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Programmed Death Of The Programmer ?



Do you reckon that we can still recommend to a 18 years old
younger to become a Software Engineer ?

Do you think that programming will soon be a viable career compared to finance or marketing ?

Hot Croissant
Sunday, February 08, 2004

Do you think that programming will soon NOT be a viable career.

Hot Croissant
Sunday, February 08, 2004

Yes, there will continue to be work for smart motivated people in software development.

chris
Sunday, February 08, 2004

In the US I wouldn't recommend that someone begin a career in computer programming unless they somehow knew that upon graduation they would be able to obtain a position or that person was set on being an entreprenuer or consultant.  Most likely job in the US would be a sysadmin, tech sales, computer service etc.

There are still a lot of people who think that marking up text is programming and that because they marked up some text and uploaded a file that they deserve 50k a year plus paid vacation.


Sunday, February 08, 2004

Do 18-year-olds listen to recommendations?

;-)
Sunday, February 08, 2004

...Should they?

Eric DeBois
Sunday, February 08, 2004

Can you swagger through university, assured of a high paying job on graduation as it was in the late 90s? No. Can you work hard at something you love, and come out with the tools to possibly get into a great field? Yes. Just as it is with virtually all careers and fields and study.

It is unfortunate, but not everyone graduates with a great job that is in their field of study. Perhaps it's exaggerated in computer science because of the high number of introverts: While people with english or history degrees just make a transitions into sales, or any of dozens of other non-specific but liberally trained and intelligent careers, computer science grads are much more likely to keep hammering away at computer science forever.

Dennis Forbes
Sunday, February 08, 2004

20 years ago, we were told that, thanks to tools like dBase, developers would soon be out of business, as users would write their own business applications.

Mmmm...

FredF
Sunday, February 08, 2004

Given today's accelerating rate of change in technology, it is foolhardy to advise young people on any particular career for the long haul; chances are they'll have to retrain at some point no matter what they go into.  A career in programming (or any other job based on rapidly changing technology) is, and will remain, a moving target.

My career advice is to become an entrepreneur, whether it is in programming or whatever you like doing best. Develop a product or service for a need you think isn't being met.  Maybe it will sell and maybe it won't; but you can always try again with another idea.  Whatever happens, it beats working on a product or service for someone else, who then makes the profit from your efforts--and lays you off when the business declines/is sold off/goes bust.

guilty as charged
Sunday, February 08, 2004

I was telling kids to stay out of programming, but recently I have become aware of this new meme - "Digital Pearl Harbor". The idea is that some terror attack is coming that will be exactly the same as the proposed y2k disaster - bank accounts will be lost, gas pumps wlil stop working, everyone without gold will be out of luck for buying food. The only solution? All buffers must be made secure! All programs must be made CERTIFIED secure or they will not be alloweed to be sold by 2010. Companies will be legally and criminally liable for any bugs or crashes.

Legislation is coming! Refactor your self into a security or lock down analyst and you'll be all set. It's the next big thing.

Dennis Atkins
Sunday, February 08, 2004

Speaking as someone who has a CS degree and has had some success in software development, I would still recommend AGAINST CS and a career in software development

True, the very smart and motivated can do fine.  If a kid writes code as a hobby and has the mentality of "I just can't think of anything else I'd rather do", ok, fine, they should go for it.  Otherwise, it's not worth the trouble of spending all that time in school only to endure modern dysfunctional corporate culture when there are other, more rewarding careers to be had.

Guilty as charged said
> My career advice is to become an entrepreneur, ....
>Whatever happens, it beats working on a product or
> service for someone else, who then makes the profit
> from your efforts--and lays you off when the business
> declines/is sold off/goes bust.


Yup, strongly second that. 

> Most likely job in the US would be a sysadmin, tech
> sales, computer service etc.

Umm ... isn't that true today.  Most jobs for average CS graduates are VERY boring with mediocre pay.

True, outside of running your own business, there's interesting work to be had if one works hard enough.  Like 3D graphics/game development, embedded software/firmware, real-time systems, the hard stuff.  But those aren't exactly gold-mines.  Do it only if you love doing it is what I would say. 

Immature programmer
Sunday, February 08, 2004

You ought not recommend *any* career to a youngster.  Let them find their own passions.

And on the other side of the equation, for the sake of my sanity, please, please, please don't steer anyone into this field that didn't come to it out of a passion to build things and an especially natural aptitude for programming.  We have far too many of them to dispose of already.

veal
Sunday, February 08, 2004

Reminds me of a conversation I overheard in a TGI Fridays a few years ago during the .com boom.

"I was thinking of learning Java. With Java I can work anywhere in the country, I can be near my kids in California, I can stay here, I can go down south... Or I was thinking of learning Windows."

There are two questions raised here.

1. Someone approaches you whose passionate about programming and has created a small app that does xyz by the time they graduated high school. Do you recommend they study computer science in college as a possible career path?

2. Someone approaches you who isn't sure what to do with their lives, but thinks programming might be a good trade to get into. They're creative and it's skilled rather than unskilled, and less annoying than management or marketing or banking. Do you recommend they get into programming?

I suspect that boom or bust your advice would be basically the same for each of them, just with different cautionary tales in each instance.

www.MarkTAW.com
Sunday, February 08, 2004

Echoing the sentiments here, but especially veal's - if someone asks "what should I study?" then you simply don't answer. (Or you at least say "whatever you enjoy")

If they ask "I really like programming - should I go with CS?" then of course.

Studying what you're passionate about is always the right answer. If nothing else, you'll tend to get higher grades, which is never a bad thing.

Philo

Philo
Sunday, February 08, 2004

No, it's not a field to go into, unless you want to spend your career competing with cheap overseas labour.

If you think you're immune from this by dint of superior skill, you should buy a lottery ticket.

Realist
Sunday, February 08, 2004

"No, it's not a field to go into, unless you want to spend your career competing with cheap overseas labour."...

...say the fear monger. In reality India has had a significant IT sector since the early 90s, and if anything India is pulling itself up (salaries are sky rocketing) rather than the other way around.

The whole India thing is tha natural result of an oversized IT sector in general (which it was -- grossly. Most firms were spending far too much on IT): It was a last gasp attempt at getting some projects done within a constricted budget, but then things equalize.

.
Sunday, February 08, 2004

Recommend this field like you would to someone becoming an artist.  Do it because you love it, for it is not going to pay the bills in most areas.

With the Walmarting of American business, unless you can create your own business (recognizing that over 60% of first time businesses fail), you will be working at low income, based on your education, wages.

AnonAnonAnon
Sunday, February 08, 2004

You should tell them that being a programmer is just like being an accountant, only you get less respect, and you only get to work with computers, not money, so there's less oppourtunity for white collar crime such as embezzlement. ;)

Sum Dum Gai
Sunday, February 08, 2004

What's your point, dot number 1003?

Realist
Sunday, February 08, 2004

It isn't fearmongering to say we are competing against cheap overseas labor.  It's reality.

It's only fearmongering to say that we *can't* compete against them.  Because we CAN compete.  But it will require dedication to be able to provide more price/performance than the cheap laborers.  No more careers based on nothing but "teach yourself in 21 days". No more careers based on learning one language for a mainframe and sitting down for 25 years without learning anything else.

T. Norman
Sunday, February 08, 2004

You can compete, but why bother?

Why bust a gut putting in all that extra work, when one can get a much easier job in some other field where you don't compete against cheaper overseas labour to the same extent, and hence get higher pay?

That's the problem I see with outsourcing jobs to the third world. Sure the good people in first world countries probably can compete. I'm just not sure that all of them will want to bother.

If you start to lose a significant percentage of the best people from IT, then IT in the first world is dead. It's only profitable as it is because the best people carry the rest. Lose the best, and you may as well offshore it all.

Sum Dum Gai
Sunday, February 08, 2004

There isn't any major that an 18-year old can select that will ensure a successful career. Computer programming makes as much sense as any other major, for a technically inclined student who's interested in it.

Julian
Monday, February 09, 2004

> It's only profitable as it is because the best people carry the rest.

Amen to that!

Dennis Atkins
Monday, February 09, 2004

> > My career advice is to become an entrepreneur, ....

Let's not only focus on the glitzy success stories.  Most entrepreneurs live life broke and borrowing money, and sleeping on friends couches, and never having a wife/home/family. 

Bella
Monday, February 09, 2004

Julian, I agree.  What're the alternatives?  Poly Sci?  History?  English?  Better off being a CS major, learning some awsome stuff, using your brain, and basically being just as marketable in any NON-CS field as any of those other majors. (Assuming you do learn to write well along the way)

Bella
Monday, February 09, 2004

Whatever you tell people to do, it's wrong.

Apparantly the new "hot" thing is to encourage kids to go into a "trade" rather than a "profession". (ie: become a builder or mechanic rather than work in management or computers.)

This is really sensible because the low number of people doing that means that salaries are really high for some (particularly the ones making a fortune off their patents, rather than their daily work), therefore a large increase in the number of people doing that will mean there's a large increase in the number of people with really high incomes and all will be good.

This is kinda like how everyone thought getting into computers was a guarantee of a high income no matter how good you actually are.

On the other hand I'ld kinda like to see some things have a price cut, so I don't entirely mind the whole campaign - I'm just surprised that people who should know better are so dumb.

Useful advice would be along the lines of "pick something that you'll enjoy doing, and actually be competent so that people will have a reason to pay you money to do it - and don't believe anyone who makes any guarantees at all, because you won't get your money back when everything goes wrong."

The Real Blank
Monday, February 09, 2004

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