Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 27th Dec 2012 10:19 UTC, submitted by anonymous
General Development "Computers are ubiquitous in modern life. They offer us portals to information and entertainment, and they handle the complex tasks needed to keep many facets of modern society running smoothly. Chances are, there is not a single person in Ars' readership whose day-to-day existence doesn't rely on computers in one manner or another. Despite this, very few people know how computers actually do the things that they do. How does one go from what is really nothing more than a collection - a very large collection, mind you - of switches to the things we see powering the modern world?"
Thread beginning with comment 546588
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

kwan_e,

"IT administration is kind of like the janitorial equivalent in the eyes of the corporate types, but it requires a great amount of training and time. The sooner those IT jobs no longer require university degrees, the better."

I'd say that's already the case. When institutions are pumping out so many professional degrees per year, they become requirements for jobs which previously did not require them. Back in the 90's, employers would hire anyone who was able to do IT administration regardless of degrees since most candidates didn't have one. I believe the higher degree requirements today is a result of supply and demand rather than the increasing difficulty of the work. If the supply were to increase substantially as you predict, then won't most employers just add more requirements to filter them out?



"The devices themselves may be less user accessible, but the trend I'm talking about is programming itself being available to people without going to university."

Ok I see, they created new markets, and hence new openings for programmers.

"Yes, most apps are of poor quality, but it doesn't matter. The opportunity and market is now there, and no matter how many restrictions are put in place, you can't deny that programming itself is being opened up."

I donno, it's still an incredibly ironic example to me, I'd have picked the raspberry pi or it's ilk since it doesn't run a walled garden.

Reply Parent Score: 2

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

kwan_e,

"IT administration is kind of like the janitorial equivalent in the eyes of the corporate types, but it requires a great amount of training and time. The sooner those IT jobs no longer require university degrees, the better."

I'd say that's already the case. When institutions are pumping out so many professional degrees per year, they become requirements for jobs which previously did not require them. Back in the 90's, employers would hire anyone who was able to do IT administration regardless of degrees since most candidates didn't have one. I believe the higher degree requirements today is a result of supply and demand rather than the increasing difficulty of the work. If the supply were to increase substantially as you predict, then won't most employers just add more requirements to filter them out?


The old way of doing things are going to die out as young people start going off and do their own companies, which is also happening. There's been a few voices of late that have said university degrees are useless, so we can see the potential zeitgeist of the next 20 years.

It's completely ridiculous to try and make predictions based on short term trends, as TM99 thinks. Short term predictions are harder to make than long term, just like how weather is harder to predict than climate.

"Yes, most apps are of poor quality, but it doesn't matter. The opportunity and market is now there, and no matter how many restrictions are put in place, you can't deny that programming itself is being opened up."

I donno, it's still an incredibly ironic example to me, I'd have picked the raspberry pi or it's ilk since it doesn't run a walled garden.


I think they're apt examples precisely because they're counter-intuitive. That's basically been the history of computing since it started. Every naysayer has basically been wrong about where the next development comes from.

I picked them as examples because they have staying power, and that to me seems to be the most important factor. Culture doesn't work on logic or rationality, but on durable popularity. Unfortunate but unavoidable.

I have hope of raspberry pi but it is just not in the position for it to make any predictions on how it will fair.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kwan_e,

"The old way of doing things are going to die out as young people start going off and do their own companies, which is also happening. There's been a few voices of late that have said university degrees are useless, so we can see the potential zeitgeist of the next 20 years."

Is this really a fundamental change, or just a market cycle? In the growth phase new markets can grow insanely quickly. There's plenty of room for many players to grow, but eventually we reach a market plateau and the only way to grow further is for corporations to merge and/or others to drop out of business. The tablet market is still somewhere in the growth phase now, but once it becomes mature I think it's going to look more like business as usual. Who knows, predictions about the future are all just educated guesses. There's no right or wrong answer in the present.


"I think they're apt examples precisely because they're counter-intuitive."

I still don't get how you conclude that these new tablets are opening up programming? Say I'm a kid who got an ipad for christmas. Wouldn't I still need to own a computer to jailbreak and/or program it? In other words, doesn't the set of users who can potentially program an ipad mostly overlap with those who can already program a computer? I don't see how the success of ipads are evidence of a trend that the set of programmers is increasing.

This isn't to say things won't change in the future, I strongly hope so because otherwise today's trends are pointing towards the rise of closed computing devices.

Assuming I'm wrong and computers are becoming more open for programmers, I'm still kind of skeptical that substantially more people will be actual programmers in the future than are actual car mechanics today. It's not just matter of intelligence or abilities, it's also about practicality. Like you, I think many more people could become programmers, just like they could become mechanics. But if everyone were a programmer, it would be very difficult for anyone to sell themselves as a programmer. It's about supply and demand.

Anyways that's just my take. I'd love to see many smaller players grow in the computing world since I am among them. We'll see how it all pans out.

Reply Parent Score: 2