The best programmers are introverts


CW: Together with the University of Bremen, you examined how popular certain professional groups are when looking for a partner. Where do the computer scientists stand?

Christiane Schnabel: In general, it can be said that jobs with a high status are very much in demand when looking for a partner. We analyzed 80 occupational groups, computer scientists ended up in the middle of the field. In the popularity list, measured by the click rates of the profiles, men were ranked 21st, while the IT specialists came in 30th place. The fact that they are not further ahead is probably due to the clichés that many associate with IT specialists. You imagine someone who spends a lot of time on the computer and shows little initiative in the partnership.

CW: Your current study confirms that there is a real core to many clichés. What did you find out about the computer scientists this time?

Beak: Computer scientists are the most introverted professional group, both male and female IT professionals. By introverted we mean, for example, that someone processes perceptions primarily in dealing with themselves and only makes decisions after careful internal consideration. Introverts may initially appear apathetic or even aloof when they meet new people.

CW: What other personality traits do computer scientists show?

Beak: Computer scientists are not only the most introverted but also the most pragmatic professional group. Their actions are strongly oriented towards the benefit, and they can focus intensively on tasks. We also see an inhibition of contact, especially among male IT professionals. That means they find it rather difficult to approach other people and to get involved in new situations.

  1. The secret of small talk
    We'll tell you the most important rules for successful small talk so that you can communicate effortlessly.
  2. Take courage!
    Small talk usually only takes place among strangers. But even if you are afraid of it: a little chat is much easier than you think!
  3. The first impression
    Present yourself in a personable way, the first impression counts. But also see small talk as a warm-up phase. Especially with business partners from other cultures, it does not go down well if you fall straight into the house.
  4. Take yourself back
    This gives your counterpart space to talk and you often receive valuable initial information.
  5. Find common ground
    The best way to do this is to ask open-ended questions that express interest in the other person.
  6. Potential topics
    If you find it difficult to find suitable questions, simply relate to the environment or the occasion of the encounter. "How did you hear about this event?" or "What contact are you here today?" can be the prelude to a nice small talk.
  7. Warning, taboo zone!
    It becomes dangerous with topics of conversation that have a polarizing effect, such as politics or religion. If the other person has a different opinion than you, you will quickly fall into the trap. And beware of negative issues like delayed flights! Whining together rarely connects.
  8. Do not hold monologues!
    The effect on your audience is likely to be foreseeable.
  9. Listen actively and attentively.
    An occasional nod or "yes, yes" shows little interest or appreciation. Instead, really listen and recall information that the other person mentioned: "You said earlier that you ..."
  10. Maintain eye contact.
    Especially at a larger event, the temptation is great to let your eyes wander in order to miss as little as possible. That is rude to your current interlocutor! So keep eye contact.
  11. Many interlocutors
    The word 'SMALL Talk' describes it perfectly: larger events are about short conversations and getting to know each other. Take advantage of the opportunities by talking to many different people.
  12. End the conversation on a positive note.
    As already said, negative topics rarely connect and often leave a bland aftertaste. Instead, put a positive end to it. "I enjoyed our conversation a lot, I hope we can continue it later." can be a nice end if you mean it.
  13. Small talk is there for networking.
    Observing is fun, but also take the opportunity to establish relationships by actively looking for new people to talk to. So keep an eye out for groups that are open to each other or people who will allow you longer eye contact.
  14. Preparation is useful
    Conversations are often easier to come about if you have found out a bit about your host / customers in advance.

CW: Did you particularly notice a certain personality trait in the female computer scientists?

Beak: In addition to introversion and pragmatism, we observe a strong so-called animus among women in IT professions. This is a concept from depth psychology that assumes that we all have both feminine and masculine elements in us. Animus stands for the male parts, which are very pronounced in computer scientists. We found an even stronger masculine side in our analysis, for example, among women managing directors and female engineers.