Top 10 Advantages of ADHD In A High Tech Career

Macintosh 512k Computer

The first Mac I learned on, the Macintosh 512k. Who remembers disk swap elbow? Photo by Raneko


ADHD is an allergy to boredom. If we ADDers are interested in something, ADHD is generally not a problem. For those of us who like the online world, it’s rarely boring.

I have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (which I find is often more of a surplus usually). I’ve been coaching adults with ADHD since 2003, have an ADHD resource website with over 180 pages of information, 400+ posts on my first blog and a second blog too, and started and lead an adult ADD Support Group. So, I’m fairly familiar with ADHD.

I’ve been using Mac computers since 1985, sold them for 7 years, spent tens of thousands of hours on the net. So, I’m fairly familiar with the high tech world.

I’ve noticed there are many similarities between the two worlds.

I believe there are many people who work in the high tech industry who have ADHD, much more than the average of the population. Approximately 5% of the population has ADD and 90% of adults with ADHD don’t know they have it. It seems to me ADHD and the technology industry is a natural fit.

The constant change of the high tech world can be stressful and troubling for some people but it’s often stimulating and energizing for the ADDer. A great source of Dopamine hits. Although there are no specific statistics, several other ADD experts I’ve talked to agree with my observation.

Many people only see the many problems associated with ADHD and buy into the media and societal ignorance and stigma on it, viewing it just as a weakness, and don’t know about the strengths of ADHD. Some need to be on their 20th job or 3rd spouse before they’re willing to seek a diagnosis for ADHD.

So here are some advantages of having ADHD in the wired world to help people in the industry recognize and develop their ADHD related strengths as well as managing their ADHD challenges.

I also hope this might help those who may be afraid of getting diagnosed and treated (medication, Adult ADHD coaching, therapy etc.) for ADHD because of the negative stigma promoted by the people that condemn ADHD as a moral failure.

I.e., “there’s no such thing as ADHD, turn off the TV, stop eating sugar, beat your kid more often, and twirl around 3 times and tap your heels and it will magically go away” flat earthers. ADHD is an inherited neurobiological condition. Every medical and psychological association has stated this.

As more people realize the advantages of having ADHD, they will be more inclined to seek diagnosis and treatment. Some people believe ADHD is related to IQ, the idea that all ADD’ers are slow learners or below average IQ, wrong.

I have ADHD and I made the Dean’s Honours list and many Ph.D.’s have it. MENSA has an ADD special interest group with 600+ members. It comes down to a difference in brain wiring, and in some fields (high tech, marketing, artists, the media, entrepreneurs) the unique wiring of the ADD brain is a competitive advantage.

Top Ten ADHD Advantages in a High Tech Career.

1. The Ability to Hyperfocus.

Hours of full engagement and concentration in a task, IF you find it interesting. You can get into the zone and be totally immersed in what you’re doing while the outside world disappears. When I went on the net for the first time in 1993 at an Internet cafe I got on the machine at 8 pm and around 4 am decided it was time to go home.

2. Rapid Fire Mind.

Your brain processes information at hyperspeed. You can do things in 30 minutes on a computer that might take other people’s hours. The downside is, if you’re stuck with an old machine and not enough RAM you’ll be frustrated cause it can’t keep up with the speed of your brain.

3. Multitasking at Will.

Able to run 14 apps at a time and effortlessly switch between each without breaking a sweat. Able to do several projects at a time with ease.

4. High Energy Level.

You’re able to keep going on a project (if it’s interesting, ADDers are more into creative and entrepreneurial activities than clerical and repetitive ones). 14-hour days? No problem. Adrenaline is my fuel source:)

5. Highly Creative.

Able to think beyond the idea of a box. This comes naturally for ADDers, while others pay thousands of dollars to try and learn this. Since you take in more information than the average person, and you’re easily distractible, you’re more likely to view a problem from many different angles than vanilla people (non ADDers), and therefore come up with more possible solutions to a problem. Need an idea generator? Find an ADDer.

6. Quick Learner.

IF it’s something you’re interested in. ADHD is mainly a condition of boredom; you have no trouble paying attention to something if it’s interesting. Most people find it difficult to do boring or repetitive things but these can often totally shut an ADDer down.

Your rapid-fire brain + highly creative mind + the ability to hyperfocus equals fast absorption of new information quickly. Dr. Ed Hallowell, who has ADHD and has written several Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder, said he stopped teaching Psychiatry at Harvard University because the non-ADDer’s brains were just too slow and they took so long to get it. He got tired of being continually frustrated waiting for them to catch up to the ADHD students.

7. Stimulus Seeking Brain.

A perfect match for the wired world, an understimulated brain and an overstimulated virtual environment. Being an info junkie can be a good thing. Well, not always:)

8. Constantly Scanning your Environment.

Allows you to notice more and find information and resource that others miss. Also allows you to see possible problems before they arise, and opportunities that others may not see because they have tunnel vision vs. multiplex vision. An ADDer invented the electronic ticket.

9. Great in a Crisis.

High energy intense situation? Lots of chaos and change? Sign me up; I thrive on stimulation, change and chaos. We can create order from chaos effortlessly. We can also create chaos as well if needed.

10. Risk Taker.

Impulsivity means you’re more willing to take risks and have a bias for action, act now while the opportunity is hot instead of getting into analysis paralysis. Many entrepreneurs have ADD i.e. Paul Orfalea who founded Kinko’s, JetBlue Founder and CEO David Neeleman who attributes his creativity to ADD. Both are Billionaires. Imagine how successful a high tech CEO would be if they didn’t take many risks.

These are just a start of the advantages of ADHD, for more go to the list of 151 positive characteristics of people with ADHD at my ADHD Resource website.

This is not to say there are no disadvantages or real problems associated with ADDers in a high tech career, there most certainly are, and if you don’t learn to manage them (see Top ten ways to manage Adult ADHD), they can a great deal of trouble and grief to various aspects of your business, social and personal life (and those around you).

That’s when you might consider working with an adult ADHD coach. You don’t want to wait until your on your 20th job or 3rd spouse before you start thinking, “hey, maybe they’re right, I do have some problems I need to deal with”.

If you have or think you have ADHD and work in a high tech career, what are your ADHD competitive advantages?

182 thoughts on “Top 10 Advantages of ADHD In A High Tech Career”

  1. Found this great article from The whole thing describes me to a “T”! Do I really have ADD? Is there an online test I can take somewhere to find out? I am going to start looking in to this issue now – thanks!

  2. Pete, I have to admit that I have ADD and I fully support what you say in this article because it’s just the truth. I’m in the IT industry and can do so much with ADD, while I find my friends slowing down with information overload. I try to show them pointers and give helpful advice on how an ADD thinks and stimulate their minds. Being a person with ADD does have its advantage and I’m glad article highlights ten definite benefits.

  3. Thanks for this! I can attach this to my resume and no longer have to hide from it!

  4. I would think ADD would be more detrimental than it is helpful.

    Sure you get those days where everything just clicks…but I believe you get MUCH MORE days where you are bored out of your mind and can’t focus on anything!

  5. Plus we can get the wonderful orange sunshine, Adderall, which turns us into the UberMensch as long as it’s running… but oh what a terrible crash.

  6. Glad you liked it Anthony. You might want to take the Harvard Adult ADHD Screener test, takes only 5 minutes, I have it on my ADD Resource website here

    Josue thanks for the backup. It is important to recognize the benefits of having ADD not just the disadvantages

    But to really know you need a medical diagnosis from a doctor psychologist or psychiatrist.

  7. Everyone tells me I have ADD, but I think of it as a blessing rather than a curse. I have always excelled on computers because they can keep up with me. I find that in other situations the world is just too slow. People don’t realize that I can keep up with 10 things at once. This is unconceivable to them, but to me this is the benefit of ADD (i dont believe in ADD, so I use the term loosely) Its nice to see that other people feel free by using computers as well. Great article.

  8. Wow. I have for myself noticed the fact that the internet and the fast changing world is a natural fit for me while I had tremendous difficulty getting through university. I never diagnosed myself as ADD and I still don’t know whether I should, but the similarities are striking.

  9. I think I might have ADD. What kind of blood tests do I need to determine if this neurobiological condition is present in me?

  10. Who is WB1EA and why are his/her call-letters plugged into every comment? They’re not in the QRZ.COM database; is he a Silent Key?

    Oh. Yeah. Hi. The list sounds pretty accurate as the plus-side for “not living up to his potential” which I grew up with (but then, I’m HS Class of ’67, and that was what they called ADD back then — ‘self-medicated’ for me means ‘coffee: straight, strong and black’).

    There’s another ADD-associated trait I’ve noticed in myself and my sons; I’m curious whether others have noticed it. It’s a high receptivity to others’ thoughts and emotions (yes, I know some call that telepathy or empathy, as if you could exclusively assign one or the other on a roll of the game-dice). On the plus side, it means being able to ‘synergize’, to work in sync with selected others to the point of generating tasklists from their nonverbal (and even non-present) inferences, finishing their sentences, and singing in exact synchrony with them. On the minus side, it means being vulnerable to others’ loose thoughts and opinions, to the point where sometimes you HAVE to switch tasks because the attention the other person is focusing on the current task you’re doing is so LOUD that you can’t reliably find your fingers (and forget it if they’ve decided that you can’t do the job, because that’s a difficult command to overcome once it’s imported, regardless of your skillset and expertise). Are any of you like that? Do you get badly rattled and distracted from what you’re doing by somebody unexpectedly staring at your back?

  11. Guys (and gals), everyone here is falling into the trap of unscientific thinking. There is nothing in here that implies a cause and effect situation. Just because these attributes may be common to people with ADD, it doesn’t mean that people without ADD also have these traits and are in the IT field.

    You have to have controlled experiments to be able to say whether success in the IT field is anyway correlated with whether you have ADD or not.

  12. I have to agrgee with Dylan, ive never even thought about add as anyhting other than “some condition -other- people have.” But readiung this and reading your 5 minute test really rings some bells. Love the article!

  13. Having been diagnosed with ADD about two years ago, a lot of what you wrote in the article has rang true for me. Thanks for sharing it. I’m the creative director for a web development company, and the web is a perfect fit for me. Without medication, I’m not able to stay on task or stay focused. I hope this article encourages those that might have it, or have symptoms of ADD to see a doctor/psychologist for diagnosis.

  14. It is unfortunate that the disorder is considered a Defecit. I agree that with a little self-awareness someone with ADD can turn this into a strength.

    Alternate acronym: Hyper-Attention Syndrome – this wording suggests that it is an affliction, but does not have as much of a negative connotation.

  15. Jim Jablonski

    I have an Uncle with ADD. I found this article both fascinating and enlightening.

    Thank you

  16. Mantari Damacy

    I’ve been tapering off, but this partially explains why I’m wanting to quit my ADD medicine. My creativity just wasn’t as high, and I felt like my mind was more ‘thinking inside the box’. I was, however, able to get some of my more boring work done.

  17. All of you who may have ADD there is something important to understand: While there may be benefits as one person put it “when everything just clicks”, there is in fact more benefit to having it treated.

    I have dealt with the effects of ADD for the better part of 28 years. Two years ago, I was prescribed Strattera. Since then, I have put all of that “multi-threading, hyper intellectual” power my ADD brain has and generated focus from it.

  18. I most likely have ADD and while you are right there are some positives it not all the bees knees. Sometimes repetitve tasks that come along with my tech job make my brain melt. Also reading some tech heavy books to learn something new can often be a challenge. I almost have to just do it, rather than reading. This takes more time for me to learn, but I also think after I’m done, I know it better than others.

    I’ve recently moved more into the creative side of the tech world becoming a creative director. ADDers like me excel in deadline driven work. Co-workers at the end of a deadline are often saying things like, “Stand back, here he goes again.”

    Very good blog post…

    Question: How do you think the best way to get diagnosed for something like ADD is? What kind of doctor does one talk to about this?

  19. blood tests don’t diagnose ADD you need a medical diagnosis from a doctor psychologist or psychiatrist who knows ADD.

    WB1EA is a problem in my wordpress template that happened when i’ve changed the background color of the comment section of my theme. I’ve tried to get rid of it but haven’t been able to do so. I’ve posted on wordpress support forums but have had no response yet.

    ADDers are often very intuitive. many of us (not all) can pick up on other peoples emotions, a kind of hypersensitivity. some ADDers are just very sensitive to their surrounding and not others some are both. Active, not passive meditation can help.

  20. It’s rather humorous that the vast majority of the highlighted points of ADD in this article fit me and yet I have fantastic mental focus and attention to topic and detail for extended periods of time. What’s funnier is that if I were born a few years later, I would be the AD(H)D poster child of the universe, but back then, I was just weird and nothing more was said about it. Certainly nothing medical anyway (^_-)

    While those with ADD may have a leg up on these traits over their Attention Disordered bretheren, it’s not inconceivable for someone to exhibit the same or similar traits by simply have an active interest in many fields. The reasonable people my age (23) don’t refer to these traits as ADD or any other pseudo-neurological jibber jabber. We call it multi-tasking.

    It’s just a simple fact that those prone to multi-tasking are more prone to being distracted by other tasks. Simple excercises in mental focus allow anyone to keep a sharp mind on any one task at length while reverting back to what’s really fun at a whim. I’m proof of that. (^_^)V

  21. See, all I read were the headers and that was enough information for me, great post. 😉

  22. Right on Pete! I have two part-time jobs in IT. One as a PeopleSoft Upgrade Analyst (tends to be very tedious UNLESS were in the midst of an upgrade which isn’t often enough) and another building Blackboard (Bb) courses and doing Bb marketing to our faculty and staff which is heavy on the High Creative side. What you said in your article resonates with what I experience at work in my two different functions. And depending on what aspect of my job I’m doing I seem to either be a top notch performer or struggling to keep awake. I especially agree with your examples of Hyper focusing I realize that I do my best at work when I’m under pressure and highly engaged, 14 hours pass like its only been one and I’m all of sudden just too hungry to keep going or feel I ought stop because “oops, it’s been 12 hours.” I do in fact have four computers running autonomously linked together with four monitors linked with multiplicity so I can seamlessly switch between them (it’s for upgrades) but it’s almost not enough and I won’t even ever touch an old machine that doesn’t have enough RAM because it IS too frustrating. I am a scanning addict. One of my favorite things to do is fly airplanes and helicopters. As a pilot one of the most intense things you can do flying is fly instrument approaches. When you’re coming in to land flying by your flight instruments alone in bad weather there is SO much going on its crazy and I love it. You’re flying the airplane, talking and listening to air traffic control, adjusting engine settings, flaps, radios, navigation, monitoring altitude, airspeed, course headings, time, reading approach charts and constantly doing 10 things at a time without end. Oh and don’t forget landing gear…I really can’t put into words how much insane fun it is! I love your take on the ADVANTAGES of ADD. I hope I have it…actually I think I do.

  23. ok… ADD doesn’t mean that you will have the energy to work on stuff, i think you’re getting ADHD and ADD mixed up.

  24. Lately I have been hearing people use “ADD” as a synonym for the ability to multitask. But an official ADHD diagnosis includes “clinically significant distress or impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.” That’s not to say that ADHDers don’t have strengths, but this kind of rah-rah for ADHD propaganda confuses the issue. Chaotic and unstable work histories are way more common in ADHDers than great successes — that’s a major reason why I went into treatment (and I do WAY better with my work in IT now that my symptoms are more under control).

  25. Petra Pettigrew

    This would explain why my husband used to prefer “computer time” over “family time.” I used to get so jealous of the computer! I just couldn’t wrap my mind around his preference for the computer. He is doing so much better now with counseling. However, once in awhile things get crazy. Oh my, he is so smart!!! He just amazes me with all his extensive knowledge, and his great thinking processes. However, I do consider him to be more laid-back than I by far. We complement eachother very well.
    He found this website, and I will be researching to learn more about my husband. Who also, has a career in IT, but also loved cooking in the fast-paced reataurant scene.

  26. Petra Pettigrew

    The people that say they have ADD and are very energetic, are they on meds? I do not find my husband to be very energetic at all. I am way more energetic than him by far. He does sleep less than me in general. I require 8-9 hours, to keep up with our two young children all day.

  27. Petra Pettigrew

    One more question… those of you on medication or the spouses of, do you find a change in personality that does not sit well with you?
    I found with my husband on Adderall XR, his personality changed to my dislike.

  28. Becky Clifford

    My husband (an IT-man) sent this to me because it so adequately describes him. I, however, am a 1st grade teacher and your article has given me a whole new vision of how to teach and utilize the skills that my mini-ADDers have. How great to have such a refreshing view of something that has such a negative stigma.
    Thanks for the insight!
    ~Becky Clifford

  29. “WB1EA is a problem in my wordpress template that happened when i’ve changed the background color of the comment section of my theme. I’ve tried to get rid of it but haven’t been able to do so. I’ve posted on wordpress support forums but have had no response yet.”

    Looking at the page-source in Mozilla, and at /wp-content/themes/default/comments-popup.php, line 46, in wordpress-2.0.1.tar.gz, it would appear that you mistakenly altered a character-entity (composed of a sequence of: ampersand, hash, two-to-four-digit decimal number, semicolon), thinking it to be a color-code (hash, red-octet, green-octet, blue-octet). The ‘W’ is the truncated character-entity which remains (ampersand, hash, 87); the ‘B1EA’ characters are probably the green and blue values you put in there, with the ‘B’ causing the browser to stop parsing the character-entity because it’s non-decimal. Fix that line and you’ll probably stop blaming a perfectly innocent (and apparently nonexistent) radio amateur 🙂

    Too bad WordPress doesn’t have a Preview button — I’d really like to be able to check this comment, and tweak as required, in case it censors out or mangles the non-alphanumerics to deter cross-site script exploiting, before posting.

  30. William Gardenhire

    I read this article on Lockergnome and, since the 10 advantages describe me to a T, I linked here and took the screening test. According to the test, I don’t have ADD/ADHD, from what I noticed in some of the posts, I fit even more of the ‘symptoms’, so what gives? The only unusual thing I know about me is that my IQ is 157.

  31. Good post. Glad to see you were able to put a positive “spin” (for lack of a better word) on ADD. Two of my sons also have it, and traditional schooling environments typically label such kids as hard to manage, etc. The younger one is now doing a homeschool hybrid thing and is finally doing well academically.

    Interesting that you should cite Paul Orfalea (pronounced “ORF-a-luh” BTW). I used to work for Kinko’s corporate as one of their last full-time Mac programmers in the early ’90’s. He was one of the first to “get” Desktop Publishing back when it was new and experimental. I probably only talked with him maybe a dozen times, but he is one of the creative geniuses I’ve known in my life that stand out (and I’ve known a few – not dropping any names…).

  32. ADD is great in a sales environment, it is very easy for me to tune into who has a strong need, service them quickly and close the deal.

    Awesome idea for a web site.

  33. Good article. I have always known I have a different mind than everyone else. I tend to over analyse things, especially with computers, which can be a benefit but not good for time and schedules. I think there is a classification for people with ADD that excel in Math and not in English. I also notice I have good spacial recognition and visual memeory. I realize I have better conceptual thought than others. I also have to plug how much greater the Mac interface is or my ADD and visual mind.

  34. I have medicated ADD and that describes me exactly some days I just sit there and code hour after hour. Great Article!

  35. and, btw, all ‘usual’ ADD/HD meds only put me to *sleep*. (80mg of dextroamphetamine and i’m snoozing . . . ?!) So i can’t take those meds. i’ve yet to figure out what people who can mean by the difference they feel within when they find the right med(s).

    h’m — point of fact, nearly every anti-depressant i’ve ever been prescribed, whether for psych or migraine treatment, puts me to sleep. (Wellbutrin/buproprion gives me a constant migraine.)

    Ah! And all those advantages are worth diddly/squat if your lead and/or supervisors do not believe in it. They may set up a 504/accomodations with you, but if they don’t *accept* that it exists or that you have it, it won’t help much. Word to the wise.

  36. Great article! I, like so many mothers, took my son in for possible ADD and found out I had it. I decided to not medicate my child (until he’s older, if he needs it)but I have been having great success with behavior and medical treatments. I am a full time writer – sort of the same type of work as Hi Tech – always on the computer. Yes, I can sit here with my lap top for hours!

    Also, a quick thing to add – my husband has ADD, too and we were both in the military. I think a LOT of military people have ADD – high energy, exciting job and we love the strict routines. Just IMHO.

    I will bookmark this site and your others – great reference. Thanks!


  37. As a person with both ADD and OCD I can tell you that to a degree the article is correct. As a coder, it can be advantageous. However, once you enter management and are no longer a coder, the ADD can become a real hinderance. Unlike coders, managers have to stay focused longer on tasks that are possibly not very interesting. This makes follow through and completion somewhat challenging.

    I was always multi-tasking when I was a coder. I would get bored with a task and move on to something else and eventually circle back around. This approach works well within a matrix or other such type of organization in which resources are shared among projects. The reputation as a super-coder was a nice side benefit.

    Now, as a manager, I find that I often have no other task or item to which I can turn when I am bored with my current task. Sitting in project meetings, conversing with CEOs and other execs, status reports, and so on. Not being able to focus on these long term tasks makes it difficult to be the best manager I can be. I typically try to assign myself some coding tasks on each project in order to help me cope; however, I am not always able to do that due to budget constraints and so forth.

    In summary, in the short run early stage of a coder’s career ADD and to a degree OCD can be beneficial. However as the career transitions from short term task oriented work to long term goal oriented work, ADD and OCD become more of a liability than an asset.

  38. I love it, now i know why i get in trouble at school for not reading a book because i hate it and there is no action. I love this article and will print out to show my parents. you should make this very poplular because i think people should know this stuff and that it can help them because they will know what makes them, THEM!!!

  39. Wow, I am not alone. Everyone tells me I have ADD, and I tell them that my brain simply works faster than theirs.
    I am a web designer/coder. Right now I have FTP open, Photoshop open (with 11 documents), IE has 10 pages loaded, Firefox has 5, Surfofflins is spidering a website for an offline .zip file I am making, Winamp is playing, I have 3 folders on my HD open, as well as 12 notepad documents and 11 dreamweaver documents. Multi-tasking is no problem, getting everything finished on time is. I check every scrap of code hundreds of times for security flaws, design, well-formedness etc.
    Managing the quirks of my brain has been a lifelong challenge. I got in so much trouble at school trying to stay entertained. While the other kids were struggling to make sense of the lecture, I had already understood the rambling (having heard it before) I had analyzed all the people in the room, noticed all the chips in paint, observed the weather, drew a picture of the tree outside, and started hitting on the girl next to me. Then I get detention or suspension and pass the test while most kids failed it while paying attention and not understanding. The school system needs to seperate fast learners from slow learners. We are not all equal in any sense.

  40. Willie, ADD can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you manage it. There definitely are disadvantages to it, no doubt, but most of those are very well known. What I’ve tried to do in the post is to show some real practical advantages of having ADD, to balance the equation. To many people just see the negatives in having ADD and many avoid diagnosis and treatment because of the ignorant stigma of others.

    Matthew, thats why I think many ADDers gravitate to high tech careers, low boredom threshold and the need to be in an enviornment to keep up to our fast pace brains.

    So Steve are you volunteering to do the double blind studies?

    Chris, I hope so too, thats one of the main reasons I wrote it. Pass the word around.

    Another acronymn I use is attention surplus condition, we don’t have a deficit of attention, we have too much of it.

    Mantari, you may just need to adjust the dose of your ADD meds or switch meds, sometimes that’s all you need.

  41. Empathy, intuitive, emotionally receptive ADD… Check out Ten most common traits of “Indigo Children and Adults.”

    They come into the world with a feeling of royalty (and act like one).

    They have a feeling of “deserving to be here,” and are surprised when others don’t share that.

    Self-worth is not a big issue. They often tell the parents “who they are.”

    They have difficulty with absolute authority (authority without explanation or choice).

    They simply will not do certain things; for example, waiting in line is difficult for them.

    They get frustrated with systems that are ritual-oriented and don’t require creative thought.

    They often see better ways of doing things, both at home and in school, which makes them seem like “system busters” (nonconforming to any system).

    They seem antisocial unless they are with their own kind. If there are no others of like consciousness around them, they often turn inward; feeling like no other human understands them. School is often extremely difficult for them socially.

    They will not respond to “guilt” discipline (“Wait till your father gets home and finds out what you did”).

    They are not shy in letting you know what they need.

    An Indigo Child is usually an individual with the following characteristics: (THE CARE AND FEEDING OF INDIGO CHILDREN – Doreen Virtue)


    Born in 1978 or later


    Creative, with an artistic flair for music, jewellery making, poetry, ETC.

    Prone to addictions

    An “old soul” as if they’re 13, going on 43

    Intuitive or psychic, possibly with a history of seeing angels or deceased people.

    An isolationist, either through aggressive acting out, or through fragile introversion

    Independent and proud, even if they’re constantly asking you for money

    Possesses a deep desire to help the world in a big way

    Wavers between low self-esteem and grandiosity

    Bores easily

    Has probably been diagnosed as having ADD or ADHD

    Prone to insomnia, restless sleep, nightmares, or difficulty/fear of falling asleep

    Has a history of depression or even suicidal thoughts or attempts

    Looks for real, deep, and lasting friendships

    Easily bonds with plants or animals.

    These are my own observations, based on the completed questionnaires.

    1. They prefer individual sport, if enjoying sport at all

    They bond profoundly with the opposite parent, a son with his mother, a daughter with her father.

    They prefer the company of older or much younger (children) people, to their peers.

    They have deep, lasting friendships with the opposite gender. Their own gender often makes them feel insecure and misunderstood.

    They have a profound “world of their own”, which is either created in the mind, through music, art, fantasy or the computer.

    Their emotional intelligence is much more developed as long as they are calm, relaxed and sure of themselves.

    They have a very strong connection with the spiritual world; some see auras, angels, guides or energy.

    They “pick up” everyone’s emotion and often this causes them great confusion not knowing who’s “stuff” they are dealing with, their own, their parents or others in their space.

    They “tune in” to Universal Law, not our Social laws.

    They have a very profound connection with the spiritual realm, moving in and out of this realm, comes as easy as breathing. Often they are not aware that others don’t experience life in the same way.

  42. I wanted to say how grateful I am for your article of the top 10 advantages of ADD in a High Tech Career. It was passed unto me by a friend and I was very quick to share it with my husband (adder) and my son who is 15 is a classic ADHD. Not only is it very comforting, but it was very encouraging. I have 3 children… 2 sons who have both been diagnosed with ADD. The oldest who is 15 fits your description to a “T” and sadly both boys are doing miserably in the school system. They are always bored, completely unorganized and hopeless at fulfilling tasks on time. They end up failing mostly because of these issues than it being a question of intelect. It seems that we are constantly trying to make them “fit” because if they don´t they are branded for life! I find the emotional side of ADHD to be the most problematic while growing up as they seem unable to balance the emotional with their intelectual capacities and get lost. The comments of wellmeaning teachers with little knowledge or paticence to the “non conformist students” can utterly damage the self esteem and hence the future success of these children. Sadly my experience has been exactly that due mostly to the “this is just a question of lack of discipline and not a “real sickness” approach.

    My real question is how do I get the boys through school so that they can get into the job that would be the most adequate for them if they constantly flunk?

  43. Thanks Ally, you might try looking at my Teaching Students Who Have ADD section of my website, it has Links to 34 Articles & Ebooks

    You may also want to get the boys dreaming to find out what kind of career they’d like. Then (depending on age) get them to research what they need to do to get there, most cases that involes completing high school. Boys need a reason to do things. That might be one.

  44. Pete,

    When I read this post in November 2006 and I cried with joy. It was completely me. This was the first time I’d read something that lined up all my strengths in a positive way. For all the things on this list; people had told I was doing things “wrong” and gave me extra dull tasks to “help” me. I can see they were misguided and that I have a special and rare gift. Attempts to have me conform to what others thought failed because that was just not me. It also explains why I’ve been extremely successful as an entrepreneur. I went out on my own in June of 2006 and haven’t looked back once!

    Awesome article, I look forward to having you as my coach this spring!

  45. The thing about ADD and working in a technological field is that you need to have a fresh supply of coffee. I find that with out coffee, my attention span is very short and I too easily end up surfing the net instead of working.

  46. About half of these top 10 apply to me and the other half and are the exact opposite. (I’m not impulsive, I study things to death, I’m nitpickingly detail-oriented, I hate overstimulation, avoid violent movies like the plague, and spend most of my time in silence. I even walk out of stores before I’ve finished if it’s too noisy.)

    I was diagnosed by an expert in Tourette Syndrome at a Harvard teaching hospital. Maybe I should get re-diagnosed. I’ve heard that sometimes a mild form of autism can be confused with ADD.

    I have the IQ of a baked potato, and that’s without the sour cream, but somehow I managed to get a degree and a key.

    Also 2 important points:

    – Some doctors can be stubbornly ignorant. Don’t see a primary care physician for something that requires a psychiatrist. They’re simply not qualified to diagnose ADD.

    – ADDers are not good at multi-tasking. No one is. It is a common delusion. This has been studied many times. Even people who think that they’re good at multi-tasking perform MUCH worse than if they handled each task exclusively and sequentially.

  47. ADDvantages can help you in many areas of life. It is just a case of restructuring what you do, to make it more appealing to your learning style. For example, I’m at college and rather that read a text book in my head, then try to remember it. I read out loud and record it on a dictaphone, that way I can listen back and jot down the important information. So if you listen better than you read, that could work for you. Either way, you will find your own way to use your gift, if you stick at it.

  48. Oh and can I just reiterate, ADD is a gift. Yes it does have disadvantages but what doesn’t. The ‘normal’ kid in school will have weaknesses too. However, these will probably fall under our strengths. Such as creativity and so on…
    p.s. the comment about multi-tasking being a myth is partly right, the ability to multitask well only really works when the tasks are related to the same end goal.
    By the way if you like my way of thinking, check out -

    Chad –

  49. Add is a double edge sword, always known my brain was wired different, hard to deveolop interpersonal skills with “slow brains”, most people when they talk bore me and takes them way to long to get to points. So ADD good and bad, need skills to turn it on and off or it can drive slower minds nuts. (Which is after all pretty much everyone)

  50. This does NOT sound like ADD to me. Very little of it, anyway. I have both Adult ADD and a PhD in Psychology. Read the clinical literature for a more accurate portrayal. Thanks.

  51. I’m wondering if there’s an overlap in symptoms between true ADD people and very creative very intelligent people who might not be ADD but who are confined to roles lacking in creativity and intelligence. The colleagues may well be friendly, well-meaning, and smart — it’s then even more frustrating when they say interesting things but just don’t “get” fairly obvious consequences, when everything has to be spelled out (and they still don’t get it).

  52. Thanks for the encouraging tips info I’m
    sitting in front of job ctr depressed. Feeling more hopeful now!

  53. Are there any researched structural changes in CT/MRI brain or EEG of an Adult ADD ?
    Well done and Many Thanks

  54. 47 seven old now and having ADD all my life killed me in school. I could not focus on the learning process to save my life. No help from my family to find additional assistance they just let it go. Therefore I was at deficit from the beginning. I now take Strattera and have had to learn what I missed in school as an adult and it has made it difficult to keep up with many college grads (not all). I have been in high tech now for 17 years and do have many of the advantages spoke of in this article so I do see the benefits. But I can say, given the option, I’d rather have a long attention span when necessary not just when I find something interesting. I guess all cases are not alike.

  55. @ Rich
    The DSM is by all means is not the people’s bible. There has been many corrections during its existence, and mark my words, there will be many more in its future. Psychology is a concept of merely speculating human behaviors and generalizing them into categories with names such as “ADHD” or “BiPolar Disorder.” To say the clinical literature is a “more accurate portrayal” seems a little too concrete to me. If you have ADHD, you should understand that there is no such thing as a black and white circumstance or case. Besides that, I would appreciate seeing the contradictions you have identified with cited clinical literature.

  56. Amazing article! Given that I’ve already come to intuitively come to take advantage of the “Top Ten ADD Advantages in a Hi Tech Career,” should I be concerned that treatment might impede these superpowers?

  57. I wanted to thank you so much on an incredible webpage and all of the different posts of people that have struggled with ADD/ADHD. I am a 27 year old male that has struggled constantly with ADD throughout my entire life. I have researched my disorder and medications/treatments for it, for the past 5 years. I have only been taking medication for it, for the past 4 years. This is definately the first time that I have found more information that pertains and matches to me and my life than I have ever read before. For all of the people with negative posts and that, (maybe at least to me), seemed a little too sarcastic with some of the statements or questions — Guess what? You have no idea how it is to have a disorder that can pretty much destroy a individual’s development, education, relationships, and career all throughout their life — I can vouch for this.. If you’re really skeptic about it, read my entire story!….
    I have always known that I’m a lot different than most people in general society, big time! Do you know what it’s like to see both sides of every situation constantly? Never agreeing or disagreeing because you just study too deep into a situation that shouldn’t even matter anyway? Well, this is my life (in a nutshell). It’s sad that I feel like I’ve never belonged in almost any setting I’ve been in my life…. Throughout my entire life I’ve managed to make some great friends and gain respect from many of my peers, despite many of my ailments I’ve always had. As of today, I’m still kicking and going, but struggling in many different areas still….. (I was going to throw this in at the top of this post, but if you find my story interesting…. I’ve probably got some of the most defined and concrete evidence for developing ADD/ADHD)….
    To begin, when I was born, I almost didn’t make it out alive as it was. There are few people that suffer from all 3 of these ailments at birth, but (lucky me): Asthma, Bad Allergies, and Excema, all diagnosed at birth… All I can remember growing up (in grade school) was falling asleep or being sick with a runny nose constantly in class because of some new prescription that I had to take for one of my ailments at the time…. Or because of allergens in the school environment period. This was in grade school, when I was suppose to be developing many of my skills as it was…. I remember being sleepy constantly, sneezing or sick because of a cold or decongestant ( that i probably shouldn’t have been taking), and occasional asthma attacks… I still attempted to learn…… With all of these health problems growing up, it can destroy a child’s ability to learn and exceed in education… Luckily, somehow I managed to deal with most of my symptoms, but honestly to a certain point, it probably destroyed my attention span, creativity, and ablity to learn and grow like most kids should be able to… My mind (between half of the time dealing with my allergies/asthma/excema) would even day dream, wonder, and generally do anything not to create any more stress (learning) to get through the day. I’m not saying I had an awful childhood, and my life was miserable all the time……but this had to be some part of where my attention span began to deplinish towards things I needed. I finished grade school and went through middle about the same way. My health began to get better with exercise and a stronger immune system, so it did get a little better. By the time I was in high school, I had pretty much outgrown asthma, but my allergies and excema have never dissapeared. I even got through high school, (somehow), without knowing for sure about my learning disabilities. I was an average student, but I struggled constantly for C’s in my classes. It’s sad that I never got diagnosed until halfway through college (after failing out of plenty of classes)…. I had to get diagnosed, totally by myself. My parents never completely understood why I couldn’t learn and why I couldn’t ever focus on many things.. They didn’t know or weren’t sure about ADD/ADHD problems with people… Well, to end my story (there’s still way too much to explain).. I’m currently unemployed and trying to find a good career…. I’ve served tables for the past 6 years to get by, and trying to finally get a good career.. The only thing I am really good at focusing on is learning everything and anything about the internet and computers. I don’t know why or how I developed such interest and why I enjoy it so much sometimes, but I love it. I even have a college degree, but it’s in Business Administration (not computer anything). I’m currently trying to find some kind of career with the internet and technology that I can work on from home or develop a new program or website to help people in some way in this crazy world. (This whole post took me 2 hours to type, but that’s exactly what I’m talking about. I agree completely that technology is the definate career with people struggling with ADD) If anyone would like to offer me a job or has any good ideas, I’m open to them! Lastly, Thank you so much to Pete and Pat for all of this new info!

  58. Ok, weird. So, yeah, I had a suspicion that I had ADHD, but didn’t get check out till last year. The insight has changed my life. I had dropped out of high school when I was 16, got my GED and started working at a computer store. I have been into computers since I can remember, I just get it. But, everything I have tried to do to further my career education wise, I could never finish. Ohh the frustrations. I love it when I learn something, then the teacher makes you practice it 1000 times, then you have to wait for other students to get it. That’s where I would check out. Anyways I am 30 years old now and November of last year, I decided that I really need to get my 4 year degree. I found a program that worked perfectly. I went to Western Governors University, which is an online non-profit school. Guess what, its self paced. Its COMPENTENCY based! YEAH. Its fully accredited nationally and regionally! Its Cheap! You get credit for getting certifications. So, nine months later I went from a GED to bachelors degree. Because once you get it, you take a test or a few assignments and you move on. My first 6 month term I earned over 70 credits, cause I kept pushing myself and not being afraid to take the test after a far shorter amount of time of studying. Anyways, I would say, don’t be afraid to realize your potential with a fast brain. The world doesn’t want to accommodate this, but instead they appeal to the common denominator. I have also heard great things about Montessori learning, does anyone have experience with that type of learning in relation to ADHD?

  59. I think that the connection with high tech and ADD is coincidence. The fast paced environment we are a part of “carries” us along. It might appear that we are able to multi-task well, but in reality we are just going with the fast paced flow of things; because of the forever changing aspects we are not bored.

    In short, the industry manages us, makes us conform to it (in this context I agree with the psychologist’s perspective that we find it hard to multi-task, because if it weren’t for the chaos forced on us, we’d be generating the chaos instead… missed deadlines, 90% complete tasks, late starts, etc).

    WE are able to keep up… normal types can’t keep up as well; they try to slow things down, and when normal types are the managers it makes it hard for the ADD types because they tend to either try slowing things down, or trying to micro-manage…. an ADDer goes balistic if micro-managed; probably re-ignites old feelings of boring teachers or authoritative figures from childhood years gone by… LOL

    Hmmm…. good article.

  60. Joseph Tierney

    I’m currently working on my dissertation for a Masters in Information Systems Management. I’m highly interested in scholarly articles on this topic. Specifically, I’m looking for articles that correlate ADD/ADHD OCD Asperger spectrum with IT professionals. If you know of any such articles/papers, please contact me at [Pete – Thank you for suggesting that I make this post.]

  61. I feel like a complete outcast. I am 37 years old, married with 2 teen girls & I have no job (was fired from my last one). I am in college, but going at a turtles pace. I have ADD ( not the hyper-activity – ADHD) – I take FOREVER to get things done & forget things continuously. Is there hope for me in the “carreer world”?

  62. I have a 10th grader with ADHD who has a great sense of humor and loves computer games. He has to make course selections soon for 11th grade and we’d love to start channeling him into a career that he could love and be successful with. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks….Randy Stank

  63. Kimberley Taylor

    Well, Just read everything you all said over this time period at least it is all up to date or else I would not have made this comment, cut it short is I am 99% sure I have ADD I discoverd this 2 weeks ago, I am female and 29 married no kids yet my life has been tough I am from UK and I live in South Africa, I have always thought I was different, i”m going to get diagnoised next week I know it will take a few times to do this, bear with me I am new to this already been doing my research, I have been working on my own in sales, running a show room in South africa which needs to have aleast 3 people working I am doing every thing, things I am not even trained for which I learn very quick, but a point with regards to multitasking is that in some tasks I can do 10 things at the same time but if it come’s to money (maths) I need full consentration this reflects in all areas of my life where for example my husband would say your a women you can multitask (I’m Cooking and he wants me to lissen to him talking about an issue and I cannot do it, If some one wants to talk to me about something I want to give them all my attention or else I will miss what they are saying,) If I miss what they are saying in conversation’s I’m stupid, any way I don’t think this is the place for me to talk about this but I relised I have ADD from being alone working my ass off with no interuptions from how un focused in some tasked I can be. so even though I am alone in the work place I discoverd myself, but I am so board I end up hoping from one task to the other and prolonging my dead lines. I keep myself busy doing the work but just not stimulating I know where my strenths are in the job but just no staff to take the other work on and leave me do what I feel I am there for and now I just want to run any way its fustrated me so much, I feel I should be working for myself so I spend time on the web I want to develop somthing but I still feel lost, I really noticed that I learn very quick on the computer, but I am also very creative person and I don’t seem to have the time to grow in that area. I am trying to please to much in the things that do not interest me in order to just feel normal. does any one relate to this? well I will check out your website’s, not sure of my point but please advise. Thank you

  64. In selecting 11th grade high school courses for my 10th grader who has ADHD , your info helps verify what we’ve been seeing. I like the idea of an ADHD coach. Where would we find one?

  65. Hi Randy, not all coaches work with students or teens. I don’t but some do. Try go to find a coach and type in teens to find one. Make sure your 10th grader is open ready and willing to change vs just you, otherwise it won’t work. Good luck and remember ADHD is 80% genetic

  66. Hi Pete,

    Thank you for your article. I have always wondered why I could never finish my homework. My parents thought I was retarded. Its a good thing they bought me a computer when I was only 11 years old (early back then). I still have the very same broken Commodore 64 today. My ADHD has made my life hell, rogue actions, bad relationships, hard to fit in the workplace and that explosive anger which scares the hell out of everyone including myself.

    However, I am very lucky the two or three “real friends” one of them being my wife have stuck by me. A strong family discipline and honor has keep me from turning to a life of crime. I believe many cyber criminals and hackers must be ADHD.

    I also believe “my Faith”, a belief in the cosmic order of things and my rejection of Quantum theory -Chaos theory is the reason that I will be inevitably successful.

    Thanks again,
    Paul Kim

  67. I have mild add and mild dyslexia but because this website pertains to add or adhd only, I will only tell the emotional struggles that I went through having mild add.

    Even though I am intellectually smart I had been otocrocized because I am so smart this created emotional difficulties within myself that I kept to myself primarily. It was until 7th grade that I was finally able to have the chance to understand why I had so many emotional difficulties. It has 2 years now ever since this discovery that I have helped myself and now I CAN FUNCTION WITHOUT THE USE OF MEDICATION. Me trying to do this by myself is because I had no one to help me personally but myself since the beginning.

    I personally believe that I was able to do this because even though I had emotional difficulties it was my intelligence level that pushed me positively and kept me going in the process of
    helping myself out. Ever since the beginning of this discovery I
    tried everyday to help myself out and now I can function naturally and personally like I should be. My emotional struggles my whole entire life have made a resilient person and now anything bad in my way I can bounce back right away. Whenever you have something in your way get around it the best way you can but in the efficient and best way possible. LET ME SAY THIS-THOSE WHO STRUGGLE IN THE BEGINNING SUCCEED IN THE END. 🙂

  68. hi Synthia,

    and what would you life be like if you got diagnosed with adhd earlier and got treated with adhd medication (let along adhd coaching)? lots of intellecually smart people with adhd see mensa adhd SIG 634 members

    If you look at the longtitudinal studies, there’s no correlation between adhd and IQ and long term sucesses. its EQ that makes the difference


  69. If I was in this situation I would probably feel that I am in control for the 1st time in my life and begin to see life differently. Then I would want to do whatever I am skilled at without the medication.

    I know someone that I believe has adhd but isn’t very smart. So not all adhd people are smart. But I believe the parents of this person I know I described in the beginning of this paragraph didn’t know and doesn’t know how to help this
    person at all. I don’t believe Arizona really pays attention to
    the people in Arizona that have adhd, dyslexia or add so this is the reason why I could see many of my classmates with these a lot but they aren’t helped in Arizona. Not to sound arrogant but- If only there could be someone born and raised in Arizona that could speak up about this problem there wouldn’t be so many undiagnosed ADHDers and ADDers in Arizona.

  70. I am 48 years old and was diagnosed with ADD 7 years ago and have been on Strattera since. The drug has helped a lot but like any drug has it’s side effects and I wish I didn’t have to take it to keep focus through the day. The most difficult thing for me and I believe those that are real ADDers was learning as a child. It was nearly impossible to learn and move to advanced studies when you can’t listen for more than five minutes before (no matter how hard you try) your mind goes elsewhere. There are many people that claim to be ADD and have done well through school, and I guess that’s possible if there was awareness and you had support, but without it I can’t see that it’s possible. As an adult I’ve had to learn much of what I missed in school and I struggle to remember what I learn (spelling, grammar, math, etc.). For me, growing up when I did, with parents that weren’t interested in helping me or getting me help, ADD was a curse. A bad way to start out in this world.

  71. Hi, I have recently come to the realization that I have ADD. I have been a paramedic for 23 years and love thrive on the adrenalin rush that comes with the job. My wife has been trying to convince me that I have ADD for a few years now and I have just been in denial. I have to say, my ADD is one thing that makes me so good at my job…its not the same routine day after day…you never know what you will be faced with.

  72. I relate to each bullet except for number 8, I’m almost always (I even wake up regularily with finished ideas in my mind) so I don’t pay much attention to the outside world when I’m thinking, I have ADHD combined type, a 140 IQ (yes, both professionally taken) and Just like the list predicted, I’m trying to find a way to combine Art, Invention, and business.

  73. Thank you for this article!!! If I could turn this list into a badge and wear it … I would. Perfectly described.

  74. Thank you for this. I have ADD, and I am super Tech. I work for one of the largest leaders of innovation of technology 😉 and I am in the top 5-10% of my job. It’s my ADD. I never knew how smart I was until I got with therapist with ADD who explained why I am so smart. Thank you

  75. Could relate to most of the mentioned advantages, I find ADD have a great advantage in software engineering jobs like mine, the ability to hyperfocus is an ultimate bless, and definitely a super fast learner.
    Bcz of ADD’s memory and organization issues, I tend to write down everything and track all tasks, goals and plans carefully bcz I know otherwise I’ll be lost, and this have added value to my career and showed a high level planning and organization skills.

  76. smart of you to write everything down and track everything Dareen. That makes a huge difference for people with adhd with the memory and executive functions problems. then you can spend more time in adhd hyperfocus profitable fun vs hunting around for stuff in the clutter and chaos

  77. Thanks for the article. Though reading this down the road, it’s nice to look at the positive. I haven’t been diagnosed, but all the symptoms are there, and my mother is ADHD. Loud in class, great in elementary school, then rapid decline in middle/high school, though top grades on tests, slacked on homework and projects. I sort of forced my way to become a developer, knowing with my hyper focus that if I beat myself with repetition, I could think in multiple scenarios in code. I’ve been hired as a developer for two jobs, supposedly under qualified than the average they are looking for (Bachelors in Computer Science, Certifications, etc.), but able to demonstrate a above average ability to program. Only wall I hit is when I get a huge task, I get anxiety to do anything due to the fact that I’m located next to a high traffic bathroom, noise, and anything else going on. I simply do other things (plain distractions) due to the fact that I need to concentrate, and it’s really like swimming upstream just to get started. Tough profession, but endless possibilities once everything is learned. IT field was fun for awhile, but needed to have something that challenges me. Not much support for how I am and what I’ve been doing, but I keep proving that I know what I want. Appreciate the read, and feel happy with the advantages, and understand the disadvantages. Take care, and hope the best for all in here.

  78. Hello I was diagnosed with ADD in the mid 70s 4th grade I was put on riddlen. I I read your article. And said to myself that’s me. I adapt to high tech faster than the non ADDers. Of my age (51).
    2 question can canabis have the sam effects as riddlen? Or be adverse? Please email me on that subject

  79. Thank you…i was hiding my problem for years, and I am finally ready to be me. I always felt that I could see the end of the tunnel faster the the smartest ones. Somehow I always felt that I had the answer already. Was just too shy to tell people the answer. Thank you.

  80. thank you for this. I guess I have ADHD. I am an artist. i learn at lightning speeds, my mind is faster than anyone I know (which is a sad thing for me at times, because I feel alienated and wish there were more people like me around, but there aren’t).
    Unfortunately I’m always late, have extremely hard time controlling my impulses and hate doing mandane chores. But I’m kind of not buying the popular negative belief, that I’m messed up and need to be “fixed”… more organized, maybe, but judging from my rapid achievements in multiple subjects and ability to work on several things effortlessly, I don’t feel like I’m debilitated… just different. glad I’ve stumbled on your article:)

  81. You’re welcome Diana, I’ve coached a few photographers, you are not alone, could be that many are still hidden in the ADHD closet. There are real problems with ADHD but there are real advantages as you’ve seen here by some of the comments too. “Fixed” isn’t the right word, better would be is to learn how to manage some of the problems of living with ADHD so you can spend more time developing and using the strengths of ADHD. See my list of 151 advantages of ADHD.

  82. maria wesley

    I am now 61years of age and has known I have ADHD since I was 37. I wish I had ventured out of my field and tried different career paths. I now work with children with ADHD and offer whatever support I can for them.

  83. Pete Quily

    never too late to change Maria, Good you work with ADHD kids, having ADHD would be a competitive edge

  84. I was glad to discover this site. I discovered I had ADD after my grown son was diagnosed. He and I both think the info onslaught/overwhelm has accelerated our symptoms and revealed to us the way our brains are wired. I don’t think, after all, that it’s a disorder or even a deficit. It’s just that our brains are wired differently and we have to structure our lives differently to function optimally. Vyvanse helps me a lot. I’m glad to discern the strengths that have helped me accomplish what I have. I want to multiply my awareness and productivity.

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