Your onsite IT guru and Jack White may have more in common than you think. The life of a techie strikes familiar chord with those who are musically adept.
With a rhythmic predisposition to solve problems, the swelling clan of technology geniuses is finding an appropriate home in Music City. Eclectic cultural scenes tend to go hand in hand with rising technology clusters, like that of San Francisco and Austin. Now Nashville, the ancestral city of spirited musicians, is attracting a not-so-different type of artist, the modern techie.
At first glance, the corporate technology world of cufflinks and pinstripe suits seems like a far cry from the unconventional life of touring musicians, but the correlation between technology and music runs deep. Both are rarely black and white. Each requires the facility to create paths and solve problems without a map or a how-to guide. According to research by a director of the Institute of Professional Development in the School of Computer Systems at DePaul University, musical aptitude is one of the strongest predictors of success in a technical position.
Similarities between techies and musicians
There are numerous similarities between full-blown techies and rock stars. One common thread is the ability to recognize and manipulate patterns, a way of life for programmers and musicians. Another parallel is the way technical people think. Their spatial reasoning skills provide them with the ability to visualize. Like a musician composing a piece, the best programmers visualize their work before writing a single line of code.
Technology Review touts art’s ability to strengthen the muscle required for discernment and the sense of urgency to tackle a given problem, irreplaceable skills for tech engineers. Those who have had experience with music are usually quick thinkers and problem solvers. They can see the big picture and understand how everything fits together.
The spirit of artists
Technology is a familiar path for many musicians, like Reid Genuaeur, who is a singer, songwriter and top tech executive. He sees consistency in the very spirit of techies and musicians. An attitude he deems “anti-authoritarian” drives both worlds, the belief that a small number of people can have a massive impact on culture and society. With pressure to constantly innovate in both fields, people need a healthy dose of self-assurance and a resilient pride in what they do. In our own backyard, modern movers and shakers, revolutionaries and creators continue to weave technology into every aspect of society.
It’s safe to say that the techies of this age are ushering out the dated stereotype of a man with a tool belt tinkering with a clunky hard drive. It’s no longer the misunderstood fix-it guy, but the creators, programmers and problem solvers who are composing a new age for us all.
Focus on students
Technology is a field bright with opportunity, with 800-1,000 unfilled technology jobs in the region. Like all crafts, passionate mentors play a significant role in encouraging younger artists. As a city, we should focus on building up homegrown technology talent by introducing students to the vast orchestra of technology opportunities and supporting experimentation in the arts. Following in the footsteps of generations of parents who’ve pushed their kids to take piano lessons, I echo the promise that it will pay off in the end.
Music is close to home at Concept Technology. As a musician myself, I have a deep appreciation for artists, in and out of the office. Many of the engineers at Concept Technology are instrumentalists, composers or total music junkies. It’s one reason our culture is so cohesive. Many team members with musical aptitude have flourished in our fast-paced environment. It’s simple, as argued by Medical Daily: People who play music are better problem-solvers and multi-taskers.
The new technology age for Nashville isn’t so new after all. The city’s rich musical genes are choreographing a familiar tune of ambition, entertainment and innovation.
This post also appeared in The Tennessean, where Concept Technology has a bi-weekly feature in the Business section.