Obviously, no one who works in computer programming wants to believe that computer programming the way we know it today may not even exist in twenty years time. We’ve all seen professions come and go as new forms of technology come in and make the professions obsolete, but we never want it to happen to us. We probably know deep down that people four hundred years from now may not even know anything about computer programming, or else they will think that computer programming is the sort of strange historical relic that we think about when we think about the Gutenberg printing press.
Still, we should all try to predict what exactly is going to happen to computer programming, because this really isn’t just some idle speculation that will affect the future people that none of us are ever going to hope to meet. More and more schools are teaching computer programming. Some people have said that literacy in programming languages may one day become as important as literacy itself. Some parents are becoming stressed out about the prospect of their children being unable to program computers, and they are spending money on making sure they get their computer programming lessons at the right stage of their development. It’s important to make sure that these kids are actually getting an education that is going to help them in the future, and parents and schools aren’t just wasting their time and money.
For one thing, there is a clear reason why we would want to phase out computer programming languages in the first place: most computer programming languages are just woefully inefficient. I talk all the time about the frustrations of being a software engineer. Part of these frustrations come from the fact that all of us are using a method that’s fairly dated, except we’re working on pretty advanced machines. Computer programming the way we know it today began with IBM business machines.
Computers were really simple back then, and they were being ‘told’ to execute the sort of very simple commands that are easy to program. Little did the people of IBM know that they were creating a paradigm that people would be using more than half a century later in order to program the sorts of machines that the military would use, whether they liked it or not.