I’ll take that to go please

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Cnet: “Analysts predict as many as 2 million U.S. white-collar jobs such as programmers, software engineers and applications designers will shift to low-cost centers by 2014.”

Hmm. I wonder if some of the US-developed software applications we all know well will shift overseas? Sure, parts of them are already developed all around the world, but imagine what the industry would be like if the next version of Windows–after Longhorn–was developed overseas, for instance. What would the impact be to third-party and spinoff companies that often cross-pollinate markets?

Actually, I look at many of the IT support people that are needed and much of the custom/contract development industry and wonder “Is there a way to get the original products to do what people want instead? Is it inevitable that every company with 20 or more people needs an IT department? Why are companies having to create their own support centers? Is there a way to reduce the burden?”

I’d even challenge the programming world itself. Take, for instance, the largest pool of software development–which I’d guess is database-oriented development. Why are we doing all this custom work? Is there a way to get around it?

How would you “program” a database application if computers were 10,000 times faster? If you’re willing to sacrifice performance for ease of creation, deployment, and management–which is a safe bet for many database applications–is there even a need for a programming language at all? Would it be cost effective for a person to still think in terms of records and fields? How could you separate out the problem so that the computer could do what it does best and the human does what they do best and yet biasing the burden and workload toward the machine? Would this change open up new markets?

My point is that when I look out one or two human generations (20 or 40 years), I bet there will be a new methodology of development, which would be considered impractical by today’s standards, but reasonable by tomorrow’s. I wonder what it’ll be.

1 COMMENT

  1. Loren,

    Very interesting point – how will custom software development change as the functional costs of computing power, disk space, etc, become negligible?

    I would like to think that it would allow us to abstract all of the underlying technology and technical limitations, allowing us to focus more precisely on improving the work domain at hand.