Mark Loveless, aka Simple Nomad, is a researcher and hacker. He frequently speaks at security conferences around the globe, gets quoted in the press, and has a somewhat odd perspective on security in general.

Music and Programmers

Music and Programmers

Photo by  Wes Hicks  on  Unsplash

Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Like many of you, or at least those who code or are technical writers or security researchers, music becomes an important part of the creative process. During particular moments of my process I listen to certain types of music. As a metalhead, I mainly focus on the metal genre - case in point, I am writing up this blog entry listening to Giant of the Mountain (they kick serious ass, by the way).

But my main point for this Fun Friday post is to show what I believe is a 100% complete and totally scientific analysis of what programmers are listening to when they are coding in certain languages. I don’t cover all of the languages, partly because there are a LOT of them, and the GOTM album I was listening to finished up so I decided I was tired of typing. Just remember, this is totally not bias nor insulting in any way, just complete truthiness in its truthy truth glory. Anyway, on with the scientific results.

Assembler. Djent. Why do assembler programmers listen to djent while coding? Because it is complicated, there’s nothing else like it, and it has that stupid extra D in the name for no fucking reason.

Perl. Perl programmers only listen to Richard Wagner, specifically Der Ring des Nibelungen on a 15 hour loop. Sure, you might try point out to them that there are other Wagner operas, or even other composers of operas, but they will not only explain to you with detailed examples exactly how wrong you are, they will take (coincidentally) 15 hours to explain it.

Lisp. Coders of lisp are listening to classical music, because they think it is elegant, but only stuff written during the Baroque era, the Classical era, and part of the Romantic era. Really, anything before Stravinsky or even Berlioz. Nothing too modern.

BASIC. Well, mainly BASIC, but really any code where the programmer uses a GOTO statement. Those folks listen to Country, mainly Bro-Country, not the old school good stuff.

C. C programmers listen to one song in no particular genre, and when the song finishes they sit there in silence still coding with their noise-cancellation headphones on, for like hours and hours.

Python. Hip hop/rap. It’s modern and brash, like those crazy Python programmers themselves. And while they will never admit it outside of a Python User Group meeting, they secretly hate all other types of music AND all other programming languages.

Ruby. Hahaha! No one actually writes programs in Ruby!

Any web-based or web-associated language (HTML, CSS, JavaScript etc). Modern pop music is the favorite of these coders. Mainly stuff with that “millennial whoop” in it. If you turn on the radio and it sounds like you’ve heard it before when you actually haven’t, they listen to it.

Fortran. Four of the five total Fortran programmers left in the world listen to jazz. But not Larry. Larry sucks. He listens to smooth jazz, not real jazz.

Java. This language is also known as “cut and paste”, where Java programmers cut and paste error messages into Google, cut and paste something from the first page of results, and repeat this process until all of the error messages go away. As far as their listening habits go, Java programmers listen to recordings of other Java programmers weeping.

Go and Rust. Both Go and Rust coders listen to prog metal, usually a lot of Devin Townsend, and when they want to chill, it is Frank Zappa. I mean duh, this is so obvious.

PHP. Surprisingly PHP coders don’t listen to modern pop music. PHP coders will dance to glitch hop, and do it in sync to the movement of their height-adjustable standing desks. But they mainly listen to dubstep, and type PHP code fast enough to finish any coding project right as the bass drops - disregarding things like logic flow and of course security. How does one know this? You can tell.

The MEAN stack (MongoDB, ExpressJS, AngularJS and Node.js). Yes, this is a thing. MEAN programmers are writing basically everything in JavaScript, but this particular grouping of “languages” is as stupid as what the coders listen to. They listen to a combination of the following albums: “Lulu” by Lou Reed and Metallica, “Playing with Fire” by Kevin Federline, and “Chinese Democracy” by Guns N Roses - as well as a sprinkling of the following songs: “We Built This City” by Starship, “Barbie Girl” by Aqua, “Sussudio” by Phil Collins, “Achy Breaky” Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus, and “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice. And I am certainly not linking to those examples because that would be MEAN (get it?).

And that concludes the list. Sure, there are those of you that might argue with this actual straight up science, but if you don’t believe me, ask your QA department. They’ll verify. So will bug hunters. Or the entire CVE program. Truthiness!

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