Is programming a creative activity?

en Oct 24, 2020

As a society we’ve pivoted into a more modern, innovative and creative world. There are activities that we immediately recognize as creative, like reading, painting or making music. There are even more modern activities like design o entrepreneurship can be considered creative.

This is why I can’t help but to ask myself: Is really programming an activity where creativity is required and nurtured? Can we keep finding spaces to develop our creativity on the current professional ecosystem?

Developing Software consists – almost every time – on resolving problems repetitively and it’s also about finding ways to resolving problems that previously took a large effort or could not be resolved at all.

A constant critic to programming as a creative matter it’s also related to its final product (software) not recognized immediately as art. This is because the result of developing software tends to be invisible, abstract and with a very specific objective in mind.

Unless you’re working on the next Shrek movie o new fancy web design for the new unicorn startup; your programming hard work would be hardly recognized as a piece of art, but don’t let this discourage you. Even when software is created with a very specific objective in mind and not necessarily to entertain, it is possible to obtain the best of both worlds.

So the short answer for this article is YES and it is possible to find several kinds of artists who are great software development professionals, all of them with a unique style and results as creative as the one ones from a novelist o painter. It’s just harder to appreciate their art, as it usually requires a lot of equal technical background to appreciate the end results.

Programming doesn’t only exist to solve problems, it’s also a medium of expression, just like music or any other sort of art.

If you’re interested on learning more of this subject i’d recommend youHackers and Painters – an essay from Paul Graham who is a lot more experience on it than I am.


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