We’ve heard a lot about what Joe the Plumber from Ohio thinks; what about Joe the Programmer? These last 8 years have been a real roller coaster for the programming profession. In 2000 any programmer who knew something about a hot development language could walk down the street and get a job paying high five figures or low sixes. Then the dot com bubble burst and by 2002 those same programmers were lucky to have a steady job. By 2004 things were picking up again and the last couple of years have been pretty good for programmers with the right skills. What’s next?
What does Joe think about all the new technology that has come of age in the last few years; stuff like SOA, SaaS, Open Source, Cloud Computing, Mashups, and Agile Development? Does Joe like this stuff, some of it, or none of it? How does he think it will affect his (or her) job and what skills will be in demand? What does Joe see as the effect it will have on his employment prospects and earning power? Joe the Plumber isn’t licensed and certainly doesn’t think unions are a good thing. Does Joe the Programmer think programmers should be licensed or be members of a union?
Does Joe the Programmer aspire to own his own business or to work for someone else’s business? If Joe wants to own his own business what could be done to help him achieve that goal? If Joe wants to work for someone else’s business what could be done to help him find those jobs and keep them?
Eight years ago Joe defined himself by the development environment he was skilled in. He could say I’m a VB programmer, I’m a Java programmer, I’m a C++ programmer, I’m a SAP programmer. Then about four years ago things started to bubble and a slew of new languages and development environments burst forth – Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, Ruby on Rails, .Net, Flash, Wikis, Widgets and various scripting languages. How has Joe kept up with this? How did he know which languages and environments to learn next? Did he pay for his own training or did his employer?
Is there even a real Joe the Programmer out there? Or is it more like Jason (or Jill) the Programmer/Web Designer who is twenty to thirty something and works for a small company or freelances and wants to stay current with new technology; and then John (or Judy) who is forty plus with kids and a house and works for a big company and wants to hold on to a steady income with benefits?
And what does Jinendra or Jaina or Johanne or Jazmin or Jacob think? Do all these people (Jason, Jill, John, Judy, Jinendra, Jaina, Johanne, Jazmin and Jacob) even work in the same profession any more? They live all over the world; do they compete with each other and drive down wages, or do they co-exist and make something possible that we are just starting to get a glimpse of?
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