Will coding be a minimum wage job in 50 years?

Updated on : January 17, 2022 by Billy Cherry



Will coding be a minimum wage job in 50 years?

Absolutely, definitely not. In fact there will be no minimum wage because technological deflation will have sent it to the dustbin of history.

Some answers get caught up in the semantics of what constitutes a grunt encoder compared to a software engineer or a computer scientist and of course there is a big difference, but taking it seriously, I will define an encoder as someone who implements algorithms in hardware. . to automate business processes.

These jobs, by definition, will be the last remaining after all other fields of human activity have been automated. Today there is

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Absolutely, definitely not. In fact there will be no minimum wage because technological deflation will have sent it to the dustbin of history.

Some answers get caught up in the semantics of what constitutes a grunt encoder compared to a software engineer or a computer scientist and of course there is a big difference, but taking it seriously, I will define an encoder as someone who implements algorithms in hardware. . to automate business processes.

These jobs, by definition, will be the last remaining after all other fields of human activity have been automated. Today, there is almost nothing a human is paid for that cannot be accomplished to some degree by a machine. It is simply a matter of economics, software development, and time before the value of human labor reflects that fact. 50 or 100 years, who knows, but Ray Kurzweil estimates that if Moore's Law continues in an economic sense, rather than the purely technological sense that most people recognize, the singularity is about 30 years away.

Since 2000 and the dot-com crash, and particularly since 2008, Western central banks have been doing their best to restart economic growth and avoid deflation, but the results have been the exact opposite of all economic models. conventional planet.

The Fed, the ECB, the BoJ, the BoE and others have printed tens of trillions, lowered interest rates to negative values ​​and borrowed more and more to "fight deflation", but nothing has worked as expected. ; we have simply prepared ourselves for an even bigger day of reckoning sometime in the future.

The orthodoxy is that monetary deflation is a disaster, while technological deflation is universally seen as a net positive for growth, and at the microeconomic level at the enterprise level it is, but look below the surface from a macro perspective and everything. What it is doing is devaluing human beings. work. Deflation is still deflation, regardless of its cause.

In addition to being a unit of account, money has always been the value of human ingenuity and labor, from seashells and pretty bits of gold. Each raw material has a second order value related to the cost of production: food, metals, silicon wafers ... which reflects the scarcity, but also the human component in its manufacture / extraction / cultivation.

The exponential growth of technology is now forever dissociating that connection between money and humans that has existed since money was invented. So that's not a super positive outlook, however one can either fight it or run with it. It is inevitable that jobs will continue to be automated and disappear, rather than the ones that replace them, and therefore the 'encoder' will somehow be there, until there is nothing left to automate except their own work, and at that point the value of all work will approach zero.

My prediction is that coding will still be a high-paying job, but there will be a LOT less coding jobs out there.

Several years ago, one of the things we wanted to do was a total reboot of our e-commerce initiatives. I was a CTO at the time, so it was my job to lead this and we started evaluating platforms. There was nothing off the table - we analyzed everything from $ 30 per month hosted shopping carts to $ 300,000 high-end platforms.

And I didn't like any of them. The direct response industry does things a little differently than what traditional ecommerce retailers were doing with regard to how the offensive

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My prediction is that coding will still be a high-paying job, but there will be a LOT less coding jobs out there.

Several years ago, one of the things we wanted to do was a total reboot of our e-commerce initiatives. I was a CTO at the time, so it was my job to lead this and we started evaluating platforms. There was nothing off the table - we analyzed everything from $ 30 per month hosted shopping carts to $ 300,000 high-end platforms.

And I didn't like any of them. The Direct Response industry does things a little differently than traditional ecommerce retailers were doing with regards to how the deal flow works. While everyone else was patting themselves on the back for 3% conversion rates, we had 15% conversion rates and considered a campaign a failure if it dropped below 12%. While everyone else used traditional checkout procedures, in which products were placed in a cart and paid for, we had a completely different additional sales stream that brought a user purchasing a $ 20 product up to an AOV of $ 60 to $ 100.

We needed a system that could do all of that and work with products that were distributed in 28 different warehouses. We wanted product pages to be classified and positioned based on user engagement habits. We wanted the "Product of the Day" emails to be automated, where the email system would send different emails to different subscribers based on a "likelihood of purchase" profile. We wanted the products to have separate standalone landing pages that ran from their own separate domains and pricing, but still seamlessly integrated into the same backend routes and upsells. We wanted dashboards showing specific key metrics, other than the usual metrics that smaller retailers see. And it all needed to handle thousands of orders and over $ 100,000 in transactions per day, with huge spikes in traffic (correlated with TV broadcasts),

There was no platform that did all of that. The ones that did "something" didn't work the way I wanted or weren't flexible enough, and the ones that did required so much customization to get to what we wanted that we determined it would be cheaper simply to build our own. And that's what we did. It was an expensive and time-consuming project: coders, designers, database administrators, data scientists, the works. Tons of coding and tons of testing. In the end, we got exactly what we wanted and it was perfect.

Fast forward to earlier this year, and we ended up launching a basic Shopify site to try out some products outside of the usual branded items. Despite having come a long way since I first evaluated it years ago, that platform still didn't do most of the things our specially designed platform could. But then I'm looking at their app store and I see some of the plugins; many of them are things that are very close to what we do. I look at the API documentation and realize that between the plugins that already exist and the API, we could probably make it do 99% of what our own platform does.

It is quite surprising that today, a small business paying a few hundred dollars a month and a semi-competent developer can now achieve in a few days (possibly even a few hours) what previously required a room full of experts, developers and designers. and hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs.

And it's things like this that most companies need. People talk about artificial intelligence, autonomous cars and autonomous planes, and all this cool futuristic technology, and that's great, but those things happen at a high level, they are not things to be built. by small and medium-sized companies, or even large companies that sell ordinary things.

As platforms continue to improve and encapsulate a greater variety of needs, the amount of "custom work" that will be required in the corporate environment will continue to decline, leading to an overall reduction in the need for programmers. Those jobs won't be needed when coding is complete and users can only point and click to get what they want.

Coding is and has always been easy.

Writing useful software is and has always been very difficult.

That's because there is a fundamental difference between knowing the tools and knowing the trade.

Maybe you can play the piano, but can you write music? Are you the next Beethoven?


A minimum wage job, by definition, is unskilled work. Anyone can do it, so there are no barriers to entry and no labor shortages. Even if you made coding as simple as speaking your natural language, creating software would never be an unskilled job. There are only two possibilities:

  1. You write the code in natural la
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Coding is and has always been easy.

Writing useful software is and has always been very difficult.

That's because there is a fundamental difference between knowing the tools and knowing the trade.

Maybe you can play the piano, but can you write music? Are you the next Beethoven?


A minimum wage job, by definition, is unskilled work. Anyone can do it, so there are no barriers to entry and no labor shortages. Even if you made coding as simple as speaking your natural language, creating software would never be an unskilled job. There are only two possibilities:

  1. You write the code in natural language, but you still need to provide extreme specificity and unambiguous instructions for the compiler to follow. In which case, you have not removed the complexity of writing software, you have just added a more clunky interface for writing code. It is still a skillful task.
  2. You write the code in natural language, and the computer reads your mind (powered by a magical "AI" or whatever), giving exactly what you wanted even though you had no idea how to articulate it. In this case, why do we have to pay someone to do this? We don't pay people to tell other people (or machines) what we want.

By the way, none of those things will happen. Natural language is actually a horrible way to write code. People have tried it and other things like visual programming. They're great for boosting productivity for beginners, but once you hit a certain level of proficiency, they just get in the way.

There is really nothing in modern programming languages ​​to stop coding from reaching the masses.

The languages ​​are easy, the problems are difficult.

And as long as we have difficult problems that need to be solved with computers, we will have well-paid software engineers to solve them.

I am going to take a different approach to this question than most people.

Coding will be an unpaid hobby in the future.

As many reading this question know, technology features a number of exponential technologies. Exponential technologies are technologies that are growing at an increasing rate.

The most famous example of exponential technology is Moore's Law, which states that the processing power of computers doubles every two years. Other examples are synthetic biology, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence (AI), to name just a few.

For me, AI is the most interesting exponential technology

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I am going to take a different approach to this question than most people.

Coding will be an unpaid hobby in the future.

As many reading this question know, technology features a number of exponential technologies. Exponential technologies are technologies that are growing at an increasing rate.

The most famous example of exponential technology is Moore's Law, which states that the processing power of computers doubles every two years. Other examples are synthetic biology, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence (AI), to name just a few.

For me, AI is the most interesting exponential technology and the one that best relates to this question. Genetic algorithms are an example of how AI is already showing potential to start programming intelligently. Genetic algorithms are based on biological evolution. Through a process of natural selection, with mutations and crosses, they are used to find solutions to optimization problems.

A little more interesting is the Gödel machine. The Gödel machine is an automatic improvement program, which is designed to solve problems in the most optimal way. This machine can rewrite its own code, if it can show that the new code is more optimal.

These trailers may not seem particularly interesting when viewed at first. After all, no one is too interested in the optimal way a genetic algorithm can go from random gibberish to its predesigned goal of "Hello World" (an excellent tutorial / example can be found here Evolutionary Algorithm: Evolution "Hello world ! ").

However, if we remember that AI is an exponential technology, this becomes very exciting. In 1975, the Cray-1 supercomputer was created. This amazing piece of technology could perform 80 million floating point operations per second (FLOPS).

Compare that to the iPhone 6, which has a computing power of 115 gigaflops. That's 1,400 more powerful. And just look at the difference in size ...

This difference alone heralds the enormous improvement that artificial intelligence will experience in the next 50 years. In 2066, the level of artificial intelligence will be as unrecognizable as the iPhone 6 would be in 1964. It will be so improved that human programmers will be outdated, not as efficient or optimized as this amazing new technology. And this AI does not need to be paid, so it is free.

Thus leaving the only human programmers as amateurs. Those who program for fun and free.

TL; DR: Artificial intelligence will improve rapidly, becoming better, faster, and cheaper than human programmers. This will make "coding" free, with no salary.

Coding, as a job, won't exist in 50 years. Computers will interact with users to write their own functionality; Instead of buying code, we may be exchanging "lessons learned" and "mission-specific competencies." We will continue to need experts in the domain (at least until the development of true AI) and smart and disciplined people will be needed to create effective interfaces and uses for both industry and the general population; however, I see these people acting more like analysts and designers than programmers.

Beyond the obvious value of speeding up application development (and reducing assoc

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Coding, as a job, won't exist in 50 years. Computers will interact with users to write their own functionality; Instead of buying code, we may be exchanging "lessons learned" and "mission-specific competencies." We will continue to need experts in the domain (at least until the development of true AI) and smart and disciplined people will be needed to create effective interfaces and uses for both industry and the general population; however, I see these people acting more like analysts and designers than programmers.

Beyond the obvious value of speeding up application development (and reducing associated costs), I see this has two knock-on benefits. First, the computer will optimize the application "under the hood" to use available resources efficiently; This is the true potential of cloud technology beyond the simple exchange of information. Second, the developer will no longer have to worry about fault tolerance, latency, security, multi-threading, data interlocks, and a myriad of other low-level concerns that we, the software industry, are left with. love to solve, then solve again, and then solve. again (ad nauseam).

The road to AI, which means the death knell for coding and software development, is likely to be found in games. This may seem like a strange thing to say, however, just as humans create an internalized model of the real world, on which the subconscious operates directly, computers will need to develop and maintain a model of the real world expressed in terms of three-dimensional models. and logic-driven engines (like today's physics engines). So games (and to a lesser extent script development) seem like a logical starting point on the road to AI. The alternative, AI developed for military applications, is too horrible (and potentially dangerous) to contemplate.

I suspect that humanity's destiny is to create a successor to humanity in the form of artificial intelligence creations that can lead to the stars and seek insights that would be unattainable within typical human lives. It is not clear at this time if there is an intervening period of genetic engineering (in which humans and machines follow a convergent path). Baby steps first though: the next 50 years should see the end of coding in all but the most niche niches.

Yes and no. Not all coding work is the same. Not the case, not even today, considering different coding requirements and jobs have different pay. One type of coding job can generate $ 50,000 a year, while another can cost $ 200,000 or more.

There is nothing on the horizon to change that. You'll have both high-paying and low-paying coding jobs, just like today.

Looking ahead, with the rise of IoT, home automation, and smarter appliances, I see technicians will have to do setup and integration through custom coding. I can see smarter electrical, plumbing, irrigation, security, HVAC and m systems.

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Yes and no. Not all coding work is the same. Not the case, not even today, considering different coding requirements and jobs have different pay. One type of coding job can generate $ 50,000 a year, while another can cost $ 200,000 or more.

There is nothing on the horizon to change that. You'll have both high-paying and low-paying coding jobs, just like today.

Looking ahead, with the rise of IoT, home automation, and smarter appliances, I see technicians will have to do setup and integration through custom coding. I can see smarter electrical, plumbing, irrigation, safety, HVAC, and motor systems with greater configuration interfaces (either good or bad from a safety standpoint, that's another story).

This type of coding, by itself, will be of a simpler nature than the type found in general software coding jobs, and will possibly constitute a fraction of a technician's work.

So if we were to divide the hourly rate of a future technician and assign a value to the coding, then perhaps the coding, BY ITSELF, would emerge as a minimum wage activity. But when we consider all the work activity that technician performs, and the compensation he receives, that will not be a minimum wage job.

Now, if all these advancements in home appliances and smart devices standardize their coding interfaces, that could turn into a boom in wealth. When plumbing became standardized, when standards for plumbing fixture sizes were accepted, that turned out to be a boom for plumbers as they could now work faster and safer. It did not impoverish them and more workers had access to the field.

This could also be possible with IoT and home automation.

Now this is just a guess. We are living in revolutionary times in terms of automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, and smart systems that could force us to redefine what minimum wages or entry-level jobs are. We may even have to redefine our concepts of value. This is not hyperbole. We will see some drastic changes in the next 20 years.

  1. 50 years is a LONG time. Most likely, the world looks surprisingly similar to how it looks today, just like the world today looks surprisingly similar to how it looked in 1966 (where's my flying car? Where's my rocket backpack?) . But in some areas it will look profoundly different. The tricky part is figuring out where and how it will look different.
  2. Will "coding" be a job in 50 years? Maybe not.
    How about "programming"? Maybe not.
    But "software development" probably will be. The day-to-day life of a software developer is very different today than it was 20 years ago, let alone 50 years ago, but the
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  1. 50 years is a LONG time. Most likely, the world looks surprisingly similar to how it looks today, just like the world today looks surprisingly similar to how it looked in 1966 (where's my flying car? Where's my rocket backpack?) . But in some areas it will look profoundly different. The tricky part is figuring out where and how it will look different.
  2. Will "coding" be a job in 50 years? Maybe not.
    How about "programming"? Maybe not.
    But "software development" probably will be. The day-to-day life of a software developer is very different today than it was 20 years ago, let alone 50 years ago, but the work still exists. Because ultimately, it's not about the programming languages ​​that we use, not even the programming tools and environments that we use, because ...
  3. What software developers really do is explore and understand problems and find solutions to those problems, coded in the form of, well, code. Will we need people to solve and understand problems in 50 years? Conceivably not, but if that's the case, the world will look profoundly different, probably in ways we can't even imagine right now.

Ok, look at it like this. A job is a minimum wage job, because it is about to be replaced by a machine. Look, any job that has a form of minimum wage, and think, can it be replaced by a robot? Your answer would almost always be yes. Programming cannot be replaced by robots in the near future. The age of the Internet has just begun. It may have started in the 1960s, but this is the beginning. We went from the web pages being connected to the Internet and now we are in Phones connected to the Internet. I wonder what's next to be connected to the internet, probably

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Ok, look at it like this. A job is a minimum wage job, because it is about to be replaced by a machine. Look, any job that has a form of minimum wage, and think, can it be replaced by a robot? Your answer would almost always be yes. Programming cannot be replaced by robots in the near future. The age of the Internet has just begun. It may have started in the 1960s, but this is the beginning. We went from the web pages being connected to the Internet and now we are in Phones connected to the Internet. I wonder what will be the next thing to connect to the internet, it will probably be the age of IoT, it will probably be something we never imagined. Oh, and who the hell is going to have to maintain these connections and create software so that users can enjoy the product? The damn programmers.

Well. We'll see. It's 1966 now. Computers look like this. It cost $ 28,000 and was affordable only for large companies. Computer programming is a very rare occupation. (With quite a salary, too)

Color television appeared 15 years ago. The Internet will be conceived in 20 years. Computer programmers (as we know them today) don't exist. C will appear in 10 years. LISP, however, already exists (mostly in concept form).


In 50 years it will be totally different.

  1. Most likely, the Turing test will pass.
  2. Simulations and virtual realities would likely thrive
  3. The huma
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Well. We'll see. It's 1966 now. Computers look like this. It cost $ 28,000 and was affordable only for large companies. Computer programming is a very rare occupation. (With quite a salary, too)

Color television appeared 15 years ago. The Internet will be conceived in 20 years. Computer programmers (as we know them today) don't exist. C will appear in 10 years. LISP, however, already exists (mostly in concept form).


In 50 years it will be totally different.

  1. Most likely, the Turing test will pass.
  2. Simulations and virtual realities would likely thrive
  3. Humanity would likely have its immortality.
  4. There would be no more slaughter of animals (via synthetic food)
  5. The abundance of everything will be so obvious and the value of human life will be much greater than today.

On the other hand, when humans landed on the moon, there was speculation about the human base on Mars for the year 2000. It didn't work. People lost interest in space.

Computer programmers probably wouldn't exist in a form that resembles today.

But it would take someone who knows "the way around technology." For example, which artificial intelligence engine is the best in building factories and what the specific commands should be for that AI


Computer programming will become a minimum wage job much sooner. (I'd say somewhere in 2020 the computer programmer will earn less than the McDonald's employee) because there is a huge world out there. Everyone (including people from countries where $ 50 a month is a good salary) will compete with everyone else (including track drivers who lost their jobs) on a global scale for a constantly decreasing salary.

In fifty years, there will be no need for coders, especially in the field of websites, mobile applications, server management. All of this will be considered non-creative and redundant in nature.

This will be the future:

  1. Machines will take care of all Internet management. Machines that have the prowess of artificial intelligence that run machine learning and computer vision algorithms.
  2. Network bots will perceive the need for the availability of any human requirements or needs and will make smart decisions to create such entities.
  3. My vision of the future: all living
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In fifty years, there will be no need for coders, especially in the field of websites, mobile applications, server management. All of this will be considered non-creative and redundant in nature.

This will be the future:

  1. Machines will take care of all Internet management. Machines that have the prowess of artificial intelligence that run machine learning and computer vision algorithms.
  2. Network bots will perceive the need for the availability of any human requirements or needs and will make smart decisions to create such entities.
  3. My vision of the future: the entire living population divided into three sects:
  • Those who will build such artificially intelligent systems and implement them in new machines. They will make such limitations that they will impose the reins on these systems and will only answer to them. These will be the ultra-rich and highly influential. They will be found in governments and corporations, making decisions for the people.
  • The second sect will be those who are aware of such atrocities by the government against citizens and will fight with counterintelligence to weaken that applied by organizations.
  • The third parties will be the ones who will ignore the other two and will live in oblivion.


In the end, I'd like to quote Elon Musk:
"With artificial intelligence we're summoning the devil. In all those stories where he's the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, he's like ... yeah he's sure he can control to hell.. It doesn't work. "

Coding will be one of the last jobs done by humans before AI is good enough to code itself. I don't know when coding will become a minimum wage job. I hope it doesn't happen for at least 30 years, at which point I have had a chance to comfortably die of old age, but I wouldn't want to make a big bet by any means. The thing is, by the time coding becomes a minimum wage job, it will be one of the last income-generating jobs.

I'd like to think that the end of the job would set humans free to pursue lives of aesthetic pleasure, creating a golden age of art and life.

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Coding will be one of the last jobs done by humans before AI is good enough to code itself. I don't know when coding will become a minimum wage job. I hope it doesn't happen for at least 30 years, at which point I have had a chance to comfortably die of old age, but I wouldn't want to make a big bet by any means. The thing is, by the time coding becomes a minimum wage job, it will be one of the last income-generating jobs.

I'd like to think that the end of the job would leave humans free to pursue lives of aesthetic pleasure, creating a golden age of art and literature, but this would require the rich and powerful to suddenly behave differently than they have until. now. eight millennia.

It seems to me far more likely, given human nature, that the wealthy, who will control AIs and their robotic effectors, will seize all the world's material resources, leaving the remaining population to starve or work in abject poverty.

And there is always the possibility that AIs work on their own, completely surpassing humans. Maybe they keep us as pets or use us as economic effectors. Perhaps they will preserve the last of us while we preserve the spotted owl and blue heron. They have even darker options, the frequent theme of the movies.

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