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Programmers will become the new Blue-Collar Workers

Is programming a blue-collar job? A few days ago I discovered an article which was published on WIRED. The Author stated that “the next big blue-collar job is coding”. How is such a statement possible in a world where great developers are paid a yearly salary of $120,000 and more?

Today’s State of Salaries

Have a short look onto HIRED’s “state of salaries” of software developers and you will see that developers in the United States are earning significantly higher salaries than their worldwide counterparts. U.S. developers usually earn a salary of more than $100,000 per year. In European cities, the yearly salary is clearly below $100,000. Londoner’s developers are getting paid around $73,000 per annum and software engineers from Paris earn $49,000 per year. These numbers sound impressive. US software engineers are earning more than most European managers. But these numbers only represent job offers on HIRED. What about all the other programming jobs like security maintenance, data processing, and other tasks in small and medium sized companies. These companies cannot keep pace with the salaries big corporations like Amazon, Microsoft, or Apple are able to pay for their tech staff. So are these HIRED numbers distorted?

Coding Superstars

A developer does not equal a developer. Many schools are facing the reality by offering coding courses for kids. Programming is not anymore a skill of the wunderkind. It is a learnable skill. If schools kids are already learning to code at the age of 8 years we will soon see 13 years old teenager who is able to build and maintain a sling JavaScript program for the local bank. People might still have a distorted view of programmers. Programmers are nerds or super rich and successful entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg. These nerds are today’s rock stars and many kids from around the globe start developing at a very young age.

No Barriers to Become a Developer

Blue-collar jobs are seen as the pillar of the middle class. Donald Trump defines them as “industry jobs” or “mining jobs”. In Germany, we define it as anyone who acquired an ausbildung (apprenticeship). They define the middle-class and those jobs usually don’t have a large barrier to entry. You don’t need 10 years of experience to get an entry-level job.
The barriers to becoming a developer are gone. Anyone who decides to become a developer now has the chance to do so. You can learn to code completely for free or very low cost on codeschool.com, udemy.com, edx.org, khanacademy.org, and many other different platforms. There are many boot camp’s which you can join and learn to program within weeks or months. Harvard University and many other universities are offering free online courses which you can join and become the best developer if you put in the work.

You Don’t need to Program a Self-Driving Car

If you think about software developers you might still think about nerds who are programming TESLA’s self-driving cars. But it is not only about these high-skilled jobs. There are thousands or even millions of companies worldwide who just need someone to manage their small CRM or login page. Most companies don’t require the best-skilled developers of the world.

We Still Need The Best of the Best

Don’t understand me wrong. We will still need superstar developers. Amazing developers who are working to get to the point of singularity. People who are programming self-driving cars, Alexa, and Cortana. Highly skilled developers will have the most secure and best-paid jobs in the world. We need them and they are crucial for our digital world. It is just that most IT jobs don’t require the best of the best.

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