Why are so many CIOs, IT pros also musicians?

Might there be a connection between a passion for music and a proclivity for technology? For many chief information officers and information technology experts, the answer seems to be yes.

In a February article in CIO UK, two principles from an executive search firm mentioned having observed a great number of CIOs who also studied music in school, played in bands or continue to currently play music in some fashion. A more recent report takes a deeper dive into trying to suss out why this may be.

"I don't have hard numbers. But the number of people I meet in IT who turn out to be frustrated musicians always surprises me," Jerry Fishenden, a CIO UK columnist and CIO himself, told reporter Pat Brans in the recent article. "Some are still playing in bands in their private lives; others sing in a choir."

Mr. Fishenden points out that computer programming and music both involve elements of problem solving and require a creative mind. Music is based in mathematics, physics and ratios in many ways, and both disciplines produce a final product some people will like and others not so much.

Another basis for the connection could be an understanding of flow, Andrew Hugill, founder of the Centre for Creative Computing at BathSpaUniversity in the U.K., and a composer-programmer, points out.

"If you're a musician, you understand the idea that if I do this thing, this other thing will be the consequence," Mr. Hugill said in the report. "And of course, this is the basis of all computing. Computing requires an algorithmic mind-set. Most music is also algorithmic in some way or another. You have some sort of constraint. You're playing in a key, or with a particular rhythm, or whatever it may be."

Another important component in both music and IT is a commitment to collaboration and willingness to seek out and accept feedback. For a CIO, effectively the bandleader of an IT operation, this can also mean trying to recognize and incorporate talent in much the same way as an orchestra.

Read the full CIO UK article here.

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