At the start of the 00s, coding was one of the most sought-after professional careers. But it seems that times are changing. The future of coding jobs is being questioned and WIRED magazine even went so far as to proclaim that coding has become a blue collar job with way too many workers, and not too many available vacancies to fill. This isn’t surprising since every industry seems to be in the midst of a crisis lately- over 200,000 cuts in manufacturing, auto industry lets go of thousands in a slot as the car maker close shop unexpectedly and figures stating that as many as 40 million jobs would go to the robots in the coming decade. And it is the turn of the IT and computing industry to face the music now. So what is the exact situation of coders and programmers in this highly volatile marketplace? Read on.
Future of Coding Jobs- Blue-collar identity?
Blue collar jobs are those that usually involve manual labor- manufacturing, industrial, assembly line work, and are prone to a negative image- one not just about the prestige(or lack thereof), but also about the security. Perhaps one reason why the WIRED article has caused people to take notice is this question: Are coding and developing jobs, once the postcard profile of the well-educated, well-dressed white collar, really in the blue-collar territory? We are living in a digital economy today and it seems likely that in the coming years, computer coding careers will be seen as replaceable factory work. With everything from currencies to Government jobs going online, coders would be required to fill in the position of the industry plumbers and grunts, a necessity – but one easily available. Predictions state that coders, developers, and programmers are better off looking at other industries like healthcare, tourism, or Government positions to apprentice than hoping to find work in computing.
The numbers problem
There are way too many coders today- this is the simple truth. The notion of the gifted loner sitting in his parent’s basement- a prodigy of sorts – isn’t what defines a coder or a skilled programmer. Computer coding careers are probably the blue collar jobs of the IT industry already, seeing as they are already in a surplus. This is because it can be learned fairly quickly- there are intensive courses lasting six months, which can get you a job right away. In fact, many view it as something of a vocational skill. One reason there are so many new coders is that everyone from any background can take an intensive course and have the necessary skill set. Some of the finest coders have been self-taught. Regardless, the concern has been an overabundance of coders, developers, and programmers- some with further education and degrees that must compete with many “trade” coders and vocational artists.
Future prospects and outlook
Having stated all of the above, the fact of the matter is that coding will never really become obsolete. The future of coding jobs isn’t as bright as it was at the start of this millennium, but it is still a highly desired and highly competitive field. The future is dependent on the computer chip- everything from automation to smart homes will require various degrees of coding, programming, and development. To think that the median salary for a developer in 2016 is a whopping 100,000 dollars- a hefty sum considering no college education is required. No wonder everyone wants to be a coder. The future of coding jobs maybe a blue-collared one; but when the market prediction state that the IT industry should be a 350 billion dollar one by 2025, things don’t look so bleak. Coders will always be in demand no matter how cutthroat the competition becomes.
So, is the future of coding jobs really in jeopardy? What seems likely is that many coders would become freelancers and would divide their time between different industries; or perhaps, be employed by them from time to time. The WIRED article, despite its bold prediction, also states that programming jobs will grow by approximately 12 percent between 2014 and 2024 in America. In countries like China and India, there has been a massive interest in coding with a source claiming that by 2018, there will be approximately 5 million plus developers and coders from India alone. Coders will make the backbone of the IT and computer technical revolution of the future- regardless of whether coding becomes blue collar or not. Coders are known to be risk takers- bold and daring. This is their moment to decode.