1.4m What

· November 28, 2018

There is an ad running in San Francisco that quoted the New York Times, which I think is quoting an old Department of Labor study, to say in 2020 there will be 1.4m new programming jobs in the US and only 400k new trained people to fill them.

Relatedly, @stephanierieger tweeted a link to a Forbes piece about Joe Liemandt who has built a (new) fortune around buying software companies who have long term support contracts with customers and aggressively cutting costs. Part of that cost cutting is moving from the current software development teams that support those products to cheaper remote contractors, generally not in the US, and with significantly less-nice conditions than the former teams would have enjoyed. 

I’m sure the ad is intended to imply: “There are 1.4m well paid software engineering jobs out there if you just take our course”. There are, in fact, 1.4m positions to complete work which is currently only supplied by a relatively small, and therefore well paid, number of software engineers. Some proportion of that work will be accomplished by alternative means, whether those means are contractors with key loggers churning out Java, automation, or some other software company building a tool that obviates the need for custom development in the first place.