Programming is for entrepreneurs and thinkers–and coders, too

August 24, 2011 at 9:14 am Leave a comment

One lesson that I draw from this Washington Post op-ed is that not all programming jobs are created equally.  Yes, programming is the activity of those who do “grunt coding.”  But programming is also the activity of those creating new businesses, and of those thinking with software.  Programming jobs are not either/or. It’s not that they’re here in the US, or they’re overseas.  That’s like saying that all writing jobs will go away if journalism collapses. There is lots of kind of writing, and there is lots of kinds of programming.  Programming is a useful job skill.

But as it turns out there was a fundamental flaw with that either/or dynamic that Marc Andreessen articulated perfectly in his recent Wall Street Journal oped: Software is eating the world. Ironically, Andreessen became a coder because he read in US News & World Report it was a good way to make money. Lucky for him, he wasn’t born a decade or so later.What that means is software jobs are not the zero sum game we anticipated back in the early 2000s when many companies were sending them overseas. Instead, they’ve expanded exponentially as more industries have become fundamentally about virtual delivery. And the trend isn’t just about a company like Pandora, Zynga or Amazon pushing music, gaming and books to be software-only  products, rather than physical things packaged on shelves. Nor is it just about the new globally exploding market of social media. We’re also seeing the biggest resurgence in companies disrupting the real world since the early days of the Internet, with Airbnb, Uber, Groupon, GetTaxi, and a host of other names taking on long-neglected, fragmented industries in new digital ways. Andreessen and his partners are betting that healthcare and education are next. Accel, too, has been placing some big bets on education.

via Software Is Eating All the Jobs Too – The Washington Post.

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