I recently was introduced to a classic article by Paul Graham, “Hackers and Painters.” In it, he describes the link between hackers (in the traditional sense of the word) and artistic painters, linking the two by the very nature of creation of content. He argues that hacking requires elements of artistic sense in order to succeed at the task. This is evidenced by the use of terms like “beautiful code” or “good design taste.”

This is more true the higher up the ladder you go, especially on the technical side. There is a reason why technical leads evolve into “architects.” Like building architects, having artistic taste in the technical work is an important element of the job. How many times have you looked at software architecture and said “damn that is beautiful?” And how many times have you worked late at night trying to refactor a piece of code to your liking?

I think it’s always important to breed a diverse sense of perspective. You never know where you will get your inspiration from. Having an artistic hobby is even better as it will force you to continuously seek to make content, in better form, which will help make you a better hacker. So why don’t you go take a photography lesson, or attend a painting class?