Is Software Development/ Programming Oversaturated?

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alex123711
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Is Software Development/ Programming Oversaturated?

Post by alex123711 »

Tech in general seems a bit like a classic bubble, basically everyone is 'learning to code', wants the WFH/ remote lifestyle and there are people selling bootcamp/ certifications and seems to be a lot of hype around it in general (possibly tech companies trying to drive salaries down). I'm considering making a career change, is it still a good idea/ career going forward these days?
Last edited by alex123711 on Mon Sep 27, 2021 1:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

SavingWithBabies
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Re: Is Software Development/ Programming Oversaturated?

Post by SavingWithBabies »

My take is no (on it being too much of a bubble to get into). Not by a long shot. Tech still requires a significant grind to make it long term. I'm genuinely interested in tech and I think that has helped me with that grind but I find it tiring due to all the things that get in the way of building and shipping (on the startup end of the tech spectrum). There is still huge demand for non-entry level software developers. There has actually been a bump in salary in the industry from what I've heard over the past 6 months for experienced software developers.

On the entry side of things, what I've heard is that for the past 2-3 years, it's been harder to get in as an entry level software developer. Maybe due to all of the competition. But with the recent bump in tech salaries, I'd expect more companies to be looking for entry level as they experience difficulty recruiting non-entry. For entry level into startup world, if you can do some side projects and show genuine initiative/hustle, you'll definitely find a startup to take a chance on you assuming you can communicate/demonstrate your abilities.

The reality seems to be that every business has realized to some degree they are a software business. Are the people at these companies making that decision wrong about it? I'm not sure but the downside to being wrong is huge. So I don't think that demand will slack off. A lot of people are worried about various things like outsourcing developers over seas and "build software by clicking on boxes" making programmers obsolete and whatever other idea is gaining popularity lately but... My experience is that those concerns are way overblown. Here are some counters:

Outsourcing remotely: been there, done that, executive was working both sides of the deal and outsourced the development to the Ukraine (departed from company when this was discovered). Developers were fairly okay for the most part however a huge amount of effort was required to be more specific in what needed to be built and the time zone differences created a lot of inefficiencies (as did the communication issues -- most spoke English but abilities varied). I'm sure it works sometimes but the cost to outsource is very high both in pure money and in lost opportunity so it's not something I am concerned with.

Build software by clicking boxes: this comes up a lot. If I could communicate one thing about software development is that it is 100% a matter of deciding what trade offs are acceptable to solve the given problem. That means that there is tons of custom work. Some work you can reuse but there are just so many different ways of doing things that a generalized solution for anything remotely complex is likely not going to be acceptable. Maybe in one or two instances. But if you want to build your whole system(s) out of generalized solutions... It's not going to happen. Sure, there will be a few notable exceptions but again it's not something I worry about at all. It definitely is a dream though that gets rehashed regularly.

The last thought I have on this is that tech changes frequently and often for no good reason. There are a lot of hype trains and there is the learning cycle which over roughly say a 10 year span, the "best" way to do things oscillates between two (well, maybe N) poles and on each extreme there are people advancing how to do it there. So tech is constantly reinventing itself and going on to the next big thing and the vast majority of tech is caught up in this and it's a huge sink of time/effort/money. I don't see this getting better any time soon so again the demand for software developers is going to stay high.

M
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Re: Is Software Development/ Programming Oversaturated?

Post by M »

We have three open software development positions where I work. They are all full remote. You choose your own hours to work. The jobs pay 120-130k. We cannot find people fast enough. It has been like this everywhere I have worked for 15 years now.

I don't know if we're in a bubble or not, but I know they keep throwing money at me and I can't think of anything better to do that pays this much to work naked in my bedroom.

TopHatFox
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Re: Is Software Development/ Programming Oversaturated?

Post by TopHatFox »

@M, I’m assuming those aren’t entry level?

Been trying to get job in tech as well as Geology over many months, & it’s pretty brutal to get anything

M
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Re: Is Software Development/ Programming Oversaturated?

Post by M »

@TopHatFox - No these all require at least 5 years of experience. Interestingly they don't require any sort of formal education or certs...but the interviews are long and very technical. A surprising number of people cannot pass the interviews. A lot of people do apply, but only about 5% of them get hired. We tried lowering the standards but then people can't do the job, so instead the company just keeps increasing the pay and providing more perks to try and attract talent...it is still a struggle though.

Software development is hard to get into because companies don't like taking risks on entry level engineers, and it is hard to get out of for engineers because it's hard to find something comparable in terms of pay and benefits that doesn't require much formal education. Golden handcuffs, basically...

M
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Re: Is Software Development/ Programming Oversaturated?

Post by M »

@TopHatFox

My advice is to look for an unpaid or low paid internship position. It may seem dumb but if you shoulder the risk at first for say six months or so, it opens a lot of doors in my experience. This is how I got in the industry with no education certs or experience. The pay increases pretty quickly over the first five years then you generally top out somewhere based on your location.

TopHatFox
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Re: Is Software Development/ Programming Oversaturated?

Post by TopHatFox »

Good to know. Do you recommend a coding boot camp, and if so which one? Where can I find these low-bar of entry roles, just indeed/LinkedIn job searches?

Viktor K
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Re: Is Software Development/ Programming Oversaturated?

Post by Viktor K »

18 junior jobs posted in last 3 days on Indeed

https://www.indeed.com/m/jobs?q=junior% ... rom=serpso

mountainFrugal
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Re: Is Software Development/ Programming Oversaturated?

Post by mountainFrugal »

This should get you up to speed: https://github.com/jwasham/coding-interview-university

I have heard good things about Lambda School: https://lambdaschool.com/ They help you find a job in exchange for part of your salary (so incentives are more aligned), or you can just pay for it outright. (Only heard through friends of friends)

If you already have some of the skills outlined in the coding interview link, then start working on open-source projects or by solving some issues that you have and put it out there. There is a lot of hustle involved for entry level as the OP mentioned you are competing with lots of world talent. Just like anything it is worth the time you put into it. If you are doing it just for the salary and not because it is interesting to you, you might have a hard time doing all the work up front.

TopHatFox
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Re: Is Software Development/ Programming Oversaturated?

Post by TopHatFox »

Cool, I’ll keep applying to all those roles & likely pull the trigger on the lamba school

I have completed projects in Python, GIS, and RS software, but could really use a real world class instead of grad classes

macg
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Re: Is Software Development/ Programming Oversaturated?

Post by macg »

@TopHatFox I would also recommend help desk /support positions. Usually less technical requirements for the job, and it gets you in the door, which can allow you to move within the organization into something more desirable.

bostonimproper
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Re: Is Software Development/ Programming Oversaturated?

Post by bostonimproper »

Top tech companies are more than willing to pay unicorn salaries for unicorn talent. If you can: write clean code, speak well, gather requirements, design in a pinch, build a new system without borking the old complex decaying one, and do some stakeholder management, there is no dearth of $300-500K+ remote jobs out there for you right now.

SV is awash in cheap capital and at both my old public company and new, they are looking to 2x head count by eo2033. But candidates who can do it all are really hard to find. So even though there is a big demand, it’s hard to find good hires to fill in those roles.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the market was kind of a weird barbell right now. Lots of jobs at the top end going unfilled, and lots of candidates at the entry-level unable to find jobs because nobody wants to take two years to train an entry level hire.

SavingWithBabies
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Re: Is Software Development/ Programming Oversaturated?

Post by SavingWithBabies »

@TopHatFox One way in is hustle. Build something kind of cool using GIS or whatever it is you're interested in. Does not need to be practical but I would hit these points (but I'm taking a wild guess at what you're going for, you'll have to adjust):

- ship it (so something actually published and usable) - this is really the #1 thing
- have source on github (and github on your resume/personal site/LinkedIn/etc), gitlab is fine too but I'd just use github for this
- use something topical -- like if you're doing something with web, try using TailwindCSS (you might not want to touch web, I don't know, doesn't have to be Tailwind) -- plenty of start projects and examples for this
- PostgreSQL database has some nice GIS stuff so might be useful to use (might be "hotter" options though)

Then go hit up startups in the industry/areas you're interested in by watching who is in the YCombinator batches and cold contacting them via email/LinkedIn/social media/whatever. You can even say you are trying to break in and link them to what you've been working on. This is really the #2 to the #1 although the other things are important. Don't be afraid to ask them for advice too as they might not have a role for you but might know someone who does.

This might not be the way you want to play it but that is one way that apparently works. I didn't go that route because I didn't know up front. But it's probably one of the quicker ways to get that first step in. Then make yourself useful for a while but always keep in mind it's probably a stepping stone and you'll have to make about 3-5 jumps over a handful of years until you've kind of maxed out the "increase salary by jumping" and need to double down on "increase salary by competency".

Edit: rereading your tech list, sounds like a project more around something utilitarian (ie command line and/or python module) might be meeting the mark more without getting into the rabbit hole of web programming (unless you want to go down that hole).
Last edited by SavingWithBabies on Sat Sep 25, 2021 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

alex123711
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Re: Is Software Development/ Programming Oversaturated?

Post by alex123711 »

TopHatFox wrote:
Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:11 pm
Cool, I’ll keep applying to all those roles & likely pull the trigger on the lamba school

I have completed projects in Python, GIS, and RS software, but could really use a real world class instead of grad classes
What sort of projects did you do? Also looking for some projects to do

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Sclass
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Re: Is Software Development/ Programming Oversaturated?

Post by Sclass »

I think the digital ecosystem has been growing exponentially for decades now. The need for more power - both machine and human operators will continue to grow as well as the rate of growth.

The systems keep getting bigger and better stronger. More prolific applications of digital processing. You’ll need more people along with more silicon, electrons and connectivity.

It has always been growing exponentially during my life. We have always seen the machine swallowing up the people and world. We have always seen the exponential growth. I think what we didn’t see was how long the trend would continue on an exponential trajectory and the consequent it doing so for so long. Probably started growing exponentially in WW2 or before but few noticed and if they did they couldn’t predict the potential.

Not only do I recommend learning how to program (not necessarily as a sw engineer but as a master of the machine rather than a downstream consumer slave to it) I think one should be investing in the future growth of the monster the digital ecosystem has become.

George the original one
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Re: Is Software Development/ Programming Oversaturated?

Post by George the original one »

Sclass wrote:
Sat Sep 25, 2021 10:04 am
I think the digital ecosystem has been growing exponentially for decades now. The need for more power - both machine and human operators will continue to grow as well as the rate of growth.

The systems keep getting bigger and better stronger. More prolific applications of digital processing. You’ll need more people along with more silicon, electrons and connectivity.
Exactly. Software is always eating their parents. Explaining software lifecycle to the people who pay the bills is always entertaining because they don't understand how something that is doing the job today expires in only a few years. And it expires in ways that most people don't expect, won't anticipate.

Scott 2
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Re: Is Software Development/ Programming Oversaturated?

Post by Scott 2 »

I don't think Software Development is an appropriate blanket direction. Understanding the how and why is important for everyone, but beyond that, not so much. We're already seeing the barbell develop, where content management systems and turn key e-shops let small business go online with zero development. The quality of those solutions will continue to shift the required skill curve.

It's easy to take learning to code for granted, if you are wired to think that way. Some people (most?) are not. They will grasp the basic concepts through rote memorization, and may never make the leap to inferring their own solutions. I think someone who experiences programming that way is making a mistake chasing it for a career. Their time would be better spent on a profession more suited to their strengths.

This board carries a strong selection bias for people suited to the developer's mindset. For someone who does think that way - the demand isn't going anywhere. Hiring systems will get better at filtering the posers, but an effective programmer is a huge productivity multiplier for the business. IMO part of the reason big tech can pay so well, is they are ruthless about filtering out the rote memorization developers.

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Sclass
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Re: Is Software Development/ Programming Oversaturated?

Post by Sclass »

@scott2 really good points. I knew some sw engineers in school who went into CS primarily for the career. They’d get really defensive and upset when they found out some students were hacking for fun. I mean university is all about fun…yet these guys curriculum it like unpalatable medicine. They were so damn serious about getting careers at age 19.

Interestingly I heard the same arguments thirty years ago from engineers saying they didn’t need to learn because there would be more and more “canned” tools. I think the term is dated now. This was indeed true but naive. Being able to go beyond the canned stuff or combine cans has been powerful. While it was sufficient to use the tools others had created for you, creating one’s own custom tools from the existing tools can be advantageous. That’s where learning the basics comes in.

It’s already touching most disciplines in various degrees. Knowing the basics of harnessing the power of the machine may help you save your job by eliminating someone else’s.

So yeah I’ll reiterate, with respect to the OP I don’t recommend becoming a sw engineer for the sake of being employed as one. I support learning enough to expand the scope of any job that touches the digital world. In a great many, this simply involves being able to write a few lines of Python and access a library. It’s like learning how to paint and pound nails if you own a home but not studying to become a licensed architect.

I’ll end with remembering 1995 discussing the unabomber manifesto with my fearful classmates. The unabomber had been targeting EECS departments. We were pretty scared. But Old Teddy had a few predictions right back then. An information inequality has grown since then and I believe it’ll continue.

white belt
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Re: Is Software Development/ Programming Oversaturated?

Post by white belt »

How long can exponential growth continue in the software field? Software may be eating the world, but you can’t eat software. Software runs on hardware that has real physical limitations and requirements as we’ve all been reminded of due to the chip shortage and various supply disruptions.

I work in IT more in the server architect/engineer role but I have done software development on a few projects in the past (both in college and during my career). I’ve sometimes been flabbergasted by the disconnect software developers have with reality because they have never actually had to consider things like resources and physical infrastructure. Yes, I get those should be considerations for a good programmer, but in my experience most of the time that stuff is hand waived until things go wrong.

zbigi
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Re: Is Software Development/ Programming Oversaturated?

Post by zbigi »

SavingWithBabies wrote:
Fri Sep 24, 2021 3:18 pm
@TopHatFox One way in is hustle. Build something kind of cool using GIS or whatever it is you're interested in. Does not need to be practical but I would hit these points (but I'm taking a wild guess at what you're going for, you'll have to adjust):

- ship it (so something actually published and usable) - this is really the #1 thing
- have source on github (and github on your resume/personal site/LinkedIn/etc), gitlab is fine too but I'd just use github for this
In my opinion, it's better to contribute to a respectable and well-known Open Source software. These projects are similar in structure and challenges to regular jobs, so if you can perform there, employers will known you're good enough to hold your own in a job. If the project is widely used in the industry and you've had a significant(ish) contribution, it should send your resume straight to the top of the pile.

Additionally, when working on an open source project, you can learn about team collaboration, processes, CI, version control, design, code standards and a plethora of things other than coding which are essential for software eng. candidates, and which you will be asked about in interviews. You will most likely not learn those things when writing your own thing. Open source projects are basically a way to learn from some very experienced programmers, for free! It's also a good way to verify where you realistically stand - if you completely overwhelmed in a smaller well-run open-source project, you're probably not ready for a job yet.

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