In a recent Joel on Software forum post Thinking of Leaving the Industry, one programmer wonders if software development is the right career choice in the face of broad economic uncertainty:
After reading the disgruntled posts here from long time programmers and hearing so much about ageism and outsourcing, I’m thinking of leaving the industry. What is a good industry to get into where your programming skills would put you at an advantage?
Joel Spolsky responded:
Although the tech industry is not immune, programming jobs are not really being impacted. Yes, there are fewer openings, but there are still openings (see my job board for evidence). I still haven’t met a great programmer who doesn’t have a job. I still can’t fill all the openings at my company.
Our pay is great. There’s no other career except Wall Street that regularly pays kids $75,000 right out of school, and where so many people make six figures salaries for long careers with just a bachelors degree. There’s no other career where you come to work every day and get to invent, design, and engineer the way the future will work.
Despite the occasional idiot bosses and workplaces that forbid you from putting up Dilbert cartoons on your cubicle walls, there’s no other industry where workers are treated so well. Jesus you’re spoiled, people. Do you know how many people in America go to jobs where you need permission to go to the bathroom?
Stop the whining, already. Programming is a fantastic career. Most programmers would love to do it even if they didn’t get paid. How many people get to do what they love and get paid for it? 2%? 5%?