Some people like to work in total silence with their noise-cancelling headphones over their ears all the time. However, most of us enjoy some music in the background while focusing on our work. In 2019 HackerRank published a report in which they stated that most developers in the age from 21 to 53 mostly listen to dance/electro music while coding. Since a lot of our employees’ headphones rest only after they close their laptops, we decided to ask some of them which song/genre is their first pick when their code editor opens, and the work starts. As they are all different and some of them might be described as casual listeners while others are real music buffs their replies differ as well. Clearly, we didn’t bother those silence lovers for obvious reasons ;). Is dance/electro the most popular genre or Software Mind’s specialists have different tastes? Let’s cut to the chase and see what is being listened to when Software Mind works ?
Pola – Software Engineer
My go-to music for writing code are relaxation and concentration-inducing tunes. The calmer, steadier, and less engaging they are, the better. Those I stick to the most are close to white noise. If you feel the same way try Marconi Union – Weightless.
Rafal – Senior Software Engineer
To tell you the truth, to point out just one song that’s perfect to listen while programming is, in my opinion, a little senseless. I believe it would be more appropriate to point out the whole album or even the band that would make the development more enjoyable, allowing you to concentrate even harder on the work.
According to my preferences, the music has to be rather calm, relaxing, and most of all not too rhythmic, so maybe not very stimulating 😉
I have a few examples in mind that I could recommend, but I realize it’s music that is a little more difficult to perceive.
I listen to a lot of music, not only at work, so maybe I’ll just focus on what I’m recently into. It’s mainly ambient music performed by the precursor of this genre Brian Eno with records such as ‘Apollo’, ‘Music for Airports’, ‘Reflection’, or ‘The Ship’, as well as the American band Hammock or Icelandic Sigur Ros and Yagya. While working it also suits me to listen to electronic music in the broadest sense with artists like Boards Of Canada, Sync24, Aerosol, Tosca, Royksopp, and Sensible Soccer.
Of course, there are a lot of other bands that help me survive through the day at work. That includes also indie rock bands like Slowdive, Mogwai, Tama Impala, Beach House, Moon Duo, The War On The Drugs, or The Antlers. Believe me, I could write about it for a very long time, so let me finish here. ?
Mateusz – Senior Software Engineer
For the tasks that require the maximal concentration, I choose “May it be” by Enya from the Lord of the Rings soundtrack because it’s calm, delightful, and associated with a great movie. Not only I can recall different scenes from the LOTR while crafting code, but it also has a calming effect on me due to the fact it’s really subdued. That allows me to focus while dealing with even the hardest tasks. While doing slightly less complicated everyday work, when I have a lot of strength and energy, I often listen to Eric Clapton classic – Layla, because it helps me to relax in situations that don’t require 100% of my focus.
Rafał – Senior Software Engineer
At work, music is obligatory, it is indisputable. What kind of music? It depends, of course, on the mood, the type of task that has to be performed, and thousands of other factors. My headphones are usually playing metal ballads, punk rock, metal classics, or folk-rock when I need to cool down. Instead of consuming energy drinks, I recommend heavy metal and hard rock ?
Maciej – Software Engineer
While crafting code, I listen to different types of music, from rock to electronic music to even podcasts. But when I have to “turn off” the world around me, I turn on Nightcall by Kavinsky – a classic that helps me block out all distractions and focus on the problem I need to solve.
Magda – Senior Test Engineer
At work, I like listening to film scores mostly. Songs from Amélie, Gladiator, Untouchables, or Pirates of the Caribbean put me in a good mood and boost my motivation. At the same time, this type of music does not distract me from the task at hand and allows me to stay fully focused on what I’m doing.
Michał – Senior Software Engineer
For me, the music must help, not disturb, so it’s essential that the vocals are subtle or preferably the music is even instrumental. I listen to a lot of retrowave and synthwave every day, so also at work these genres dominate my headphones. This particular track is a blend of positive energy and powerful sound being at the same time subtle and even relaxing. So, it works for challenging coding, performing code reviews, or chatting with my colleagues.
Monika – Senior Software Engineer
I like working with a vocal deep house as a background, and when I’m very tired I switch to classical music 😉 I essentially choose whatever Youtube suggests – usually, these are a few hour-long compilations. The only requirement is a lack of or completely incomprehensible lyrics as in the mentioned deep house because I got distracted when something talks to me ;D.
Grzegorz – Senior Software Engineer
If I have to choose only one that would be “Der Wolfsmantel” by Rome. A calm but clear, distinct rhythm allows me to stay focused while working on the code. At the same time, the slightly elevated character of the melodic line creates a raised mood of striving for the goal and victory.
Katarzyna – Software Engineer
Listening to music while programming is surely something that accompanies me for a long time. What are my favourite songs? I can’t answer this question because it all depends on my mood and the task I’m doing in the given moment. When doubts and the so-called “powerlessness” creeps in, I reach for something stronger like rock music. System of A Down and Linkin Park works perfectly well for me since these give me the energy to act. When the task seems to be quite easy, pleasant, and I feel enthusiastic to work over it – I turn on the pop songs which are currently played on the radio. At this moment Dua Lipa and Lady Gaga can often be heard in my headphones. But when the work requires more concentration, then I prefer complete silence.
Jakub – DevOps
At work, I mostly listen to polish rap or hard types of EDM such as hardpsy or industrial hardcore.
Why? With rap, I slow down when I have to design or work out something complex, and this 160-bpm electro gives me the perfect pace whenever I need to deal with something fast.
Although the number of participants in the Hacker Rank study is bigger than in our material, the results have some similarities. Indeed, electronic music (in a very broad sense), rock/metal, and classical music (assuming film music is part of it) are the most common choices while working on software development. However, none of these genres dominate the rest, greatly illustrating that although our specialists have a lot in common, they are all different people, with different tastes, preferences, and characters who help us create not only the projects for our Clients but also great work environment in which everyone would feel welcome and comfortable.
About the authorSoftware Mind
Software Mind provides companies with autonomous development teams who manage software life cycles from ideation to release and beyond. For over 20 years we’ve been enriching organizations with the talent they need to boost scalability, drive dynamic growth and bring disruptive ideas to life. Our top-notch engineering teams combine ownership with leading technologies, including cloud, AI, data science and embedded software to accelerate digital transformations and boost software delivery. A culture that embraces openness, craves more and acts with respect enables our bold and passionate people to create evolutive solutions that support scale-ups, unicorns and enterprise-level companies around the world.