There will be a million more computer programming jobs in 2020 than there are programmers to fill them, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as cited in a fantastic WSJ piece on the evolution of the coding market. The piece notes that there’s a fundamental mismatch between the enormous demands for coders and the ability of the university system to supply them. As a result, more and more coders are skipping college altogether, or taking classes at start-up coding schools not associated with any formal university:
The most intensive schools, like Seattle-based Code Fellows, are so sure they can get students work they will refund a student’s tuition—$12,000 for 16 blitzkrieg weeks to get a person from zero to trained—if that person doesn’t get a job […]Fourteen percent of the members of some teams at Google don’t have a college degree, and 67% of the programming jobs in the U.S. are at nontech companies where other kinds of industry experience are more likely to be valued.Computer programming, in other words, has become a trade. Like nursing or welding, it’s something in which a person can develop at least a basic proficiency within weeks or months. And once budding coders learn enough to get their first jobs, they get onto the same path to upward mobility offered to their in-demand, highly paid peers.
In a post-blue world college will continue to be an important training ground for many professions, but we will see more flexibility in how students structure their time at universities—as well as more vocational career paths that don’t pass through the college quad. Coding is a great place to get an early look at how these changes are working themselves out.