I work in the IT department as a web applications developer for a major company.
Recently as I was at a coworker's desk (he's an architect), I saw this graph that was entitled "Likely Future Roles in IT in 2015". It basically was this chart outlining the roles in IT that would have more importance in the future and the roles that would diminish in importance. I'm not sure where it came from but it was a printout from our VP of IT. He got it from some magazine I think.
Anyway, I was surprised to see that developers/programmers were on the diminished importance list. The roles on this list were projected to be less important and deemed liable for externalization which basically means offshoring. Also included on this list was roles like development managers and system administrators.
In the group of increased importance were roles like Business Analysts, Project Managers, Cloud Solutions Engineer, and Technical Architects.
I found this strange and surprising. I can tell you for one thing that there is no doubt in my mind that Architects are very important to an organization. Especially ones who still do coding. They are indispensable. But business analysts and project managers?
In my company, I've always found the BAs and PMs to be middlemen and tend to "get in the way." The real work is actually done by the developers. The developers in my company aren't just a bunch of coders who have no people skills. We actually work directly with the stakeholders in the business and solve their issues and make the company run more efficiently.
The BAs and PMs may scope out things in a bigger picture and more long-term fashion but the actual execution and solving of problems is done by the developers. So I was really surprised to find that our roles were on the diminished importance list.
I'm also surprised that our VP doesn't recognize this as he has always seemed to be appreciative of the efforts of the developers and recognize the value we bring.
Developers who can code but also have the organizational and communication skills to figure out the problems the business is facing are indispensable in my opinion. They are the ones who keep the wheels rolling.
I realize there are certain kinds of development activities you can offshore. And in today's market, it's dirt cheap but there are certain things that you just can't hand off to someone who is in a different time zone and has a language/culture barrier. I know that because my company has tried it before and it just didn't work out.
Nevertheless, this has basically raised a concern with me. Are programmers/developers becoming a commodity or will be a commodity? Lots of people can code these days. Of course the best programmers will always have jobs but what about the "good" programmers like the rest of us?
Are future IT departments just going to consist of a bunch of top-heavy employees like PMs, BAs, VPs, product managers and so on and externalize all the people who actually do the work? It just doesn't make sense to me.
I read this article on techrepublic that says we are entering the decade of the developer.
Yet there are other indications that developers are going to be in diminishing importance. I would appreciate some thoughts on this one.