Is computer programming a dying career

The article you cite contains many truths, and one or two questionable assertions.

First of all, coding academies and bootcamps are rubbish. They promote an unrealistic view of the software industry. They’re highly focussed on promoting their business. Never mind that web development will be one of the very first areas of IT to be largely automated/updated away.

There is so much more to the IT industry than web development, such as robotics, Big Data, cloud computing, Internet of Things, desktop, mobile, games, virtual reality, and so on. If these coding academies are so focussed on JavaScript, where will future PHP, Java, Python, C++, Go, Swift, Elixir, Julia programmers come from?

Second, software creation automation is coming. This is not in doubt. Non-programmers, i.e., regular users, will eventually be able to “write” their own applications simply by entering their design specifications and requirements. Visual programming languages will also play an important role here.

Where I take issue with the author is his suggestion that it will render the software profession obsolete in 15 years. Yes, certain areas of IT are vulnerable to automation. I already mentioned web development, which is a pretty stable class of software (if you ignore the f*cking mess of so-called “innovations” in JS web frameworks such as Angular, React, Ember, Backbone, Knockout, Meteor, Polymer, Aurelia, etc., etc, etc.).

It will be a long, long time before automation gets rid of programmers for all the abovementioned areas of IT (robotics, IoT, cloud, etc.). In cutting-edge fields, good software developers are still needed to do the custom work and exploratory work that defy automation and that bootcamp graduates are completely ill-prepared to handle. This includes systems programming for writing operating systems and device drivers.

Of course, in the distant future, computer programming will fade away as a profession. Machines will program other machines. Advanced A.I.s (like Skynet) will understand what we want and go ahead and create it for us. But that day is not 15 years from now, nor 50. Our jobs are safe for quite a while longer.

By: Richard Eng