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11/17/2004
05:27 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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The Future Of The Programmer

For an upcoming story on the role of automation in software development, I started with the premise that automation, like outsourcing, would reduce the stateside opportunities for programmers. Bad idea.

For an upcoming story on the role of automation in software development, I started with the premise that automation, like outsourcing, would reduce the stateside opportunities for programmers. Bad idea.Every expert I spoke with disagreed with that premise.

Prashant Sridharan, senior product manager for enterprise tools in the developer division at Microsoft, put it this way: "I don't think automation is a threat to jobs. I think that would be a very far-reaching statement. When we added a WinForms designer, it didn't actually kill people's jobs. It made their skills go a little bit higher up the ladder. Whenever you add tools, you also add the need for people to use how to use those tools. "

I'll be interested to see whether innovation trumps labor arbitrage. I'm not entirely convinced.

For more about the role of automation in programming please see InformationWeek's Dec. 6 issue.

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