Exploring the Role of Creativity in Software Engineering

01/04/2021 ∙ by Wouter Groeneveld, et al. ∙ 0

In order to solve today's complex problems in the world of software development, technical knowledge is no longer enough. Previous studies investigating and identifying non-technical skills of software engineers show that creative skills also play an important role in tackling difficult problems. However, creativity is typically a very vague concept to which everyone gives their own interpretation. Also, there is little research that focuses specifically on creativity in the field of software engineering. To better understand the role of creativity in this field, we conducted four focus groups, inviting 33 experts from four nationally and internationally renowned companies in total. This resulted in 399 minutes of transcripts, further coded into 39 sub-themes grouped into seven categories: technical knowledge, communication, constraints, critical thinking, curiosity, creative state of mind, and creative techniques. This study identifies the added value of creativity, which creative techniques are used, how creativity can be recognized, the reasons for being creative, and what environment is needed to facilitate creative work. Our ultimate goal is to use these findings to instill and further encourage the creative urge among undergraduate students in higher education.

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