What will computer programming look like in the future? Will, there even be programming jobs, and what will they entail? Is there still a point to going into a computer programming career?
These questions are weighing heavily on the minds of both established programmers and newcomers to the field, such as fresh online data science degree graduates, alike. Computer programming has always been an ever-changing environment. Recent technological changes and disruptions in the way we interact with computers have left some shaken. But there’s good news: the future for computer programming looks bright — even if the shape of the field will continue to evolve.
Frameworks have become a vital tool to web developers and programmers in recent years. As frameworks have grown more sophisticated and feature-rich — as well as more numerous, with a dizzying array of tools available — the need to write code to solve age-old problems has diminished. Frameworks allow both developers and front-end users to focus on high-level details, instead of struggling over small, discrete coding problems. While there will always be work for those who can solve those problems, there’s also a future in learning and specializing in frameworks.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things has already become an accepted part of daily life. But more devices attached to the internet means more security vulnerabilities — which means a big surge in cyberattacks on IoT devices. Programmers with the skill set to deal with these cybersecurity issues will find plenty to keep themselves busy well into the future, as IoT devices become more and more ubiquitous and the need for security updates continues to increase.
After decades of being taken as a given, Moore’s Law, the prediction that computing power doubles every two years, is finally starting to break down. Why? Several reasons — such as 3D computing and quantum computing. But cloud computing is changing how we think about Moore’s Law, as computing ability is longer restricted to the capabilities of a single device.
What does this mean for programmers? Plenty and a great deal of it is good news. Cloud computing increases accessibility by making services remotely available, reducing the need for development machines or costly and time-consuming configuration. Students looking to learn computer programming or update their skill set will find the experience easier and more streamlined. Not only that, but the rise of cloud computing means ongoing growth in cloud software development jobs.
A Post-PC World
Predictions of “the death of the PC” are nothing new. The tech industry has been heralding the platform’s demise for literal decades. But today’s technological landscape is changing more rapidly than ever. Users are migrating from desktop computers to tablets and smartphones, and the gaming console market continues to grow as mainstream gamers drift away from the PC (https://skepticink.com/incredulous/2015/09/07/a-brief-history-of-the-death-of-pc-gaming/).
The console programming market is nothing new — but the rise of console and smartphone gaming means a constant push toward more innovation, with gaming companies moving away from physical media and toward streaming games — which means more focus on software development.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Machine learning is already an integral part of software development and use. Using AI and learning algorithms to classify data and predict outcomes has changed the face of programming, and will only continue to do so. While machine learning is unlikely to replace coders and software developers anytime in the near future, it will more likely become a part of every software developer’s toolkit. Learning to work with and alongside AI in software development will be a vital skill as ML’s prominence continues to grow.
Big Data is Everything
Just as with machine learning, big data is already a vital part of business and enterprise. Businesses use big data to collect billions of real-time data points on customers and products, meaning they can react to changes quicker and easier. Businesses also use big data to streamline customer interactions and create more efficient processes.
Not only that, but big data has become vital to modernizing old IT structures by analyzing failure points, replacing antiquated platforms, and scaling up. But big data requires big computing power, and that means plenty of work for programmers with the skills to wrangle that data successfully.
Developments like machine learning, AI, and more advanced frameworks may make it look like the traditional role of the computer programmer is dying off — but that’s simply not true. Jobs in programming and software development are still in high demand, and software development is still one of the best jobs out there, with an unemployment rate just over 1%. So whether you’re looking to get into a career in computer programming or have already established your credentials, there’s no need to worry — demand for skilled professionals isn’t going anywhere.