Understanding the Psychology of Programming

Thoughts of an Engineer

It has often been said that programmers are introverts. I find that this isn’t true, in the majority of cases, but programmers usually do have a longer attention span and a greater ability to concentrate than the majority of the population, and these two things can cause the appearance of introversion. A programmer’s ability to focus on a single task for long periods to the exclusion of all else has led some people to comment on similar behavior in autistics (Asperger’s Disorder), and to wonder whether most programmers are mildly autistic. I would be surprised if most programmers were autistic—our concentration is too easily broken.

Writing code is an act of creativity. It isn’t science and it isn’t engineering, although programmers are happy to apply science and engineering to the creative process, when possible. Therefore to be a programmer one has to be highly creative. This is one of the…

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