Geometry was my downfall in high school. Languages weren’t much better. I have an aversion to memorizing material. All those theorems and all that vocabulary made my head spin. On the other hand, my brief but spectacular introduction to organic chemistry was a delight. I loved puzzling out how elements combined to form compounds. Years later, I experienced the same delight when I discovered a chain of 1s and 0s could create computer code.
Simple coding is no more difficult than picking strawberries. Americans don’t like to do the latter which is why we need migrant workers. Coding, however, isn’t physically intensive, pays well and the nation has a growing need to hire those who can do it. Clive Thompson predicts computer programming will be the next blue-collar job. (“Code Is King,” by Clive Thompson, Wired, Dec. 2016, pg. 40.)
I believe Thompson. From my experience, coding is less about being a wunderkind and more about being a proletariat. The work doesn’t demand knowledge of algorithms, and is “something equivalent to the skilled work at a Chrysler plant.” (Ibid pg. 40) A coal miner, accustomed to being a team player and working with engineering technology could also adapt to the job. Happily, coding pays an average of $81,000 a year.
Because coding is skilled rather than intellectual work, employees needn’t enroll for an expensive degree in computer science. Community college courses will do. And, after training, a job is assured. “…the field is set to expand by 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than most occupations.” (Ibid pg. 40.)
The technology we fear will destroy jobs could create them, says Thompson. That’s good news for the working man and woman.
(Originally published 1/31/17)