"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, December 13, 2013

Gates Seek to Flood Job Market with Programmers--Pushes the New Code Literacy

At one time, computer programming was a glamorous occupation in the U. S.  All that changed when the corporate race the bottom began chasing the cheapest programming labor in India, and when that became too scandalous, then Bill Gates started lobbying for unlimited work visas in order to import the cheapest programming labor.  Think of these exploited workers as high tech gardeners who don't have to hide at night for fear of deportation.

So it should come as no surprise that both the left and right aisles of Washington's corporate jet are now calling for, that's right, more programmers:

. . . .The effort has earned endorsements from tech companies, celebrities, and politicians, including both President Barack Obama and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R - VA), who each released video statements urging students to participate.
"Don't just download the latest app, help design it," Obama said in a video address released this week. "Don't just play on your phone, program. No one's born a computer scientist, but with a little hard work — and some math and science — just about anyone can become one."
The Hour of Code is part of Code.org's broader campaign to encourage computer science education at more classrooms, bridging what many see as a growing gap between Silicon Valley and US curricula. The Bureau of Labor estimates that more than 140,000 computer science jobs are added to the American economy every year, while according to the National Science Foundation, just 40,000 college students are graduating with computer science degrees.
Code.org founder Hadi Partovi, a former Microsoft executive, aims to reverse that trend by promoting computer programming among students and educators, though there are institutional hurdles, as well. One of the problems, he says, is that many US states recognize programming courses as an elective, rather than a core component of math and science classes. States like Washington and Idaho changed their policies this year, though many — including California — have not.

"In California, computer science has the same classification as a class on horseshoe making," Partovi told the Wall Street Journal
Of course, students are far out ahead of Microsoft on this.  The Dept. of Labors Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012) has the real story on why computer programming is not what it once was (my bolds).  But as Silicon Valley reasons, it sure can't hurt to drive down labor costs some more:
Job Outlook
Computer Programmers
Percent change in employment, projected 2010-20

Computer Programmers 12%+
Total, All Occupations 14%+

Employment of computer programmers is expected to increase by 12 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Since computer programming can be done from anywhere in the world, companies often hire programmers in countries where wages are lower. This ongoing trend will limit growth for computer programmers in the United States. However, companies may continue to hire computer programmers in low cost areas within the United States.
Most computer programmers work in computer system design and related services, an industry which is expected to grow as a result of an increasing demand for new computer software. This includes software offered over the Internet, which should lower costs for firms and allow for more customization for users. In addition, new applications will have to be developed for mobile technology and the healthcare industry. An increase in computer systems that are built into electronics and into other non-computer products should result in some job growth for computer programmers and software developers.
Job Prospects
Job prospects will be best for programmers who have a bachelor’s degree or higher and knowledge of a variety of programming languages. Keeping up to date with the newest programming tools will also improve prospects.
As employers increasingly contract with outside firms to do programming jobs, more opportunities are expected to arise for experienced programmers who have expertise in a specific area to work as consultants.

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