Why be a programmer in the US, if it is all going away in the near future?
About a year ago I wrote my first Linkedin Blog post called “Is There A Future In Web Development?” I got a bunch of comments and lots of reads for that article. I still get people reading it.
Now I am back with a second blog post that gets a little more into the entire field of programming and where I believe the inevitable future of programming is headed.
First off, right now if you can program, there are tons of jobs and opportunities to work on tons of code and building out new technology. So today jobs are plentiful here in the US for programmers.
Things are steady. But things are going to change. And not for the better. What I see ahead is not more sophisticated languages requiring more knowledge and scarcity and higher salaries, but rather easier and easier languages that require less and less programming and more “business knowledge” and ultimately less salary. These are jobs and languages college and high school kids will pick up reading a book.
These next couple of languages are not for hardened sophisticated programmers, but for the rest of the non-programmer/scripters out there like myself to put things together like puzzle pieces, like business objects that pop together. The required knowledge will require being a business person, not a techie.
This has been the goal for quite a while by corporate america, but it has taken a while to get there. And truly it is about the dollars and cents, not about what is good or bad technology. A corporation’s goal is to cut costs and maintain the bottom line! Things are not incrementally getting better for programmers, because companies are driving towards lower costs right now.
The next series of languages will not even be like programming, like Scratch, which my son uses, where they drop blocks together to make a visual application. Yes, my 8 year son can now program.
But as you consider dropping out of school to just be a web programmer or tell your kids, hey just get a job as a web programmer and get trained at a local code school, and not really learn all the other skills required to be marketable, you may want to rethink this through.
As long as you can shift your skill-set and move into a new area like DevOps or Business Intelligence, or become a Marketing Analyst or QA person you are going to be ok. By ok, means are you willing to work for $30k less than you make today in 10 years?
According to this study by Indeed, http://www.codingdojo.com/blog/9-most-in-demand-programming-languages-of-2016/, SQL is now the top programming language in demand. I see this as the beginning of the end of programming as we knew it in the past. That’s because SQL is not exactly a programming language, but it is the language of business intelligence. And quite frankly I am seeing tools like Tableau and Necto by Panorama as well as IBM and other systems which are targeting automating even hardcore SQL.
So, what to do if you are currently a programmer. If you just keep beating the drum of being just a developer, you may find yourself on an island with a bunch of programmers from India and Ukraine. Why? Because in those countries they are pumping out thousands, I meant to say ten, no I meant to say 100s of thousands of programmers per year, while in the US we are not. So, they are driving the value down by the day. It’s pure supply vs. demand.
Well, I think the answer is to get yourself educated and think about a new direction. Obviously starting your own business is a good start. But getting a degree, possibly an undergraduate if you don’t have it yet will help. But it won’t help get a management job… Getting an MBA like me is always useful, but apparently not in the tech field if you stay a programmer. Shifting to business intelligence, DevOps and other fields are your best bet. Being the guy who can merge the Databases and configure large Unix systems are always in demand. Trust me this requires less sophistication and more late nights watching ftp, ssh and other screens all night.
So what am I really saying. I am saying that you need to get up and retrain and move on if you are currently a programmer. The large volume of overseas programmers are already here and growing in number devaluing the value of programming. Open source like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla are good if you are good at selling. Do you want to be a salesman? Have you ever tried to sell a website on Thumbtack. People are not willing to pay more than $500 for a website or ecommerce site. That direction is a dead-end unless you are a great salesman. And the next wave of languages, I can not even imagine will ultimately kill the way we currently program. It’s inevitable. Just need to plan for it.
I could be completely wrong. But I could be right. We are in a world where competition in Nepal and Nigeria is here now in many forms. If their salaries do not rise, ours will fall. It is all obvious to me. We tell our sons to be doctors and not programmers!
Either way, take a look at my ebook Names for sale here on Gumroad about how to come up with a startup book name:
Or if you prefer a real book: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=gudema
If you are in Boca Raton this Wednesday evening at 6pm, July 27, 2016, we are having 10 tech startups get up and pitch to a panel of investors and experts. Up to 100 attendees are attending. It is at Cendyn Spaces and costs $15. Click here to RSVP.
As always let me know if I am wrong about the future of programming and web development in the US.