Enough people are fascinated by programmers and I don’t feel the need to talk about the benefits.
Instead, I’m going to list the rarely described types of full-time programmers. And if you are still looking to get a full-time job as a programmer, this article will be a valuable resource for you. Otherwise, this is nothing more than regular rantings on the Internet.
To be clear, I am not suggesting that any other career is better.
So, I will venture to cause a fair amount of hatred, I will proceed.
1. You are just a tool
You may have heard criticism that the university does not reflect the real world.
In higher education, programming is being touted as a really cool subject with a lot of practical projects. The experience of building something from scratch, as simple as it is, is truly fun. Students compete to create the fastest robots, smartest autonomous vehicles, and the most inventive machine learning apps.
Please note that these projects are entirely created by the students themselves. They plan and decide how to implement them from start to finish. Here, as they say, there are no real customers.
And here is real life. In the professional world, what you do is dictated by your supervisor to the last line of code. The requirements are specific enough to get rid of any creative freedom.
Your job is not to ask questions, discuss or innovate. Your job is to write the code as required. This feature was chosen by someone you don’t even know.
You will soon realize that the very reason why you got carried away with programming is gone. You’re just here to translate someone’s ideas into code. Rarely are you treated like a person with your own opinions and ideas.
2. You are a burden
Every company has a primary goal. News corporations collect and disseminate information. Banks manage funds and loans. Supermarkets buy and sell essential goods.
And all of these companies existed long before computers were invented. Programmers have never been important to this business.
Yes, technology has revolutionized everything. But, ironically, the change was not made by the programmers.
Leaders of more innovative companies saw the potential of technology to improve their business. So these managers hired programmers to fulfill their vision.
Because programmers were never important to the business from the beginning, they were called cost centers. They do not directly contribute to the company’s profits and are therefore considered operating expenses.
Admittedly, this argument does not apply to large tech companies, where programmers are more than needed. But high-tech jobs are very rare and concentrated in just a few places in the world.
In addition, you might argue that non-tech firms have engineers who propose and make technological changes to the company. However, these engineers tend to be more managers than engineers who hire programmers to do the job. I define a programmer as someone who writes a lot of code every day.
And even if there are such innovative engineers, they must be quite rare, since I have not seen them.
3. You are replaceable
Imagine that you are the CEO and see high operating expenses on the balance sheet of your company. You find out, and it turns out that this is the technical department.
What to do? Obviously, you cannot lay off an entire department or even cut it down. After all, it is impossible to do business without a technical department.
Look at history for inspiration and you see that Ford, for example, has been able to reduce its costs by relocating manufacturing facilities to countries with lower labor costs.
And voila! The entire technical department, together with the call center, was outsourced.
Programmers can be easily replaced because the knowledge they gain is by no means special.
Programmers don’t have business contacts, they don’t know how the industry works, and most likely don’t even know how the business works.
I cannot imagine a “highly skilled” job more replaceable than a programmer position.
4. You are outdated
Have you ever bought a phone and after a few months were sad that a newer model was released? Then you are not alone.
The tools that programmers use to create products, be they websites, apps, or games, are changing as fast as the latest and greatest phones.
You need to constantly learn new tools to stay relevant in the industry.
This is compounded by the specifics of the job requirements. Companies need more than just a programmer with years of experience who can create applications. They require programmers with tools to build applications.
Why are companies doing this? Because they can. With crowds of young, ignorant and increasingly competitive programmers eager to prove themselves, companies can easily replace most of the old programmers with new ones.
Unlike a doctor whose experience adds value, your experience makes you irrelevant.
5. You are worse
Whether you like it or not, the world favors people in power. And those who simply serve are underestimated, forgotten and buried in history.
Unfortunately, programmers are far from being leaders.
This becomes more apparent to programmers at promotions and business meetings.
If you are a programmer, career growth is limited to your department, unless of course you make a huge leap to become a manager.
Likewise, the role of the programmer in a business meeting is to communicate if a particular feature is possible, and the expected deadline if so. Without questioning business decisions.
As long as you remain a programmer, you are at the bottom of the career ladder.
This is life
It is easy to criticize this article, claiming that this is just your experience or, even worse, you are the only one. Yes, of course it is impossible to deny that software engineering centralizes work like no other invention in human history!
But this is the reality for most programmers. And I dare say that my statements are the rule, not the exception.