Every now and then we like to have someone do a guest post, with a topic of their own choosing. This time, we picked Kevin Miller (LI). Kevin is a front-end application developer, and host of the Coder Coversations podcast/YouTube channel. Check out his LinkedIn profile for more! — Ed.
I’m a front-end developer by trade for over 7 years, and I’ve been programming for longer than that, but my actual ‘educational’ background is in Accounting. My initial desire was to be in the financial industry, but God had other plans for me, and it led to me finding a home in the software industry.
In other words, since my background is more than just tech, I’m able to see patterns that are emerging in the market and make plans to navigate around them.
Despite what many dream-sellers who are profiting off of getting you into the industry are telling you, the reality is that the software industry is very chaotic and it moves extremely quickly. If you are not carefully and actively crafting your plan of action, you can get stuck in some very undesirable circumstances.
I created this article to outline some of the pitfalls of the industry that you will have to consider so that you don’t burn out or get stuck in perpetual stagnation. Something I like to say is that I love creating software, but I don’t necessarily love the ‘software industry’. Now, let’s move on to the meat of this article.
The number one issue you are likely to face in this industry is instability coming from a variety of sources.
1) Mergers & acquisitions
If you hear these two words, you might think how cool it is going to be for your current company to ‘merge’ with another company and all of the interesting changes that will bring.
The reality is if you hear those two words, layoffs will likely be following soon due to the new singular company ‘slimlining’ and the bigger company putting their people in place in the acquired company. If you are in the acquired company, you may want to begin marketing yourself on Linked in for new opportunities.
2) Rapidly changing technology
Where did the Ruby on Rails developers go? Rails was something I learned when I first startedgetting serious about programming. Thank God I never became a ‘Rails’ developer because I’d
either be a legacy developer stuck working on old apps or I’d be forced to learn a new set of technologies to be competitive in the marketplace.
That leads me to the next point. If you are not willing to continually learn new technologies and to keep your skillset sharp, you can get stuck in this industry very fast. New technologies are coming out all the time and your current tech stack has the very real possibility of becoming old hat quickly.
Either you are willing to adapt or you get left behind.
This is why it’s so important to create a learning regiment outside of work where you deal with technologies that you DO NOT use on your job everyday. You don’t want to become a one trick pony where you are tethered to one single framework in one slice of programming. You’re a ‘React’ developer?
What happens when React goes out of vogue and some new, hot framework is the rage? If you don’t learn something new, you will get stuck.
3) The AI revolution
AI is changing society rapidly. We have to deal with the effects of AI whether we like it or not.
Many people are terrified of AI eliminating their job prospects and for good reason.
There was a recent Hollywood strike over this same issue. Companies want to take the likeness of these actors and then have AI generate content with that likeness. This allows them to pay the actor once and then generate content into perpetuity using the image of that actor for free or for a low royalty that is significantly less than actually paying the actor.
Now, we see AI not only generating code, but also explaining how it works. The progression in AI’s capabilities is happening at a breakneck speed. Now some of you are wondering if AI will steal your coding job away with it’s ability to do everything at light speed at a fraction of the cost.
The answer is a very real MAYBE. Let’s be real. Corporations want to save money, so if they can replace workers with AI, then they will because they don’t have to pay AI. If you are mediocre, you are gone.
Right now AI, can generate code to produce an application, but is the application doing exactly what the client wants? Some tweaking by a human will be needed. It will still take a human to tweak and adjust the results to get the application to perform as desired.
The value isn’t in just being able to cobble together a basic application. The real value is in UNDERSTANDING on a deep level how all the technologies you are using works together and how they can be optimized to effectively produce the desired results.
So as always, competence will rule the day. Now is NOT the time to ‘take it easy’ and just coast along because with the aforementioned factors, the market WILL spank you, especially as we head deeper into the economic downturn. Beyond basic coding books, you should be learning about architecture and how to design systems and you should also be working on your soft skills and leadership skills.
The upcoming economic climate will be bad for those who are not serious about their careers, but limitless opportunities abound for those who seriously pursue upgrading their skillset.
Greatly skilled technologists are also at the forefront because they have the technical expertise to utilize all of these technologies to drastically speed up their workflows at a pace the average person cannot match.
Anyhow, thanks for checking out my post. You can find me at https://coderconvos.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevm254/