Analyst Mocks the Idea That It’s ‘The End of Programming’ Again

January’s Communications of the ACM includes an essay predicting “the end of programming,” in an AI-powered future where “programming will be obsolete.”

But IT analyst and ZDNet contributor Joe McKendrick remains skeptical, judging by a new essay sardonically titled “It’s the end of programming as we know it — again.”

Over the past few decades, various movements, paradigms, or technology surges — whatever you want to call them — have roiled the software world, promising either to hand a lot of programming grunt work to end users, or automate more of the process. CASE tools, 4GL, object-oriented programming, service oriented architecture, microservices, cloud services, Platform as a Service, serverless computing, low-code, and no-code all have theoretically taken the onerous burdens out of software development. And, potentially, threaten the job security of developers.

Yet, here we are. Software developers are busier than ever, with demand for skills only increasing.

“I remember when the cloud first started becoming popular and companies were migrating to Office 365, everyone was saying that IT Pros will soon have no job,” says Vlad Catrinescu, author at Pluralsight. “Guess what — we’re still here and busier than ever.”

The question is how developers’ job will ultimately evolve. There is the possibility that artificial intelligence, applied to application development and maintenance, may finally make low-level coding a thing of the past…. Catrinescu believes that the emerging generation of automated or low-code development solutions actually “empowers IT professionals and developers to work on more challenging applications. IT departments can focus on enterprise applications and building complicated apps and automations that will add a lot of value to the enterprise.”
Even the man predicting “the end of programming” in an AI-powered future also envisions new technology that “potentially opens up computing to almost anyone” (in ACM’s video interview). But in ZDNet’s article Jared Ficklin, chief creative technologist and co-founder of argodesign, even predicts the possibility of real-time computing.

“You could imagine asking Alexa to make you an app to help organize your kitchen. AI would recognize the features, pick the correct patterns and in real time, over the air deliver an application to your mobile phone or maybe into your wearable mobile computer.”

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