. No potential software developer, nor their future employer, should underestimate creativity. It must be accompanied by a sense and desire to be a creator to develop an experimental mentality.

Other significant advantages associated with creativity:

1. Inventiveness

It's the ability to create great solutions, but also ones that are exciting and valuable. Asaf Weinberg, a product innovation leader, said:

“Every time a developer writes code, he is taking a non-deterministic path towards an unknown solution. a unique solution that has never been created before. If the work weren’t unique, he wouldn’t need to write it, he’d simply copy and paste it”.

2. Curiosity

It helps to concentrate on deep, insightful work, flexible search for clue puzzle tips in memory, and the environment. This motivates to learn and continuously acquire knowledge. Although you can be a good programmer without using curiosity, those who use it make progress much faster.

3. Adaptiveness

IT projects are constantly changing and require a quick response to opinions and information. The programmer should demonstrate the ability to adapt to the processes in the team. Most of them follow this rule in the programming process; otherwise, this process can be complicated.

4. Communication skills

The ability to clearly express your thoughts and ideas is crucial. Imagine if you are to adopt a client's concept or explain to him why he is not good; or explain a potentially controversial choice that you have decided on. Being able to accept an idea or convey your own belief in plain language makes you more convincing. Moreover, clear justification helps to avoid conflict.

5. Passion

Most creators get involved in their projects, deriving pleasure and energy from what they do. The best programmers think of code, not just when they are physically at work: they are constantly thinking, how to improve it, and increase its efficiency. Most importantly, they are excited about what they do.

6. Writing skills

Without reliable documentation available to all team members, there is a slim possibility of a good IT project. Not to mention that working in the long run programmers must be able to extend and update the code. Many programmers develop their writing skills by running blogs where they share with others how they overcome challenges and find solutions with others. It serves not only science but also helps them develop their writing skills.

Code – a creative tool

The code is the primary "material" in programmers' work. And although in current acceptance coding is reserved for a hermetic group of professionals, it can be an interdisciplinary tool. It can be successfully used by contemporary artists, e.g., in art and advertising. Writing code is comparable to composing music or writing a book. Creative coding opens a new field for experimenting, creating interactive art, such as installations that strongly affect all senses. There are already many examples of a successful marriage of coding with art and design.

An example would be the multimedia installation “Measure room – Quantum of Piece” at the Warsaw Uprising Museum or MickeyPhone, an interactive audiovisual installation commissioned by Disney, or other projects combining language with space and technology. Thus, creative coding becomes a skill sought after by designers, artists, or the advertising industry, giving a significant advantage at the labor market.

For programmers who need a temporary diverge from routine on-screen programming and want to create something tangible with code, a great field of opportunity opens up.

Creative economy

Examples show that the functioning of the world, increasingly dominated by images, sounds, symbols, and ideas, enforces methods of creating cultural goods, services, and works. In the face of far-reaching changes, the importance of a platform connecting economy, culture, and technology is growing. New strategies are needed to unleash the creative potential of IT professions.

Already at the end of the 1990s, the concept of creative sectors for the creative economy was created in Great Britain. This "Mapping Document" turned out to be a breakthrough for the economy. It was the first attempt to systematize creative sectors at the national level in history.

Among the obvious ones, such as art, architecture, design, music, film and video, as the largest creative sector "computer software and services" has been included.

The document drew people's attention to this sector, which, by combining technology with the national heritage, was unique in the world economy. This discovery, similarly to the whole document, drew attention to importance of creativity in both the economy and society as a whole. Its scope influenced multiple countries worldwide.


The economy's functioning may be disrupted due to the still low participation of the technological industry in it. Labor market experts estimate that the share of programmers in non-IT sectors will increase in the next 10 to 15 years.

Perhaps companies will start building software themselves, although this process will depend on the recognition of software engineering by individual spheres. For example, if hotels had their own software teams, there is a chance that there would be no booking platforms because hotel groups would create them themselves. Thanks to programming, you can create products and services better suited to the needs of modern man.

Do you want to know which other professions creativity is useful for? Check out this article in which we describe creative professions popular in the 21st century.

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