Coding is Like Music

Coding is a lot like music. When the instruments are in tune and the singer has the perfect pitch, it can result in a song that millions know and love for generations. But as most musicians fully understand, it’s hard to reach expert level in anything. Learning an instrument and creating music from scratch is no exception to that rule. Not to mention the additional challenge of getting in perfect harmony with other musicians to get on the same page in order to create together. As developers know firsthand, this applies to coding, too. Having to learn your way around error messages and becoming fluent in code languages takes some practice. Even being a developer on a team of others is similar to joining a band and searching for that unspoken wavelength to fall into and everyone work together as a unit to create the needed sound.

In a past blogpost, we spoke on how coding is similar to art. Comparing the strokes of a paintbrush to a developer sitting down and writing lines of code. The similarities are definitely there as you approach your blank canvas on a computer screen. When it comes to coding and music, the comparisons may be closer aligned than you first assume. 

Your Brain is Talking to Your Fingertips 

Like a composer sitting down behind a piano, developers are able to relax their mind into autopilot as their fingers go to work at creating in front of them. The lines of code being their musical notes and what they are creating is their song. But playing the wrong note could throw things off instantly. Resulting in errors and problems later down the road. As they scan their work and find where the problem is, they are able to quickly make the needed changes. Fingers back on the keyboard and brain ready to create their coding masterpiece.

Developers are Fast Learners like Musicians

Often times, new coders find themselves asking how to be a good developer. A crucial skillset to learn while sharpening your skills is learning how to pivot quickly (this skillset is one of the many benefits of coding bootcamps. But more on that later.)

Musicians have two main options when it comes to learning: To learn to read music or to learn by ear. Learning to read music makes for a well-rounded musician usually capable of having the ability to play anything after only a few times of looking the sheet music over. Learning by ear offers a particular challenge of figuring it out as you go. Having to slide your hands around the neck of the guitar to correctly mimic the song you are trying to play or create.

Regardless of which two main options the musician goes with, challenges are always presented to them in the music creation process. They have to learn to pivot in order to solve the missing piece of the song. Coding is the exact same. Obtaining the skill of pivoting is an absolute must when writing code at any level. Random problems pop up constantly. It’s your job to navigate around them to find and fix whatever it may be. Day one coders all the way up to full-time developers in top technology companies have to pivot in almost everything they do. Being a fast learner, similar to a musician tapping on a piano to find the right key or changing your finger location on a guitar neck, is an absolute must as a developer. 

The Learning Process is a Building Process

In a music recording studio, each instrument is usually recorded as individually tracks and then layered on top of each other to make the finished song come to life in its final form. When it’s time for the lead singer to come in and record their parts, they normally have the rest of the bands’ individual tracks playing together to give the singer a time reference and to perfectly fit their vocals in the musical puzzle piece. But all of these things are after the lyrics were written, each band member crafted their parts of the song, they practiced it over and over again, and they made the changes where they needed to be made.

That building process from the ground up is exactly how developers approach coding. They start with the beginning steps crafting a blueprint of what the end results need to be and then figure out how to get there. The lines of code are their lyrics and the programming language becomes their instrument. All working together to layer each part as they keep building up to reach the end of a fully written code ready to go with no errors. Music to their ears.

The Better you Get, the Better the Code Gets

The age old saying, “practice makes perfect” is true across the board. It just makes sense the more you do something, the better you become.

When a new musician starts on an instrument it can become tedious. Playing the exact same ten seconds of a song they are attempting to learn one-hundred times over and over again until they can play it easily. Then off to the next ten seconds. This “rinse and repeat” method of practice helps musicians become better at their craft. Before they know it, they can play the song from start to finish and sound great. It’s a rewarding finish line to a long musical race.

Usually after a long time of playing an instrument, musicians are able to play at a high level and enter a whole new realm of talent – improv. Improv is the art of going off the guided path, play something awesome that’s being made up as you go along, and then still find your way back to the original path you started on without missing a beat.

Being a good developer is the same. After a while of shaping your expertise level, being able to go off the original guided path and find your way back by the end to create something great is a programmer’s version of an epic drum solo people air drum in traffic (looking at you, Phil Collins.) The improv level of coding can help you analyze problems you may be having or give you the skillset to create larger than life things that no one has done before you. But remember –practice makes perfect. Reaching that point takes time. But just like a musician learning ten seconds of a song at a time, you’ll reach the finish line and walk away as a better developer because of the work you did leading up to your moment in the spotlight. 

The Creative Mind

Finally, possibly one of the most obvious reasons how coding is like music and the creation of it – the creativeness behind it. Rather you are in a chart-topping band or wrote the code for something millions of people use daily, there had to be a level of creativity involved somewhere in the process.

A musician crafting something beautiful out of thin air is the result of talent and a creative mind ticking away. Developers have creativity when doing the same for coding. They need their creative minds in order to look at potential problems from multiple angles they may be skipping over at first. Along with that, being able to have enough imagination to see the finished product they are wanting to write code for and making it come to life. Both musicians and developers need that creative mental insight to envision what the end goal looks like and then their skills will take over to do the rest as they start with that first step.

How to Make Music with Your Code

Okay, maybe not actual music (even though it’s entirely possible to do so.)

Getting in tune and creating music from scratch is a rewarding thing to experience on any level. As a developer, the reward has similar feelings. Being able to start on step one and walk away with a full-blown symphony of code you crafted on your keyboard is always an achievement to be proud of.

In this blog post, we discussed how coding is like music but we saved the best information for last…Coding is so much like the creation of music, that musicians are usually very talented developers who are naturally gifted because of the skillsets they carry over with them instantly. Some of the things we mentioned today are skills that have to be learned or taught getting into coding. But when it comes to musicians, they already have obtained some needed talent that so naturally aligns with being a great developer early on.

When it comes to music, there’s plenty of ways to learn how to play your instruments. Guide books, online videos, hiring a music instructor – the list goes on and on. When it comes to learning to code, there’s options available there, too. Luckily, one of those main options is an online coding bootcamp.

Coding bootcamps allows the interest for code to transform into hirable skillsets that can land jobs in the tech industry. devCodeCamp has built out our lessons in-house from the ground up to make sure that in as short as 12-weeks, a person with zero idea to code is able to graduate with enough knowledge they can launch their career in code.

If you are a lifetime musician or simply just want to learn how to code online, take that next step with devCodeCamp. We are ready for you to join our band of students and give you talents in code to go and create the next big chart topper in the tech world. Reach out now!