Using Personality Traits to Understand the Influence of Personality on Computer Programming: An Empirical Study

Zahra Karimi (Department of Software Engineering, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran), Ahmad Baraani-Dastjerdi (Department of Software Engineering, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran), Naser Ghasem-Aghaee (Department of Software Engineering, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran) and Stefan Wagner (University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 48
EISBN13: 9781522533382|DOI: 10.4018/JCIT.2016010103
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Computer programming is complex and all personality factors might influence it. Personality factors are comprehensive but broad and, therefore, lower level traits may help understanding the influence of personality on computer programming. The objective of this paper is to extend the empirical knowledge in software psychology by using narrow personality traits as well as broad personality traits to explain the influence of personality. The authors surveyed 68 programming students developing software projects to investigate the influence of personality on performance in computer programming. They measured five broad personality factors, 17 personality facets, prior experience, attitude and self-assessed survey performance. They also used the grade students achieved in the software projects as an indicator of software quality. It was found that prior programming experience, attitude towards programming, academic performance, Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion and Agreeableness have a positive effect on performance in computer programming. However, one facet of Openness to Experience and facets of Neuroticism revealed negative effect. The authors found an indication that different aspects of personality factors have different influences on computer programming. Personality facets show larger effect than personality and help explaining the influence of personality. More studies are needed to strengthen the findings and clarify the situation.
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