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The Next Blue-Collar Job Is Coding (@Pomeranian99)

From Clive Thompson at Wired, “The Next Big Blue-Collar Job Is Coding,” on how programming as a profession is more approachable than many realize:

Now, to be sure, society does need some superstars! Serious innovators, at companies and in academia, are the ones who create new fields like machine learning. But that doesn’t preclude a new mainstream vision of what most programming work actually is. For decades, pop culture (and, frankly, writers like me) have overpromoted the “lone genius” coder. We’ve cooed over the billionaire programmers of The Social Network and the Anonymized, emo, leather-clad hackers of Mr. Robot. But the real heroes are people who go to work every day and turn out good stuff—whether it’s cars, coal, or code.

I’ve been saying this for a long time. Most programming is a lot of common problem solving, attention to detail, tenacity, and a fair bit of drudgery. In other words, it’s like most jobs.

People have this notion that programmers have to be superhuman geniuses, and I think the industry has happily promoted this myth. For example, if you’re a programmer, you’ve no doubt seen technology recruiters seeking “rock star developers.” It’s ridiculous. This widespread perception is probably a big part of why people shy away from considering coding as a profession. A lot more people could do this for a living if they realized what it actually requires. Organizations mentioned in the article, like Dev Boot Camp, Bit Source, and CodeTN, are helping to destroy these stereotypes.

And there is a real future for this kind of work:

The national average salary for IT jobs is about $81,000 (more than double the national average for all jobs), and the field is set to expand by 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than most other occupations.

Our economy has been shifting away from traditional blue-collar jobs in industries like coal, steel, and manufacturing for decades. Those types of jobs are also being wiped out by automation, and that trend is not going to stop. It would make more sense for our government to help workers transition into sectors that actually have a future, like programming, rather than making empty promises of bringing back jobs that are likely lost forever.

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