Reading Haruki Murakami
In What I talk about when I talk about running he starts to describe the most important qualities for being a novelist. Making me wander what I would consider the most important ones for programming.
He talks about talent, but I have a lack of belief in talent. I believe anyone can learn anything, and the only talent there is is in the form of genetics that mostly tend to apply to your body more than your mind or brain.
So I would have to choose “a want”. The most important quality for a programmer is wanting to solve problems with computers.
For a second quality, Haruki mentions focus. Sure, focus is important for a programmer. But all the focus in the world won’t prepare you for the onslaught of failure that is programming.
So “enjoying failure” would be my next important quality. Simply because as a developer, your program will fail more often than not. You will be so sure that everything is fine, that you would bet your first born, only to have it crash miserably during that presentation for your boss.
So if you want to solve problems using computers, and you enjoy it when you can’t solve those problems. Then you’ll fit right in 🙂