Working and listening to music just seems like a logical choice, but what are your co-workers actually listening to? According to a survey of 90,000 software developers taken by Stack Overflow, 3.2% are listening to some form of metal. A data visualization chart shows some of the more popular genres are black metal and death metal, while Metallica are just straight up popular enough to warrant their own bubble.
Atlassian writer Sarah Goff-Dupont (by way of MetalSucks) decided to talk to her friend Rob about what metal he does and doesn't prefer while working. In short, black metal and High On Fire is good while doom metal generally sucks.
“If I know I’m going to be at a task for a long time, I’ll put black metal on. Especially if it’s something I’m a bit sad about doing. Like documentation. Black metal is emotionally evocative in a way that death metal isn’t. There are times when you’re coding and you sort of need that emotional awareness. Take writing tests, for example. You’re not only making sure your code works, you’re also leaving a trail for the next person. If you do it well, they’ll be able to come in cold and understand your code right away.
“I also put black metal on when I’m preparing for a meeting where I’ll need to do a lot of talking. Connecting with people is part of the deal if you want them to listen, and you have to be emotionally available in order to make that happen.”
“Don’t get me wrong. I love doom metal. But the vocals are pretty clean, and it’s usually based on a pentatonic scale like blues which makes it really melodic. It’s also slower with a lot more space between the notes because they tend to play behind the beat. So it’s easy to get distracted by it.”
“Except for High On Fire. They’re super high-energy with just insane riffs. The energy trumps everything. I can listen to that while I’m coding.”