The number of children and adults diagnosed with autism has skyrocketed over the past 10 years. A recent CDC report estimates that 1 out of 88 U.S. children are on the autism spectrum, which includes conditions like Aspergers and other developmental disorders.
IDG's We Need More Autistics in Tech discusses how a small but growing number of tech firms are looking to hire those with autism spectrum conditions. Key quote on the reason:
In the logic, numbers-based world of software, Autistics can thrive Their maths-orientated, super-focused minds are less prone to distraction and incredible memory combined with a general intolerance for error means the work is often to a higher quality than other people’s.
People with autism spectrum conditions tend to have significant difficulties in social interaction and an inability to pick up on non-verbal signals and communications.
Anyone who has spent time in tech knows the industry is full of people fitting this description.
Asperger syndrome in particular seems to be common in tech, with many believing Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and other famous techies being "aspies".
Famous and successful people in other fields also believed to have autism spectrum disorders include Beethoven, Mozart, Michelangelo, Thomas Edison, Mark Twain, Charles Darwin and many others.
During my tech career I worked with and managed a number of people that likely had an autism spectrum disorder. They were some of the most important contributors at the firms I worked for.
It's good that the industry is recognizing the value these folks bring.