Richard Bucker

A message to my children

Posted at — May 8, 2016

When I was your age I had no idea what I was going to do for a living. I never understood what it was my father of or other family members actually did and what a day was comprised of. As a result it took until age 21 and 3 years of community college to finally find direction. Although I had been programming all manner of computer systems from age 13 it still did not feel like a profession.

The future of software development and the professional programmer is in question. Even today the 'haves' are starting to stratify. The top 30% of elite programmers are now the top 5% and it's getting smaller. Programming has again become a service or labor industry. Breaking into a real startup requires more than skills. It requires luck and networking.

So my advice is this. If you have an aptitude for programming then treat it as a hobby or recreation. There is nothing wrong with trying to become good at it just don't spend all your time on it. Find another major that would benefit from a solid foundation or understanding in software development and it's construction. As a manager or business owner you would better served knowing what is possible and when a programmer or consultant is bullshitting you.

Don't get me wrong. My skills have served me longer than I thought possible and has put a lot food on the table. However in the 1980s and 90s there was a lot of speculation about the future of programming in the large and very little has come to pass.

I hope you find a profession or vocation that serves you as well.