Coding shall be another solved problem

What will be to [web] development what the phone was to photography?

Machine Learning

Lauren Mendoza said it right in her Coding is over rant. But because she has the beginner’s view all over her sentences everyone got so so so mad. The problem why coding is over is not CRUD, frameworks, CMS’s or because “coding is dumb”.

Coding is over because machine learning is here to stay.

Don’t worry, no SkyNet is coming. I don’t mean computers will program themselves. I don’t mean software will pop into existence inside scary machines. I mean that the essence of the way we program computers today, by scripting their actions will gradually fade away making room for new concepts and practices which enable A.I. development.

But for now, if you worry about coding, then the first item for your concern is that coding today is a trade (a craft). It is a metaphor or compliment at best to call someone a “front end engineer”.

Because coding is becoming a trade, a craft, coding is common, over staffed, and it requires efficiency added to it. Any trade in history went through this cycle: initial boom based on scarcity and requirement of individual skill, followed by innovation removing individual skill and scarcity. We’re simply waiting for the industrial revolution of computer programming, which today is a lot like manual labor.

Programming a computer is no different today than it was a while ago to make clothing or shoes or iron. But when technology appeared that made outputting clothing or shoes a million units per week, then it was over. In computer programming the revolution of the industry is artificial intelligence.

Do you know what should coders fear? Here is a quick list:

  • that they don’t know maths: this is what computers run on, mathematical constructs, and if your code editor is a word processor not a mathematical problem solving tool, you’re in trouble.
  • that they don’t know statistics and statistical models: in the near future about everything will consolidate and to work with big data you need modeling like you need air.
  • that they don’t understand graph theory: you are a graph yourself so you should learn about it even outside of professional endeavors.
  • that they don’t grasp recursion and functional patters: basically if all you can write is “code” you will be replaced if not physically at least conceptually.
  • that they don’t know algorithms by heart: oh the favorite whining of everyone (me included) about big co interviews, but the truth is simple: you want your surgeon to know all those darn anatomical teeny weeny parts inside of you, right? Then a person programming the brain of my online existence better know their algorithms, I say!
  • and that they don’t know python: you gotta know python. Like really, you gotta know python! :D

In other words, coding is over unless you really are an engineer.

Fear not your lack of education, fear only your basic skill set.

I don’t know (m)any of the things above and I fear for myself because I am still trading in code. I am learning my ass off so that I will not be a deprecated resource when I turn 40 and start shouting “ageism!”. Oh, and I also convinced people to call me a manager, haha, maybe that’ll do the trick before I must go through those darn Hadoop tutorials.

Machine learning will change everything. Everything.

It will be the industrial revolution all over again but it will also revolutionize its own industry: information technology. Who will require “websites” when the computer will interact naturally in all kinds of shapes and forms? Many small businesses. Therefore coders will become one of two things: low paid workers or Swiss watch makers, in both cases nothing like what coding is today: a sellers market.

Coding is dumb?

“Coding” exists because of the web. Back in the dark ages before it, you had a very, very high entry barrier before calling yourself a programmer. Many abstraction upon abstraction and protocol upon protocol iterations later and you have CSS, HTML and the DOM and we have you writing “code” for “tasks”. No architecture, no pattern, no design, not even elementary understanding of underlying technology which makes your “coding” possible. Hordes of coders which get thicker and thicker by an educational worldwide effort to transform every miner into a coder, every school child into a coder, every single person into someone who can write code.

Yet, coding is required. From the perspective of software eating the world, you must mutate to digest it when you choose the fight to eat it back: that means learn to code the software. Or, you choose the flight option and quit and go to a poor warm weather country and mock us the fools who fight the invasion, indirectly sponsoring the possibility of your nomadic lifestyle. Both work.

My point is, by all means learn to code, be a coder, but expect it to be a minor achievement in your life, career and future.

I write so you feel like you’ve just had an idea. It’s a nice feeling.

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