We often refer to artists or writers as being creative, but the actual definition of creativity is:
“the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.”
So whilst artists and writers often gain their fame from writing something imaginative and unique, programmers also exhibit this skill, albeit in a slightly different way.
Traditionally it was thought that the left side of the brain was for logical thinking, and that the right side was for creativity. Following this logic, you would assume that developers were left-brained, and that designers were right-brained.
Unfortunately this way of slicing the brain has since been debunked – we all use our brain in equal measure and it’s down to other aspects of our personality that dictate how creative or logical we are. So following this rationale, developers can have a lot of creativity! Yet in their day-to-day lives, they probably don’t get to pursue creative outlets; of course there are exceptions, web developers can also double as web designers.
If we take a moment to step away from websites, and consider only the nitty-gritty backend developers (and to be cruel, let’s take away any change they may have of building the user interface for their system). Even in this dark, seemingly uncreative environment, creativity can shine. Whilst the code itself may be completely logical, to be able to split the client’s requirements into sections for programming requires a certain level of creativity.
Problem solving itself is a form of creativity, as you’re forced to discover new ideas to overcome obstacles. As developers, we can increase our creativity not only through artistic outlets, but through problem solving. One simple task you could do is that every time you come across a problem, consider three different solutions. This not only improves your problem-solving skills, but also provides you with a bank of solutions which you can pull from when you need to.
Ultimately having a creative outlet is so much more than creating an incredible piece of art, or writing a symphony; it allows you to see the world in a different way. It sparks your imagination and can open your eyes to different ways of figuring out issues.
“Creativity is the source to improvise solutions to problems for dominating complex systems such as software development.” Daniel Graziotin