Owain is located in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is a .Net Developer at Spindogs, He’s a GitKraken Ambassador and Umbraco MVP. In his spare time, he enjoys going out for long runs and building Legos.
Coding can be a stressful occupation at times. Pending deadlines, stressful clients or a problem that you just can’t solve. Whatever the reason, listening to music can be a good stress buster and, for some developers, actually help improve their focus.
I’m very much a listen-to-music-while-coding kind of person. Even in my office, where I work alone, I can sometimes be found sitting, looking at my screens with headphones on. I do have speakers in my office but there is something about wearing headphones that really gets me in the zone.
Note: music and albums containing explicit content will be noted with an *
I find listening to music helps me focus, but I must admit I do listen to different types of music depending on what sort of work I am doing. I range from heavy metal to musical theatre in any given week!
Sometimes, if I need to improve my mood, maybe I’ve woken up grumpy or stressed – then a bit of *Rocky Horror Show or The Greatest Showman soundtracks can really perk me up.
If I need to focus on a more complex issue, I’ll turn to one of my long time favourite albums, *Youthanasia by Megadeth. I know the album inside out and I don’t need to think about the music, I can just focus on the problem. And if I am maybe working through a list of tedious tasks, then some *Acid House or Ibiza Summer soundtracks are ideal.
It really does depend on what mood I’m in or, more importantly, what mood I want to get into. The amazing thing these days is we literally have any sort of music we want, right at our fingertips. We have so many streaming options now we can listen to anything and everything we fancy!
I’m such a fan of listening to music while coding that every Friday I am the resident DJ at the agency I work for, Spindogs. I share a playlist with the company so that everyone can enjoy some new music on a Friday afternoon.
Coding is such a massive part of many developers’ workflow that Spotify has created a few “official” playlists. However, individuals have also put together some epic coding playlists and I’d like to share a mix of “official” and home grown playlists with you below.
Pre-Built Coding Playlists
There are a lot of pre-built coding playlists if you want to get started with a single click.
*Coding Playlist | Nearly all Instrumental:
A great playlist if you just want music. I know some people can get distracted if there are vocals. You spend more time singing along to the vocals than actually coding.
I really enjoy this playlist as it’s high energy and has a mix of drum and bass and club tunes. It’s a real contrast to the first playlist.
As I said above, I really enjoy a good musical soundtrack. There is something about them that is uplifting and it just puts you in a good mood. This reduces stress and hopefully allows you to code in a more relaxed manner.
The Greatest Showman:
The other thing that can help is gaming soundtracks. Music is such an important part of many games that it’s maybe not surprising that the soundtracks from these games are pretty good.
A games soundtrack can instantly take you back to your childhood memories and, again, reduce stress. Below are a couple of playlists that remind me of great gaming sessions.
Grand Turismo Vibes:
These are white and brown noise playlists. I don’t use them myself but I’ve heard from other developers who say that these playlists really help them concentrate.
From what I can tell, white noise tends to skew towards slightly higher pitches than brown noise, but both are said to have the same benefits: helping with concentration, reducing stress, and some people even go to sleep listening to these sorts of playlists!
Another option is to actually play some background sounds over the top of your usual playlist. I use https://coffitivity.com/ which allows you to play sounds such as a busy cafe or a murmur of people chatting in the background. I play it over the top of my own playlists and you can adjust the volume so that it’s more in the background.
Put Your Headphones on and Get Coding!
Whatever your music tastes, there is a playlist out there for you! Whether you code best listening to drum and bass or the low tones of brown noise, it’s important to find what works for you. Music is a very personal thing and one playlist that I love might be a playlist you hate! That’s ok, I won’t take it personally.
There are loads of options too for getting your hands on playlists. Spotify is obviously a popular service, but you can use Amazon Music, Apple Music, YouTube Music or any other music service that’s available. Find one that works for you.
I’d love to hear what playlists you listen to while coding. You can find me on https://www.twitter.com/scottishcoder or https://mastodon.scot/@scottishcoder.