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#1 winbacker  Icon User is offline

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Is a programming career risky to pursue?

Posted 27 June 2014 - 06:48 PM

I hesitate to puruse programming as a career because:

Skill erosion, offshoring and low barriers to entry make this career seem extremely


Specifically, I am concerned about

1) Skill erosion: IT changes really fast and skills you work hard to learn can be

rendered obsolete within a few years of learning them. Constantly relearning complex

technical information for your whole career seems daunting. I don't mean to sound

lazy, but just from an efficiency point of view it seems tough.

2) Offshoring: We all know that there are tons of programmers willing to work for a

fraction of the price all over the world.

3) Low barriers to entry. The internet is full of free material that spoon feeds

tutorials to anyone on how to code. I believe this could vastly increase the supply

of programmers and consequently depress wages.

I believe these 3 factors make it very dangerous for someone to pursue programming as

a career.

Can we discuss this.

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Replies To: Is a programming career risky to pursue?

#2 Robbss  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is a programming career risky to pursue?

Posted 27 June 2014 - 07:23 PM

If you learn a modern language really well, you can easily adapt to the new technologies, knowing how a language works you can very easily change that knowledge into understanding pretty much any new language, so if you're writing with any modern language I'm sure you won't have an issue following new technologies as you'll already know the "complex" part and essentially just adapting to the new syntax.

I can't say much about offshoring, but most of the time if you offshore programming you get a piece of work which is both horribly written and often way over date, good programmers will always be needed, offshoring code doesn't make as much sense than other industries, it's pretty much required that the code you're running is optimized and maintainable, that's not something you get from offshoring your work.

Again, going off tutorials online doesn't make you a good programmer, it can make you a good programmer, but it doesn't unless the programmer himself actually does something, and that goes directly back to the industry requiring "good programmers", if all you've done is watch youtube tutorials and think you're a master programmer then all you are is a script kiddie and those are pretty easy to spot out.

I'm sure the programming business will get more and more crowded, but I'm sure that those who know what they're doing will always be on top, there and so many people who think they know what they're doing, but they don't, slowly they'll be filtered out while those who put work into it rise to the top like most other industries and with the huge expansion of computer enabled devices there'll be more and more to program, requiring more programmers than ever.

In Denmark I've been talking to a bunch of company owners and so forth, and every time I mention that I'm reading up to become a programmer they go "Wise choice, everyone needs programmers, there's never enough so you'll have easy time finding what you want."

This post has been edited by Robbss: 27 June 2014 - 07:25 PM

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#3 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is a programming career risky to pursue?

Posted 27 June 2014 - 08:23 PM

I have been concerned with outsourcing as well. But, when you do know what you are doing it becomes less of an issue. I have personally picked up contracts from companies that started with an 'outsourced programming firm' and got what they paid for. I then got paid more to play cleanup.

As far as outdated skills, programming is a way of thinking, not a specific language. Languages have common elements, the only difference is the available libraries and the syntax.

Low entry level because of online tutorials.
Have you seen the questions that pop up on here? Everything from, I am following this tutorial and it won't work, to this is my basic programming homework what do I do? On a daily almost frustrating basis. Those people that do get hired, get fired when there isn't a tutorial that they can copy off of or someone doesn't answer their question by spoonfeeding them the needed code.

If you want to pursue anything, try it out. Hobby it for a while. Doesn't have to pay bills to be enjoyed.
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#4 Sleepwalker87  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is a programming career risky to pursue?

Posted 28 June 2014 - 03:03 AM

1. Don't worry too much about skill erosion. Your career will likely focus around a specific technology track that you specialize in, such as Java. So yes there will be a steep learning curve but after you get through that initial learning phase it is relatively incremental, and if you aren't learning something new each day on the job, one or two books a year would be enough to keep up.

2. Every company I know that has outsourced has been burned and quickly brought their development back in the country (3 medium sized companies). Sweatshop prices = sweatshop quality.

3. Skills and experience are really valuable to companies, the fact that it is now quite easy to learn programming doesn't equate to an oversupply of programmers. You are underestimating how lazy the general population is.
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#5 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is a programming career risky to pursue?

Posted 28 June 2014 - 09:01 AM

You almost sound like you have made up your mind that its too risky, FOR YOU, and that you want us to change your mind for you. If that's the case then don't pursue it. Nobody should ever do something for 80% of their waking hours that that had to be talked in to. Your career is your biggest investment. Some people take a bold but risky stance on their investments. It can pay off big, or loose big. Some people would rather invest less risky and have smaller but safer gains. Whether we are talking about work or stockmarket its the same thing and the same mentality. If you worry 40 hours a week about your job because its more risk than you handle well, your health will suffer and you will be a miserable person and nobody needs that.

The posts previous to this one reflect my personal feelings on the subject:

There will always be outsourcing everywhere. China manufactures everything, does that mean we shouldn't manufacture here? You can buy anything on Amazon.com, does that mean you shouldn't open a retail store in your hometown?

If you're looking for an excuse to NOT do something you will always find 1,000 of them. You have to ask yourself what you really WANT to do. What are you really passionate about? Then do whatever you need to do to follow that dream.

This post has been edited by tlhIn`toq: 28 June 2014 - 09:02 AM

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