Watched Robert “Uncle Bob” Martin talk about “The Future of Programming” and wholeheartedly recommend it. In the talk, Uncle Bob brings up interesting points about the growth of the programming profession:
- Roughly every five years, the number of programmers double.
- Conversely, half of the programmers at any point in time have less than 5 years of experience.
- The industry lacks an appropriate amount of teachers, so all the new people will make all the same mistakes over and over again.
Programming does not grow up this way. On top of that, programmer mistakes in everyday devices now are causing lethal damage to real people. Self-regulation inside the profession (which, like traditional crafts, I guess could reduce the onslaught of newcomers) and proper teaching are essential to keep growing and making code more reliable a foundation of modern societies.
That’s part of why I write, too. Because I found it was extremely hard to learn creating applications properly, not just hacking together something that barely works. I want everyone else to have a head-start compared to me. While educating myself, I discovered ancient wisdom in books from the 1970s – stuff you can still tell (or should I say: sell) people today, like how to decouple parts of your system. As if we, as a profession, suffer from collective amnesia. Old wine in new skins.
Now that I know some rough estimates about programming’s exponential growth, this makes sense. There just isn’t enough time and care put into teaching these practices properly. It’s hard enough to equip students with sufficient knowledge to become somewhat dangerous in front of a programming environment. The rest then is delegated to on-the-job training, which I imagine is pretty disappointing for all parties involved.