CXO

Is there a place for creativity in IT?

The short answer to the question posed in that title is yes.

The answer to the question posed in the title is yes, and the more creative you are, the better your career will be. Actually, that holds true in just about any field, except perhaps finance. (In that case, you may richer due to creativity but, if there's a God, you may also be handcuffed one day and taken to the big house.)

But back to IT. Most people outside of IT probably have a certain image of a computer engineer — a very analytical, A equals A type of person. More than likely Bill Gates comes to mind. And Mr. Gates is inarguably successful.

But then you have success as defined by someone like Steve Jobs, whose death struck such a chord among the general public. He combined technical genius with creativity — he dreamed what could be and made it happen. Gates changed all our lives by making extraordinary tools and showing us how to use them. Jobs changed our lives by turning our dreams into tools.

But those are the big guys. Does creativity play a part in other aspects of IT? I wondered to myself if a developer, for example, would consider himself or herself creative.

I asked Jeremy Lwanga, a Senior Web Developer at CBSi, if he thought creativity played a role in his job. He said that was an interesting point of view. But then when he thought about it, he said that yes, "a good coder has to think of new ways to use old code" and that he strongly agrees that it plays a big part in one's IT career success.

So there is the analytical side of having a set of tools (the .NET framework, for example), but then there is the figuring out how to put the pieces together in new and interesting ways. It's like they all have the same "palette," but each coder has the opportunity to use the "colors" in a different way. If you have the talent to recognize and implement this, then you are going to be more successful.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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