Programmers should plan for lower pay

" Programmers are paid surprisingly well given how much work it is to become one... we don't really understand why programmers are paid this well, and especially why this has persisted."

@cwebber In my ten years now working professionally I've seen a massive increase in the complexity of tasks expected for a programmer.

2008, you could still find good FT work just fixing up client's Wordpress site and writing some plugins in PHP and a smattering of Javascript. That was easy entry-level work that has almost completely dried up as people moved on to various SAAS offerings or just rely on a Facebook page.

The feeling to me is that us existing SWE built systems to pull the ladder up behind us. If you weren't on that ladder when it went up you now have a much harder time scaling your skills to the new ground floor everyone is working on -- Javascript SPAs etc.

I'm scared that the next ladder is being built right now, and how do I find it and get on it before I get left behind?

@lordbowlich I think learning fundamentals can keep you more "eternally fresh / malleable". SICP is a good place to start.

Main problem with that route is that you can learn enough to realize how terrible everything is, and become grouchy...

@cwebber Isn't SICP one of those infamous books that everyone has a copy of, but no one has read. 😜

Certainly my copy of Art of Computer Science is occupying that space on my desk right now.


@lordbowlich I've gone through it!

- Maybe go through The Little Schemer First. Not strictly necessary!
- First, read over a section in SICP. Don't spend too long if you get confused, just read it
- Now, watch the lecture
- Now, read the section again and try to enter in some of the exercises

Now you're finally going through SICP! (It took me about 3 years of on / off again to make it through.)

@cwebber Wow. 3 years is some serious dedication. SICP's been on my career reading list for some time, but keeps getting bumped down. I guess I should move it up in priority. Particularly since I haven't really gone through those kind of fundamentals in... 15 years now. I'm sure I'm plenty rusty at it.

@cwebber @lordbowlich
I found it super worthwhile but it helps a lot to have friends to go through it with. I organized a study group in 2018:

Unfortunately, we got out of sync when the holidays arrived (Thanksgiving->NYE) and stalled out towards the end of Chapter 3. One of these days I'll finish it!

Sign in to participate in the conversation

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!