Are software developers becoming obsolete?

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I’ve heard an opinion that one day programmers will become obsolete, as software development becomes more and more accessible. Because, as someone at Quora put it, development will become “just a matter of dragging, dropping and hooking up components/widgets”.

I don’t think that software development can become a matter of dragging and dropping. Therefore, it won’t be accessible to everyone. And here is why.

Software development can be divided into two main activities: “serving problems” and “serving computers” (code/networks/operating systems/browsers/etc.).

“Serving computers” is becoming easier with time for the most of us (of course, if you’re not working on low-level programming or anything like that).
Gone are the times when we we all had to worry about pointers and memory management. Programming languages and frameworks are becoming increasingly high-level.

But the “serving problems” part won’t become any easier. We will still need a way to define the logic of solving these problems. Hence, we will still need a language to define this logic. We might use even more high-level programming languages in the future, but we will still need someone to think about app details and code their logic using whatever the tool will be popular in 10 years.

In my opinion, most of us programmers are not really engineers, we are more of information architects who specify every little detail of the application behavior. Applications won’t become any simpler, so making them is not likely to become a lot easier too.

 

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2 Comments

  1. While it seems demand for software developers will be strong for the foreseeable future, how long will it be before these engineers are replaced by the very software that they are tasked to create?

    • I’m pretty sure software development will be one of the last professions to be replaced with software. As I wrote in the article:

      But the “serving problems” part won’t become any easier. We will still need a way to define the logic of solving these problems…
      In my opinion, most of us programmers are not really engineers, we are more of information architects who specify every little detail of the application behavior.

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