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Is programming a dead end in the US

Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
These stats were in the March 2004 issue of Software Development magazine that arrived on Saturday.
"...the number of computer programmers dropped 12 percent from 2000 to 2002 and another 16 percent in 2003 - there are fewer programmers [in the US] today than there were in 1994."
* according to Chris Murphy and Eric Chabrow, "The Programmer's Future", Information Week, Nov 17, 2003.


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ChanSan Mehbubani
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Joined: Dec 30, 2003
Posts: 108
I think thats a global phenomenon.As programmers are only responsible for creating fancy IDEs and other tools naturally you will require less number of programmers in coming future.


I am a Papad
HS Thomas
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Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
Perhaps US programmers will be working on next generation computing ?
The graduates of 2005+. But the dust has hardly settled on current technology.
[ February 08, 2004: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
Joe Richard
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Joined: Aug 15, 2001
Posts: 76
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"...the number of computer programmers dropped 12 percent from 2000 to 2002 and another 16 percent in 2003 - there are fewer programmers [in the US] today than there were in 1994."
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I think computer skills of an average user have increased, and the funtionality of applications has changed dramatically making it easier for an average user to do task they used to have a programmer do.
These two changes have caused a lot of, so called "Computer Programmer" positions to be eliminated. There used to be "Excel Programmer" positions listed in the classifieds you don't see that anymore. User skills have increased, they are doing those jobs. I think we are still removing the excess the Y2K (Acronym nobody wants to hear about anymore) build up left behind. Engineering and CS grads are the ones who will still be left to do programming jobs. You have to know multiple platforms and languages now to be a programmer. Engineering and CS grads had operating systems, COBOL and C++ classes to give a general overview of an operating system and multiple languages. Training like that will make it easier to pick up different platforms and languages. If you don't already know more than one language you should start to worry. The only thing that will save the position for a little while will be the exodus of the baby boomers(If it happens). Programmers will be needed to automate a lot of tasks to help business keep up.


Persistence equals goals
SCJD (In Progress), SCJP
Mark Herschberg
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Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Tanga Palti:
I think thats a global phenomenon.As programmers are only responsible for creating fancy IDEs and other tools naturally you will require less number of programmers in coming future.

I'll bet someone said something similar 20 years ago about C.
--Mark
Bela Bardak
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Joined: Jan 02, 2004
Posts: 179
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:

I'll bet someone said something similar 20 years ago about C.
--Mark

Doubt it, Mark. They probably said it about mainframes. C was a very new language in 1983. I remember seeing the K&R book displayed in a bookstore window.
What happened is that as the tools got better the ambition of users grew also. It remains to be seen whether it happens this time as well.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Bela Bardak:

Doubt it, Mark. They probably said it about mainframes. C was a very new language in 1983. I remember seeing the K&R book displayed in a bookstore window.
What happened is that as the tools got better the ambition of users grew also. It remains to be seen whether it happens this time as well.

Fair enough, but you get the point.
That's exactly right. We constantly push the limit and try to do more. Heck, look at processor speed, it's doubled every 18 months, and yet we never seem to be overpowered for our applications.
--Mark
Jon McDonald
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Joined: Sep 02, 2001
Posts: 167
A few reasons why I think programming will thrive even more.
1) There are so many things we haven't built yet. I know this will sound really corny, but look at those futuristic movies . How much of that stuff have we created yet. Sure, there are things that may never be possible, as well as things that could be centuries away, but a lot of those ideas could be implimented by a talented group of engineers.
2) The massive increase in the amount of information people have access to. Whenever people get access to new, huge amounts of data, it leads to scores of new questions being asked. Questions that were either never thought of before, or whose answers were previously impractical to answer. Look at how much new software and technology the discovery of the human genome has spawned. These new questions will lead to new software to answer those questions. No matter how well you design software, it can't be designed to solve every problem that has or ever will be thought of.
3) The gradual increase in automation of programming. The thing about automating programming is that someone has to write the applications that automate programming. Can you guys really see the point where we say "well, this is as automated as programming will ever be." Until they build the application that can read my thoughts, create a program, and then come up with whole new ideas even better than my own, there will always be a need for programmers. And as far as power-users doing that instead of us, keep in mind that they are limited to capabilities of the tools they use. Since we have the ability to create the tools they use, we can create even move powerful tools to solve whole new ranges of problems.
Now, I HOPE that we will spend less and less time repeatedly building the same things over and over again. Really, how many times have programmers built customer relationship management systems or point of sale systems. Hearing an employer say "We're going to put together a document management system using technology X, Y, and Z. Here are the specs" is nowhere near as exciting to me as someone ,usually from another field of study, saying to me "I don't even know if this is possible, but here is my idea.". I really hope that the has me hearing more of the later and less of the former.
Maybe some of what I wrote are pipe dreams. But I am hoping that they are not.
Jon
[ February 10, 2004: Message edited by: Jon McDonald ]

SCJP<br/>
"I study politics and war that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy in order to give their children a right to study painting poetry and music."<br />--John Adams
Robin Davies
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Joined: Dec 26, 2003
Posts: 64
In the UK programming jobs are -55%


BSc, MSc
Don Stadler
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Joined: Feb 10, 2004
Posts: 451
Got a source for that claim, Robin? I kind of doubt it.
Robin Davies
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Joined: Dec 26, 2003
Posts: 64
A source you say! How about Computer Weekly Tuesday 3rd February "This week!" Page 37

Programmers -55%in demand!
Tim Holloway
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Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16061
    
  21

Originally posted by Tanga Palti:
I think thats a global phenomenon.As programmers are only responsible for creating fancy IDEs and other tools naturally you will require less number of programmers in coming future.

Somehow I hear an echo of something I was told by on of the founders of the company I used to work for. The question was aked back about 1966:

What will we do with these 6 expensive programmers we've hired once all the programs have been written?

That company had about 1200 people on-campus when I left there and probably at least a quarter of them were programmers.
Between changes in technology, government requirements, and people just wanting to to things "a better way/their way", there's always been some demand for custom programming and the increased leverage that new APIs and IDEs have merely upscaled what's demanded.
If we were really seeing some sort of revolution in productivity, there wouldn't be all this hiring in Bangalore, because there wouldn't be a need for programmers anywhere.
For that matter, the economy of hiring cheaper labor would be lost if the tools provided that much leverage because if the work becomes trivial enough, not enough person-hours are consumed to make a significan real-dollar difference in labor costs.


Customer surveys are for companies who didn't pay proper attention to begin with.
Robin Davies
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Joined: Dec 26, 2003
Posts: 64
IDE'S Model Driven Architecture is what you should be keeping your eye on!
Jeroen Wenting
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Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Originally posted by Tanga Palti:
I think thats a global phenomenon.As programmers are only responsible for creating fancy IDEs and other tools naturally you will require less number of programmers in coming future.

hmm, so programmers create only things that either
a) are of any use for themselves or
b) are designed to put them out of a job?
Kinda a broad and sweeping statement I think...


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