Mamas you may want to encourage your babies to grow up to be programmers
by Ron Miller
We all know Eric Schmidt says some crazy things sometimes. Earlier this week, he was quoted as saying Android was more secure than iOS, which produced more than a few laughs from the audience. But the other day, Schmidt said something about developers that makes perfect sense.
Speaking at the Gartner Symposium/IT Expo in Orlando, Florida this week, Schmidt suggested that there was an increasingly important role for software developers inside every company and every type of business.
"My view is that any business that doesn't have software people embedded inside of it is going to be lagging the others," Schmidt told the Gartner analysts who were interviewing him.
If you look at the comment in the context of some other themes at the conference, it makes even more sense. That's because Gartner believes we are heading into a new era they are calling the Digital Industrial Economy. It will be driven by companies using programming talent to create digital products from just about anything and the catalyst Gartner predicts is a confluence of trends including big data, cloud, social and mobile along with the increasing use of sensors (otherwise known as the Internet of Things).
When I wrote about this economic transition yesterday on CITEworld, a friend of mine asked how would this affect a guy who fixes small engines down the street? Well, in theory, those engines would have sensors in them that tell the guy exactly what's wrong and that data would be shared with him because he's your regular mechanic. Programmers would build programs to make sense of that sensor data. Even today, every car mechanic I go to is using computers to diagnose issues in my car. Moving forward it will very likely be even more precise.
The point though is that it will take programming talent to make that transition happen because when everything is digital, everything will need to be programmed and that's a tremendous opportunity.
Schmidt also said that programmers in fact play a key role in the innovation economy. They are actually driving it. "There's a lot of evidence now that almost every business can be made more efficient and more creative by applying a small number of software programmers, a little bit of Big Data, a little bit of analytics to make them more efficient to deliver services better."
And in the years ahead, the programming languages may change. The platforms may change, but there will be a tremendous need for programming talent in every industry, regardless of what they do.
We're already seeing this in the car industry. We know that cars have had computers in them for years, but now the car is being seen much like a smartphone as a platform on top of which you can build apps. Some of these will be built by car company programmers. Some will be built by third parties, much like with smartphones, but they will all need programming talent to build the platform, the APIs and the apps.
This is no longer a technology company issue. It's a case where as Gartner put it, every company becomes a technology company and when that's the case, programmers win.
Schmidt may have been following a Gartner script to some extent when he said this, but he drove home the point of the importance of programmers to this new digitally driven world and that very likely means you're about to be in more demand than you ever imagined.
Photo credit: (c) Can Stock Photo
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