Greg Baugues

Autoworkers of Our Generation

Fifty years ago, an autoworker could provide a middle-class existence for his family. Bought a house. Put kids through college. Wife stayed home. He didn’t even need a degree.

That shit’s over. Detroit just went bankrupt.

No one’s got it better than developers right now. When the most frequent complaint you hear is “I wish recruiters would stop spamming me with six-figure job offers,” life’s gotten pretty good.

At this particular moment in history, demand for developers outpaces supply. There’s not enough staff to go around, so companies fight for talent: huge salaries, cool offices, flexible hours, in-house chef.

To upset the labor market, one of two things needs to happen: an increase in supply, or a decrease in demand.

The latter happened in the auto industry through automation. Today, you can accomplish with $30/month on Shopify what took $500,000 in custom development ten years ago. WordPress does in fifteen minutes what once kept a freelancer busy for two months. Stripe dropped the cost of credit card integration by five-figures.

On the supply side, Dev Bootcamp’s pumping out a dozen junior dev candidates every nine weeks. Starter League. gSchool. Hacker School. Want to teach yourself? Treehouse. Code School. Codecademy.

Maybe you don’t think a total n00b can walk out of a nine-week training program and do your job. But there’s something between that and a four-year, $80,000 Computer Science degree that’s going to work. The friction of entering our labor force is diminishing. Even the social stigma of being a programmer that for so long protected our ranks is going away.

No profession stays on top forever… just ask your recently graduated lawyer friends.

Don’t get too comfortable. Don’t get locked into a language. Don’t burn bridges for short term gain. Keep your tools sharp. Learn soft skills. Build an audience. Save some money. Network. Read.

It’s an obscenely good time to be a developer. Enjoy it while it lasts.

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