Programming requires the ability to discern requirements and write code that does the necessary job. Does this require empathy? No. Does empathy help with the soft skills that developers and humans in general sometimes lack? Yes. Does being empathetic make someone a better developer? In my experience, not necessarily a good thing. In some ways being to emotionally invested in something can make decision making more difficult and resistant to change. But that is also a trait of most humans.
Do you think you can discern requirements, which are coming from other humans, without understanding how they think?
No, there is a part that usually requires the ability to place your self in their shoes. That doesn't mean to be emotionally involved.
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