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Why more successful Computer Programmer’s align with Creativity and Emotional Intelligence? And how they can benefit from this more?

Programming is not just about having the knowledge or the requisite skills, it takes more to be successful, and it’s the ‘more’ the successful programmers have applied in their work. Often what differentiates a successful programmer from the rest is his ability to be creative and have strong emotional intelligence. 

A study furnished by the Washington University described the attribute of a great programmer. Among the many qualities indicated in the study, creativity was mentioned, while emotional intelligence, although not directly mentioned, determines the bulk of the other indicated attributes.

Programming and Creativity

We often apply the concept of creativity to artists or other arts-oriented professions, but in reality, creativity transcends beyond a painting, a good song, or a beautiful design. According to Michael Mumford, a psychologist in creative research, “…creativity involves the production of novel, useful product.”

John Romeo described programmers as creative artists when he said, “you might view programmers as artists, but programming is an enormously creative profession. It is based on logic and creativity”. In my opinion, programming is a fusion of applied science and abstract arts.

Programming is a concept that was born out of creativity and thrives on creativity. A brief look at the meaning of both concepts would better explain the above point.

 What is creativity? Creativity is the ability to bring into reality new and imaginative ideas that may be useful in solving problems. Now, what is programming?  It is a creative process that involves creating executable computer programs for accomplishing computing tasks using algorithms. A juxtaposition of both concepts can only lead to one conclusion, and that is, you cannot be a successful programmer without being creative. 

If we think about how many successful programmers have changed the world with their inventions, then it will be impossible to separate programming from creativity.  From facebook, which connects people seamlessly, to Paypal, which aids the transfer of funds easy and in a timely fashion and other groundbreaking software, they are all products of creative programmers.

Every successful programmer has had to be creative most of the time because creativity is what inspires the development of computer programs.

Programming and Emotional Intelligence

When it comes to programming, emotional intelligence is often relegated to the background, and this is because programming is perceived to require more of problem solving or mathematical skills. Successful programmers always know that beyond the basics, there is more skill set to acquire, and that is what separates them from the rest.

Programming is fun, but it requires a great deal of concentration and mental comportment, and these can only be achieved by having strong emotional intelligence skills. Also, programmers work with people at different stages of their job, and they work for people, this as well requires a proper appreciation of emotional intelligence.

American psychologists E.I Daniel Goleman, in his book titled Working with Emotional Intelligence (EI), defined it as “The ability for identifying our feelings and that of others, for sustaining ourselves and for managing emotions adequately in ourselves and relationships.” An interpretation of this definition indicates that emotional intelligence is needed to succeed in the workplace or in life. It is an essential skill that transcends the specifics of programming. 

According to Goleman, 80% of our success in life is the result of emotional Intelligence. He further restated a report by Harvard Business School which indicates that EI is twice more important as I.Q (Intelligence Quotient) and practical skills collectively in determining success and promotion. In a youtube video, he affirms that while I.Q could help you get into a profession, EI is what you need to stay in the top 10% of your profession.

Another research published by Harvard Business Review stated that training in EI by Motorola for some staff in a manufacturing plant yielded an increase of productivity of more than 90% of those trained. 

Smart and successful programmers know the importance of emotional intelligence and employ it in the discharge of their work, and this is a significant determinant of their success.

Why successful programmers align with emotional intelligence


  • It makes them more productive
  • It enables them to manage stress and improve their overall physical and mental health. 
  • It improves their interpersonal relationship skills
  • It makes them better team players.
  • It enables them to remain calm and rational even under enormous pressure.


Putting it all Together

Successful programmers have identified creativity and emotional intelligence as two vital requirements for a successful career, and that is why they have aligned with the two concepts. While creativity takes them to the top and helps them build a solid reputation, Emotional intelligence gives them the needed balance to keep them at the top.


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