The future of the future

Gordon, Seth sgordon at
Wed Feb 16 16:15:05 EST 2000

I think that the number of useful tasks that require *some* programming
skill will continue to increase, but the vast majority of these will not
require a programmer who is an expert at wringing the maximum possible
efficiency out of code.  For these tasks, all you need is a firm grasp of
the fundamentals, knowledge of a reasonably powerful scripting language
(Perl, Python, Visual Basic, whatever), and knowledge of what modules,
libraries, or plug-ins will help you get your task done with that language.

So, given this trend...

RELIABLE PREDICTION: Jobs for programmers will become numerous, but at the
same time, knowledge of basic programming will become very common, and
scripting languages will become easier to use and do a better job at
optimizing; therefore, the average programmer won't be paid much more than
the average secretary.

LONG-SHOT CYNICAL PREDICTION: programming (at least, the most common forms
of programming) will eventually be reclassified as "women's work" -- just as
secretarial jobs themselves, at the beginning of the 20th century, switched
from being predominantly male to predominantly female.  I don't know whether
the gender switch will happen before or after the salary drop.

PRACTICAL ADVICE: if you code for a living, don't go too deeply into debt.

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