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Dasun Sameera Weerasinghe
Dasun Sameera Weerasinghe

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IT Playground: Where ASD and Introversion Excel

In general, about 1% of people without Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) fall into the autism spectrum. However, within the IT industry, if we take a group of 100 people, 4 of them would have ASD. This means that the ASD population among IT workers is four times higher than in the general population.

It has been observed that many programmers are highly introverted, although an exact percentage is difficult to determine. If you want to advance in the IT industry, you need to study, read, and learn new things every day. These activities often take place outside of working hours, requiring you to spend more time staring at a screen than you might expect.

For an extrovert, this can be their worst nightmare. However, for introverts, it may not be a big problem. Yet, introverts still have desires beyond work. On the other hand, an extrovert might find this situation bit more intimidating. However, individuals with ASD often develop intense interests and obsessions. They may enthusiastically share their knowledge about a specific topic, such as dinosaurs, with anyone they meet as long as they are ready to listen. Therefore, if a person with ASD develops an interest in IT, it means they may excel while others lag behind.

Despite these advantages, individuals with ASD face certain challenges in the IT industry. Due to limited social and communication skills, their true potential often goes unrecognised. Convincing them to consider alternative perspectives or ideas can be difficult, as they tend to have firm beliefs. Additionally, individuals with ASD may struggle to effectively market themselves, leading to prolonged employment in the same position with low remuneration. It is worth noting, historical figures like Einstein faced similar challenges but were able to negotiate better salaries with the support of their partner.

However, these challenges should not discourage extroverts from pursuing a career in IT. Their social skills can be advantageous, allowing them to thrive and lead fulfilling lives in the industry. Extroverts are better at marketing them self. After all, a world with only introverts would be quite boring.

The characteristics that may be considered disadvantages in other fields actually work to the advantage of introverted and ASD individuals in IT, particularly in programming. That's why, in popular culture, the image of the best programmer or IT expert often depicts someone who prefers solitude and guards their workspace.

In the IT industry, introverts may be more prevalent, but there is still a significant presence of extroverts, accounting for approximately 40% of professionals (This is just an educated guess). This diverse mix of personalities and working styles contributes to the dynamic nature of the field.

In conclusion, the IT industry provides a playground where individuals with ASD and introverted tendencies can thrive. By embracing their strengths and unique perspectives, they can excel in this ever-evolving field.

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