The US Department of Labor’s recent publication of the Occupation Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, outlines the changing work environment we live in. The great news for programmers is that their share of employment is expected to increase by 32% between 2008-2018. Yet, those who get the higher paying jobs will need a few features in their bag.
First of all, employers are looking for programmers with knowledge of how to make use of parallel computing. Take for example the C++ written MySQL database management system. It currently only supports single-threaded replication, and because database writes are using multi-threading, the servers that are replicating that data are falling behind because they don’t run at the same speed. Hardware upgrades don’t always equate to improved performance in software, because the software may or may not support multi-threading. Corporations are pushing ahead to multi-core processing which demands programmers have the skill to implement software to match.
Secondly, employers are looking for programmers with comprehensive theoretical knowledge. One article summarizes this idea well, saying there is need for mathematitians who can write good code, which are hard to come by. Good programmers often cannot understand high end mathematics to be able to achieve intended outcomes. The better programmers, then, are the ones with the theoretical edge.
Thirdly, employers are looking for good programmers. Most good mathematicians can’t express their complex models and ideas in good code. The previously mentioned article makes a great point that “programming skill is as essential as speaking English.” Without the ability to articulate models and program designs companies need in a way that produces good code, the programmer will not be in as high of demand.
Lastly, employers are looking for programmers with knowledge of security. Software can no longer win out on security through obscurity. Hackers have the time and energy to scrutinize anything they set their minds to, and the recent number of security breaches exemplifies that fact. Corporations can lose significant amounts of money cleaning up the messes of information leaks and are taking preventative measures by spending more money to hire programmers with security knowledge.
The programmers who will get the best jobs will have these well rounded qualities. Any programmer should seek to better themselves in these areas, even if they are currently at a job. The long term personal and corporate benefits are certainly worth it. Those with significant deficiency in theoretical knowledge can look towards getting additional education, and those lacking technical skill can to free lance work, taking classes, writing iPhone apps, and the like. Currently, there is a great opportunity with Safelight’s Secure C/C++ Coding education program developers and corporations alike ought to take advantage of. The new dawn of the internet has brought a momentum towards technological drivenness that is only increasing. Jobs for programmers are increasing, but the market is looking for not just good programmers, but good thinkers–people who are able to conceptualize complex models and implement them.