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12 predictions for the future of programming

Peter Wayner | Feb. 4, 2014
If hitting a target is hard and hitting a moving target is even harder, then creating a new hit technology is next to impossible because the shape and nature of the target morphs as it moves. Think of building a swish new laptop just as laptops are heading out of favor, or a must-have mobile app just as smartphones plateau, or a dynamite tablet experience just as the wearable future takes hold.

Future of programming prediction No. 12: Management will continue to misunderstand coders and coding

One of the most painful conversations is listening to nonprogrammers in suits make requests. They saw Facebook or eBay or some cool demo site do something slick, and now they want you to move that button over a smidge. While you're at it, make it behave just like that cool example. Sometimes these requests work out, but often they end in frustration, as the suits don't get what they want.

The typical response is to try to hire a 22-year-old graduate from Stanford. No other school will do. A 23-year-old is already over the hill and probably thinking about life outside of the office. The 22-year-old will be able to apply the bazillion hours to add that sheen of coolness to the CSS.

The suits could spend the years learning the technology, but it's simpler to bid up a few youngsters. Their inability to understand the basic technology is one of the biggest reasons for age discrimination. The only solution that comes to mind is to search for some unicorn programmer. No 30-year-olds or non-Stanford grads need apply.

The companies that get beyond the dreams and find a way to harness the talents of everyone else are the ones that will be the ones who find success. They'll find a way to work at a sane pace to create stable software that offers just enough features to be useful.


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