What music to listen to while programming (or working)

A subscriber submitted a post idea recently: “music to code to”. After each type of programming activity, I’ll give a brief background of what that activity involves in layman’s terms. I also tried to relate each programming activity to a classroom activity. Before I jump into the activities, here is a brief background of my music preference:

  • I grew up listening to 80’s classic rock and pop.
  • My teenage years were all about alternative rock.
  • I have recently become a fan of indie rock, progressive rock, and several types of electronic music.

Creative Design – Learning

This is when you are starting a new project, pattern, or language. You are actively processing a lot of information and your brain might hurt. Keep in mind that you are typically learning new concepts.

The last thing you need is a distracting song to sing along to. You will be so active with the work at hand that you probably won’t notice the music all that much. This is when I really like background, ambient music (listen on low volume). When this music stops, you’ll hardly notice. Try out this:

General Programming and Testing – Homework and Studying

This is when you pretty much know what you need to do but you haven’t done it yet. You might be processing a decent amount of information, but you’re brain doesn’t hurt. This is basically practice – you are going through the motions.

This is where you would probably listen to your current favorite artists. It’s OK to sing lyrics and tap your feet to the beat. When this music stops, you take a second to notice. Try out this:

Refactoring – Exams

This is when you have a difficult task at hand. You’ve done your learning and homework / studying, but now it is time for the exam. If you don’t understand the intricacies of your subject then you will misstep. You are recalling (not processing) a lot of information, so you need to be able to focus.

This is when you need a song that will help you lock into the task at hand. You might tap your feet and bob your head, but you likely wont sing along. When the music stops, you notice and are not happy. This is when I like music that has a good beat. Try out this:

Brogramming – Partying

You destroyed the exam. Congrats, fellow brogrammer. This is the only option (very high volume):

Posted in Personal, Professional Tagged with: , , ,
3 comments on “What music to listen to while programming (or working)
  1. Mike Duffy says:

    I was wondering when you were going to mention Skrillex. I was about to flag this post as inaccurate.

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