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What if my child wants to become a programmer?

I often look into my son's eyes, staring at them completely fallen in love. No surprise though; that's my beautiful child and of course i wish him all the best: a good life, good friends, a true love and, possibly, a good job.

But hey, what if my child wants to become a programmer?


Maybe it's too early to answer a question like this, just because within almost 20 years our IT world will probably be shaken from the grounds. Maybe the Web will be completely tranformed, but one thing i know for sure: there will be programmers. Lots, of programmers.

And just because of that i think that we now have the responsability to build a better IT world for our kids of tomorrow, even becoming more responsable and aware that what we do today, as coders, will have an impact on the society of tomorrow.

The question, however, still remains: would you recommend this job to your child? Will you maybe discourage him? And also, don't you think we should start judging software, tools and programming languages based on their potential impact on the future rather than on immediate needs, acknowledging some sort of social responsibility on what we do?

Just let me know DEV people :)

This article was written while listening to La Casa Elettrica #01.

Cover image by Paul Nong

Top comments (10)

kippert profile image
Kevin Timmins

Stop thinking about programming as the end goal. Start to think of it more like a means to an end the same as spoken language, mathematics, shopping and things like that. This way you are encouraging your child to do what they want and ensuring that they have the tools with which to do them. Programming is just a tool, the more people are able to program the less of a barrier it will be to cool business ideas. You wouldn't say "should I encourage my child to learn to speak?" You'd say it was incredibly important to every day living.

jonstrayer profile image
Jon Strayer

Most of the world economy "only" produces services. We've been heading in that direction for decades if not centuries.

As worker productivity increases it takes fewer and fewer people to produce more and more stuff. There isn't anything for the rest of us to do but provide services.

gustavojordanra profile image
Gustavo Jordan • Edited

I think, rather than tell them about what you want them to be, we should pay attention to what they really like to do, and give advice, but we should not decide by them, they should be, what they feel happy to be, as that will make them the best in any work they decide to take, and for that time in the future, we and our kids as a youg by that time, should already know if they really like this kind of job or not.

Any work is great as long as it allow you to have a decent way of live and make you feel happy about what you do, is not a requirement to be rich to be happy.

xanderyzwich profile image
Corey McCarty

I keep hearing (and personally believe) that programming in the future will be less of a profession and more of a skill, kind of like typing letters or working with spreadsheets. I plan on handling this with my kids in a scope of teaching them to troubleshoot things and take them apart to see what is really going on. The base skills needed for a mechanic, programmer, or detective are largely the same. Look at the facts, and evaluate the possibilities to determine a best guess at what's wrong. Once you help them to build these skills then moving between fields centered around them can be fairly easy. I know that personally I worked in automotive maintenance and food service before I finished college and it was there that I honed some of my most important skills. From restaurant work I learned soft skills and requirement elicitation as well as problem resolution. In auto maintenance I learned more direct troubleshooting of complex systems and how to use tools for their strengths and not always for their designed intention. When you have the basics of problem solving then you can take it in many directions. Good senses of analysis and curiosity will serve them well in addition.

israelmuca profile image
Israel Muñoz

I'd encourage it as it was encouraged to me.

I was fortunate to have a cousin with a computer repair shop when I was growing up, so I had a lot of hardware available for me to play around with! This shaped up my world, literally, and it helped me uncover my passion for computers in general.

So if I ever have kids, I'll definitely try to nudge them in the direction, but also make sure that they're able to check other hobbies/career paths out, to make sure that in the end, they do what they love to do, as that's the most important thing.

cecilelebleu profile image
Cécile Lebleu

If a child said “I want to be a programmer”, I say “Go for it”. There are so many skills to be learned within programming that, really, the sooner the better. Whether programming will be the same, or at all similar in 20 years, isn’t really the question to ask: of course things are changing and will continue to change. Maybe in a few years most programmers won’t even write code. I certainly don’t know, nobody really knows.
But it is likely that teaching kids programming skills will set the up for many successes and possibilities — as well as teaching them many other life skills like cooking, gardening, social skills, etc. Everything is related.
Not necessarily will they program as programmers do today, but the knowledge in tech and life in general I think is really valuable for everyone

israelmuca profile image
Israel Muñoz

It's important to consider if the market will saturate.
Depending on where you check, currently there are over half a million open positions for developers, and there were only over 60K CS graduates last year.
Add another... what? 60K for bootcamps and self-learners and we're still very far away from a market saturation.

Now, imagine all of the sudden half a million people learn to code. How many new companies will be created as well, that will require more developers?

A lot of industries are becoming IT, banking being a prime example! Also, everything is becoming "smart", so IoT will need a lot of developers.
So I don't think there will be market saturation for the next 20 - 30 years... if ever, because remember even though is a field that pays well, not everyone likes computers or likes programming, so there's that as well!

niorad profile image
Antonio Radovcic

I'd be happy if he does something where he isn't dreading Mondays, and counts the days until the weekend.

josephthecoder profile image
Joseph Stevens

Don't do it! Run! It's all stress and stupid high expectations, maybe she could be a painter, or a musician. Something peaceful

wolfhoundjesse profile image
Jesse M. Holmes

Are you okay?