Programming Future of Work

If you are adept at Java or if you can effortlessly navigate PHP, C++ and other programming languages, then you have a big advantage in terms of landing a high-paying job.

Coding is no longer a skill just limited to big IT firms. The Covid-19 pandemic has expedited the process of digitization for industries across sectors. Software is becoming the glue that connects billions of people online. And the architects laying the foundation of a digital future are the coders. Be it hospitality, medical care, publishing or retail, enterprises are seeking capable coders to help transform their processes. According to a study by EDC, the worldwide population of software developers is expected to grow to 27.7 million by 2023.[1]

Coding for social change

But, the role of developers doesn’t just stop there. Coding is moving beyond just debugging and executing applications. They form a vital part of technology-driven solutions for the socio-economic challenges plaguing the world. IBM for one is behind the idea of saving the world through code. The 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge, a $30 million global initiative, calls out developers to create codes that drives positive and long-lasting change across the world. This year’s Call for Code focuses on Climate Change.[2]

Looking at the API tracker by Programmable Web that provide data related to the pandemic, one is overwhelmed with the treasure trove of data available.[3] From APIs capable of detecting masks on human faces to APIs that enable applications to detect temperature from a thermal image based on palette color scale, there is an application covering a unique facet of the pandemic. These APIs can’t cure the disease, but developers can collect the data, track its spread and produce data visualisations. This can help authorities in mapping out zones and containment areas, an essential measure to curtail the spread of the virus.

Learning differently

It is evident that a seismic shift is taking place in the coding landscape. Things have particularly accelerated in the current scenario. Be it massive open online courses (MOOC) or a traditional academic setting, more people are turning to upskill themselves in various programming languages.

There are a lot more ways to learn programming now. The popular video game Minecraft offers the Hour of Code edition where you can explore basic coding concepts and learn about artificial intelligence (AI). Other real-time strategy games such as Starcraft provides you with tutorial series to create bots and AI for the game using Python.

Big tech companies are not far behind in providing coding education to learners. Apple Inc. had recently announced its plan for a new free resource to help educators gain the ability to teach both Swift and Xcode.[4] Similarly, Virginia Tech will offer online coding bootcamps to prepare students for newer job roles in the tech industry.[5]

What lies ahead

Code is central to the modern world. Besides data gathering and data visualisation, coding instructions are vital for any smart device to operate and communicate. With many future jobs relying on coding skills, the way programming is perceived is also changing. It is no longer seen as a job for ‘IT people’ spending hours after hours typing numbers and brackets on a keyboard.

Steve Job once said, “Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer… because it teaches you how to think.”[6] This is how the career is being promoted. It requires critical thinking and problem -solving skills along with a certain degree of creativity.

Programmers are now at the forefront of the digital transformation. As we move forward, coding will become a necessary requirement for new technologies. Be it AI, robots or the Cloud, the demand for those with coding skills will ensure that tech-driven innovations are seamlessly deployed for a better life.