Why Coding IS the Next Blue Collar Job

A recent article by Wired proclaimed that ‘the next big blue-collar job is coding’. It blew up immediately online, with equally as many people agreeing and disagreeing with it. So who’s right and who’s wrong? It depends on a lot things. Personally, we think Wired makes a valid point and that some (not all, but some) of the naysayers missed it.

Here’s why we think coding really IS the next blue collar job.

Firstly, we don’t mean that by the time you finish reading this article, computer programmers will be the new janitors (albeit better paid). We’re talking long term – a decade from now, maybe even more. And we’re not saying that it will definitely happen either… just that it’s a possibility.

There is no denying that a large chunk of the world’s population is using technology for more and more daily tasks. Think about it; you wake up to the sound of your phone’s alarm. You browse the news on a laptop, tablet or phone over your morning coffee. You talk to family and friends, do your shopping, banking, and even parts of your job online. You store all of your favourite content and important information in the cloud.

And thanks to the Internet of Things, soon your home will be filled with smart devices that automatically switch on lights at sunset, alert you when you’re running out of milk and even boil the kettle for that morning cup of joe while you’re waking up to sound of your alarm.

Technology is only going to become more important in every aspect of our lives as time goes on. And what makes it all work? Code.

The crux of Wired’s article was that in the same way factory workers helped power the industrial revolution, computer programmers help power the rapid technological advancements we’re seeing right now. This could pick up so much more momentum in the not too distant future that coders become as commonplace as, say, construction workers. And with schools finally realising the importance of teaching code at an early age, it’s fair to say that in a decade or so, it will be entirely feasible that high school students will graduate with at least a rudimentary knowledge of programming.

Furthermore, anyone born in the 1990s and after is a digital native. They don’t know a life without the internet, and most of them don’t know how to survive without a smartphone (okay, that may be a slight exaggeration). They’re already more inclined towards the technical side of, well, everything. Combine that with better access to learning code, and you’ve got yourself a ready made army of future software developers.

As the Wired article rightly details, the amount of programming jobs available overall is expected to grow by around 12% between 2014 and 2024. And the areas in which they’re being hired is expanding too. You’ll now find coders across the entire tech spectrum, from IT to data analysis to engineering and even designers. Currently the average salary for IT jobs in the US sits at $81,000 per annum – that’s more than double the national average salary for all jobs.

That’s a clear indication that businesses are willing to invest in programmers, which will in turn drive more people to join the lucrative coding community. That, in turn, will make coding more of a commonplace occurrence. Do you see where we’re going with this?

Sure, calling future coders ‘blue collar’ workers could be a bit of a stretch. It will definitely take several years for the demand and supply of programmers to balance out (and tip in the other direction), and even then it’s unlikely that we’ll see software developers on the same salary as janitors – not in the short term at least. But current signs show that there could be a trend in that direction.

Whatever happens, one thing is for sure; the near and not-so-near future of tech and coding is going to be very, very interesting.


Read the full Wired article here: https://www.wired.com/2017/02/programming-is-the-new-blue-collar-job/

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