Alexandra Weber Morales writes in her editorial column in Software Development magazine (“Are You Just a Geek?”, July 2005):
[A] recent working paper entitled “Geek Mythology“… points out, “About 44% of our sample of female students contextualize their interest in computers in other arenas such as medicine, space, the arts. Unfortunately, the academic curriculum and the reward system do not always reflect this orientation to computer science.”
I think there is a broader point here. For the longest time, I’ve been thinking that software development may eventually repeat the evolution of typing and driving. Having started as an occupation, it will eventually evolve into a skill. There will always be people earning a living by developing software, but they will be fewer and farther between compared to today. System software (operating systems, drivers, etc.) and shrink-wrap software will probably remain the province of dedicated software professionals. Business applications, however, will most likely become the turf of domain experts.
This process began a long time ago, when Dan Bricklin came up with VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet program. The result? No need to involve a programmer when it comes to what-if scenarios, basic statistics, and all that jazz. It’s only a matter of time before something similar happens in the world of business applications and they are written in domain-specific languages (or simply generated by point-and-click) by domain experts. Science fiction? Nope; in scientific computing, this has been reality for quite some time. Just take a look at Mathematica…