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Businesses Programming Stats IT

US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Programmer Jobs Will Decline 8% (computerworld.com) 349

theodp writes: Two weeks ago, as the nation's schools 'taught kids to program' with an Hour of Code, Microsoft and others celebrated a 6-year lobbying effort that culminated in the passage of legislation that made Computer Science a core K-12 subject, which the software giant said "will advance some of the goals outlined in Microsoft's National Talent Strategy." But on Tuesday, Computerworld reported that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has put somewhat of a buzzkill on the learn-to-code party, saying IT jobs will grow 12% over the next decade, although computer programmers will see an 8% decline. "Computer programming can be done from anywhere in the world, so companies sometimes hire programmers in countries where wages are lower," explained the government. The silver lining is that software developers, the largest occupational group in IT, will increase by 17% or 186,600, over this period. The nomenclature here is a little muddy, since "programmers" and "software developers" are often used interchangeably. Here's how they're distinguished in this article: "Programmers are focused on coding and implementing requirements, and that’s why they may be more susceptible to offshoring, in contrast to software developers who may be more engaged with the business, analyzing needs and collaborating with multiple parties."
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US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Programmer Jobs Will Decline 8%

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  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @12:43PM (#51165653)
    Short term, I guess its time for any remaining "programmers" to change their titles to "developers"...which is probably what's really driving the "growth."

    >> software developers who may be more engaged with the business, analyzing needs and collaborating with multiple parties

    In other words, don't ever let anyone figure out what exactly you do, and make sure you're attending more meetings than actually working. Mission accomplished!
    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @12:51PM (#51165711) Homepage

      Long term, get the hell out of tech, and stop giving your employers any loyalty ... because they'll drop you like a hot turd the moment they can.

      But, then, we've pretty much all known this teaching all kids to code was a self-serving thing to get them more cheap labor.

      Got kids you want to be gainfully employed? Get them into a trade like an electrician, welder, or plumber.

      Tech is being gutted to the lowest bidder. So all of these years of saying tech jobs were the way of the future ... well, so long, suckers.

      • by U2xhc2hkb3QgU3Vja3M ( 4212163 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @12:58PM (#51165753)

        Tech jobs were the way of the future until technology itself, created by those tech jobs, allowed companies to hire people overseas for those same jobs.

        • by jonnyj ( 1011131 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @01:30PM (#51165941)

          Tech jobs are only one way of using programming skills.

          When kids learn to code, they learn to think algorithmically. They learn to break down problems into smaller, easier to define sub-problems. They learn to construct models. They learn to apply numerical methods to problem evaluation. They learn about the relationship between inputs and outputs, cause and effect. They get to explore feedback mechanisms, hysteresis, system complexity and instability.

          These are highly desirable workplace skills in a wide range of occupations. Physicists, bankers, data scientists, pricing specialists, marketing consultants, accountants (the list is endless) all benefit from the analytical mind of a someone who understands how to code.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Darinbob ( 1142669 )

            I've been programming for 30 years, and only at the start was I in anything I call a "tech" job. Granted the term is flexible and vague but it mostly seems to imply working with technology without having to know how it actually works - pushing buttons on a black box, following the script from the certification course, thinking inside the box.

            There's been a disturbing trend recently about minimizing the amount of effort necessary to get a job. Taking the fewest classes, skipping the hard classes, skipping

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I didn't go into the traders, but I get the hell out of tech. Worked for 11 years as a dev, saw the writing on the wall and left. Now I'm a PharmD, making the same money, never have to work overtime and can land a job anywhere in the country.

        Fuck the silicon valley rat race.

        • I'm not discounting what pharmacists do -- they know more about drugs than most doctors. I am saying that they have a very nice, protected work life, the entry into the field and licensure is limited to keep supply low, and demand is high; you can go anywhere you want and get a pharmacy job. If I could tell "19-year-old Me" anything, it would be to study hard and get a job in s profession, rather than fight tooth and nail for the last remaining IT or developer jobs.

          The reason CVS and the like haven't remove

          • I'm not discounting what pharmacists do -- they know more about drugs than most doctors. I am saying that they have a very nice, protected work life, the entry into the field and licensure is limited to keep supply low, and demand is high; you can go anywhere you want and get a pharmacy job. If I could tell "19-year-old Me" anything, it would be to study hard and get a job in s profession, rather than fight tooth and nail for the last remaining IT or developer jobs.

            ...

            I've said it before, IT people and deve

          • What about designing and writing software? Isn't that supposed to be what software developers do? If you are not doing that are instead doing all that other stuff you mentioned, then I would argue that you weren't really doing software development. No wonder it sucked.
        • And why couldn't a robot vending machine do your job? It would be a lot cheaper

      • they'll train up for that too if the prices get too high. There are already laws in place to bring cheap blue collar labor in from overseas; mostly in corrupt right wing states in the South but their spread.

        Go into medicine. It's the last field that still has a Union (the AMA, who's smart enough to not call themselves a Union).
      • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @03:32PM (#51166803)

        Or just become useful. The problem is that so many programming jobs, in IT especially, are cookie-cutter. Anyone who can program can fill the role with minimal training. No degree or experience necessary, just present a certificate. But change it up a bit and it is very difficult to offshore the job. Know the math as well as programming, you'll be much more likely to keep your job even if your job is more difficult than moving around a box on a web page. Know the physics too, or the business, or the EE, or the economics, or whatever it is that the company actually *does*. In embedded systems learn how the system works, learn the hardware, learn the OS. Overall work together with the designers instead of sitting passively waiting for some bite sized pieces of programming assignments to filter down. Yes this is harder for junior level employees but that's also the best time to flex some mental muscles and learn new stuff, volunteer for projects, and make sure the boss thinks of you as more than adequate.

        And just by saying "tech" you dumb it down because tech is already dumbed down. Call it engineering or development or product creation, just call it anything other than something that can be done after a semester at a trade school.

      • Dude I was told on Slashdot to change my major from computer information systems to business as by 2015 no one would program anymore. WORST mistake EVER! If grads with 0 years experience can pull 70k while managers with 10 years pull 55k I think that advise is full of it if you don't mind me saying so

    • I thought this was about "engineers". My bad.

      Oh, developers https://youtu.be/Vhh_GeBPOhs [youtu.be]

    • I started as a software developer and because of this, knew that my role would be engaging more with the business, analyzing needs, and collaborating with multiple parties. Programmers just follow requirements. I do my own thing, especially when the requirements are stupid.
  • by scunc ( 4201789 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @12:48PM (#51165691)
    During that same time period, secretarial jobs will likely see an 8% drop in demand, but administrative assistants will see a 17% increase!
  • Unions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @12:48PM (#51165697)
    If there's going to be any hope for the American working class we're gonna need to get over our childish "I can make it on my own" attitudes and bring back organized labor and the power and protection it offers. It's ridiculous to think we as individuals can effectively bargain with mega corps. John Galt is a child's daydream...
    • Re:Unions (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @01:19PM (#51165881) Journal

      American working class we're gonna need to get over our childish "I can make it on my own" attitudes and bring back organized labor and the power and protection it offers

      That's indeed one of the most powerful propaganda gimmicks of the plutocrats: claiming unions are for unmanly wimps, and if you can't "cowboy" it out there on your own, you deserve to perish. They spend a lot of money to shove that message up the population.

      Of course, the rich have their crony "buddy system" that does pretty much what a union does. Bill Gates had access to a minicomputer as a kid because his parents had money and lived in the better school district. Mitt, Trump, and the Bush bro's had daddy's money and influence.

    • Re:Unions (Score:5, Interesting)

      by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @01:23PM (#51165903)

      We can bargain with megacorps quite effectively so long as supply and demand of labor is balanced. Compare your consumer experience when shopping for personal electronics (lots of competition, abundant supply) vs dealing with Comcast (monopoly). It's exactly the same with jobs - if you have a skill set which is in short supply, you will get great deals without any unions.

      So the best solution for oversupply of labor is for government to hire part of the workforce away from private market and put them on projects that reduce fixed costs of living for everyone else and increase disposable impact to purchase privately made goods. That's why New Deal worked well for recovery from Great Depression. If we build good roads, affordable housing, public transportation and affordable domestically produced energy, we provide lots of jobs while freeing up most of people's paycheck to go into private economy rather than mortgage and gas bill.

      So politics is a better direction to put your time in money than unions, although I guess the later is a useful stopgap measure and can be an organizing force for politics.

      • So, you are saying to use that 8% to rebuild Healthcare.gov?
      • by sinij ( 911942 )
        The key difference is that "I can go without one" can apply to a personal electronic device, but generally would not apply to feeding your own children.Consequently, labor supply side is largely inelastic, while demand is. You can see how, save substantial global population drop, megacorps would have upper hand.
        • by iamacat ( 583406 )

          Why would not feeding your children be a consideration in a balanced labor market? If I leave a job, I can find another job in reasonable time, so both me and my employer have choices and incentive to treat each other well. Just like most people consider having some kind of cell phone a necessity, but have a choice of Apple, Samsung, LG and many others, so prices and features stay great.

          It's said that most people never lived under such sane conditions, all while our public infrastructure is crumbling from d

    • Question: How is unionizing going to keep the jobs from going overseas?? I'll go further and state unionizing will just further accelerate the process of shoving more jobs away from the American working class.

      If I may borrow from the famous Starwars quote with modification: "The more you tighten your grip, rsilvergun, the more jobs will slip through your fingers."

      • the end of work visas. Public Education to train local talent. Requirements to hire local talent. You use Unions to lobby gov't and organize voting blocks that can stand up to the corps dollars. You also use Unions to get information out there to voting blocks so people know how to vote. Look at the AARP for a good example of a political organization that protects it's members interests. Their the reason the Right Wing hasn't been able to defund Medicare.

        It's a "you can go home, but you can't take the ba
        • Well don't get your hopes up. Sanders is a feckless rug to be walked over by congress, and Trump is the worm that turns. Sorry to be a downer, but I'm holding out for much change from the bought-and-paid-for "Democracy".

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      They haven't brought power or protection for a long time. They do so for line workers and people that are easily replaced and have a fixed cost (manual labor etc). People that aren't easily replaced (eg. programmers/developers) with fluctuating incomes (based on capability rather than seniority) don't benefit from a labor union. Unless you want all of us to work for 35k/year and 40h/week regardless of what you do and pay dues on top of that, you don't know what you're asking for.

    • I really don't see any good labor unions have done recently. They were vital for securing safe work conditions and capping the number of hours in the work week. Now a days it just seems like all they do is prevent incompetent people from being fired. I'm not saying unions can't have a positive role. It just seems like they don't. If I were a teacher I'd rather be making 80K (rather than 40K) and not be protected from being fired. If there was ever a race to the bottom, it seems like unions are partly
  • by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @12:51PM (#51165721)

    The BLS is confusing Software Developer with Systems Analyst.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      I suspect that also.

      But one problem is that one should get several years of hands-on experience in programming before becoming an analyst. But if more of it is offshored, then there are fewer chances to get such experience.

      You can't just major in "systems analyst" and be good at it out of school. A lot of it is about working with people and business to learn how people communicate ideas, often indirectly, and how they interact with technology and UI's.

      Office politics is often a big part of it, and if you do

  • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @12:54PM (#51165729)

    Given the distinction described, programmers being just implementation and 'developers' actually understanding the needs and wider context, programmers really should be on the decline, and there shouldn't be room for a 'software developer' to need 'programmers' as time goes on.

    Already the divide has been largely responsible for some of the most infuriating software I've had to use. The people actually creating it have no clue about the wider context. Meanwhile you have 'architects' that don't know the first thing about how the code works or can work or most critically how it wouldn't work. Somehow enterprise industry has latched onto the model of 'architect' versus 'implementer' and never shall the two cross and it makes for some terrible software.

    Sometimes it makes a mountain out of a molehill (don't need a massive team to maintain what amounts to be a simple script, and often giving it a massive team makes it senselessly more complex) and sometimes it does address some issues of tedium associated with a genuinely complex project. For the first part, people should not confuse 'importance' with 'complexity'. People presume that something very important warrants a large team, which is often wrong. For the latter, the large team may be warranted, but no coders should be exempt from understanding the context for their work. I've seen that last bit happen all the time, to the point of bad coding decisions resulting in the programmer resenting the paying customer for what ultimately is the programmer's lack of understanding the use case rather than the customer 'not being smart enough to deal'.

    • Given the distinction described, programmers being just implementation and 'developers' actually understanding the needs and wider context, programmers really should be on the decline, and there shouldn't be room for a 'software developer' to need 'programmers' as time goes on.

      I have never seen anybody who is this mythical 'programmer' who is some flunky who people hand complete specs to.

      Well, that's not true ... at one point my company had outsourced some coding to India. They got shit code, delivered lat

    • Somehow enterprise industry has latched onto the model of 'architect' versus 'implementer' and never shall the two cross and it makes for some terrible software.

      I'm a software architect and I have to fight against this model almost every sprint.

  • Not bloody likely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @12:57PM (#51165747)

    Everybody tried outsourcing and realized that it doesn't work. Creating a great product requires creativity and each contributor capable of saying no to superiors and standing up for their improvements to the solution. This mind set does not yet exist much outside Silicon Valley, let alone USA and huge lifestyle disparity between american bosses and outsourced coders would not allow it to flourish.

    By the time developing countries have the kind of talent in greater quality/quantity than US, labor will not be that cheap anymore because employees will know their worth. At that point, I will just move there.

    • by sinij ( 911942 )
      Outsourcing does work, for some definitions of work.

      In my mind there is no question that outsourcing results in inferior work that translates in less secure, less robust product. None of this matters, as long as it is still possible/acceptable to blanket-absolve any corporate responsibility for software product flaws. In software quality doesn't seem to matter, as a consequence outsourcing will continue prospering. Change that, and the jobs might come home.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ADRA ( 37398 )

        Outsourcing can and does produce as good if not better software. The problem is that unless you're very familiar with said outsourcing organization, you're essentially rolling the dice between horrible results and amazing results per dollar spent. If this sounds exactly like hiring an any regular employee, then you're exactly right. All HR related work needs to be adjudicated properly or you're risking your business viability. Given that giant American mega-corps haven't fallen into ruin, it seems like they

        • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @02:04PM (#51166165)

          Outsourcing can and does produce as good if not better software.

          People can and do win lottery. In my experience, outsourcing to China and India results in a quality drop. Indian teams tend to practice cowboy coding and are more comfortable releasing without robust testing. Chinese teams tend to value seniority and rigid hierarchy, as such problems that are discovered are not communicated and as a result go unaddressed. Sure, all of this can happen without outsourcing, but outsourcing makes it a lot more likely.

    • when you do what the summary suggests: Hire some local folks to feed the requirements to the offshore guys. The rank and file coder that used to make a decent wage is what's going to drop 8%. Those are a lot of middle class jobs going *poof*...
    • by goruka ( 1721094 )
      It's not likely, it's a fact. I work in South America (Buenos Aires) and there are dozens of thousand software developers and companies that work for companies in the US. As with everything, some are attractive because they have excellent track records and some are attractive because they are cheap (they are bidding on their first projects so they can work for lower wages).
      I myself ran companies that outsourced jobs from over there successfuly. Large companies like IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, etc. even hire p
  • by bazmail ( 764941 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @01:03PM (#51165779)
    Why are you guys trying to create more coders with your new K-12 core subject? All that shit is being off-shored now. And thats before you look at the H1-B situation. You'd be better off flipping burgers. lol
  • What am I? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by freak0fnature ( 1838248 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @01:12PM (#51165837)
    Am I a programmer? Am I a Software Developer? Maybe I'm a Software Engineer! Maybe a software architect... honestly I can't tell anymore
    • by sinij ( 911942 )

      Am I a programmer? Am I a Software Developer? Maybe I'm a Software Engineer! Maybe a software architect... honestly I can't tell anymore

      Thus went Bob's from accounting existential crisis.

    • Code Monkey
    • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

      I dont mind being called any of those things, just please dont call me a coder.

    • Do you even MBA bro?!

      HR: So, what do you do?
      Job Seeker: I MBA

      HR: How long have you been doing it?
      Job Seeker: I've been MBA-ing for several years now.

      HR: Are you certified to code and develop?
      Job Seeker: My MBA-ing allows me to certify an anything you need me too. So if I don't got it, I can get it!

      HR: YOUR PERFECT!!! Can you start...yesterday?!!!

  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @01:22PM (#51165893)

    Great to see the 5 year plan to increase the number of programmers is already paying off. Time to push for more STEM.

  • that the US is going to kick out 8% of the people working in programming jobs in the US who are only there on H1B visa, right?

    Right?

  • income based student loan repayment plans are good even if you get a job for a few years then you are replied by an H1B then they can't touch your mc job min wage pay.

  • Good news everyone.

    Though the number programming job is in the U.S. will fall 8% in the next decade, the number of programming jobs in New Delhi will rise 120%
  • by Kagato ( 116051 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @02:48PM (#51166495)

    The BLS stats miss the point.

    1) The ability to off-shore programming jobs has been a reality for 20 years. It's done nothing but increase my bill rate. Here's the deal. Accenture, IBM, Wipro, etc come in to take care of all the IT needs. On paper the costs are cheaper. Five years later the companies that did off-shore development are typically very unhappy with their work product. Too much re-work, not enough velocity of code getting into prod. Once a offshore company has your entire IT process they can turn the screws and increase bill rates.

    I come in with teams that kick out the off-shore units, clean house and usually within a year the problem we have is our backlog doesn't have enough work. We're just too efficient. The reason it's increased my bill rate is companies pulled back from college hire programs. It really creates a problem keeping experience developers in the pipeline. I don't have much competition domestically because the ivy league MBAs that decided to offshore decided not to invest in the next generation workforce. I laugh all the way to the bank.

    2) Start Up Factor. You don't need to get hired to make money programing. There are hundreds of thousands of developers making money by releasing their own apps.

    • by creimer ( 824291 )

      I come in with teams that kick out the off-shore units, clean house and usually within a year the problem we have is our backlog doesn't have enough work. We're just too efficient.

      I've done that for I.T. support work. The previous help desk company got caught generating unnecessary tickets to increase billing. The Fortune 500 company kicked them out and brought in the company I worked for. We were given 90 days to clean up a 900+ ticket queue, and got it done in 30 days. A year later the Great Recession kicked in. We were told to do the same level of work for half the cost. I got laid off because I was too efficient. Given the choice of firing three people or firing me, I got the boo

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