Part of my job involves tracking trends, and a conclusion I came to is that we’re making the wrong push. Kids do not need an expanding marketplace devoted to coding simple switch statements. Schools devoting a large chunk of curriculum to programming are pushing the wrong solution on a future workforce.

This isn’t to say that getting acquainted with programming fundamentals at a young age is bad. It’s just that the future landscape will be vastly different from the one we are in now.

Shallow dive:

Machine learning, with the assistance of quantum computing, changes the fundamental requirements of a computer scientist. Instead of looking for coders, we’ll need physicists. We’ll need people that can, Math. People that can wrangle large data sets and write algorithms that machines can turn into solutions.

We should be motivating a strong algorithmic problem solving skill set in place of a strong programming base. Languages change as do coding patterns; the one constant, mathematical fundamentals. And math skills will play a far greater role in filling well paying spots in the future economy in comparison to the code monkey.

Mid-level dive:

Let’s take web development as an example.

Online editors are already sophisticated enough to have content thrown at them. They’ll handle the code, cross platform compatibility, etc. We can call them ‘Smart Templates.’ You can argue that someone has to code the system for these editors to be usable. And that is true, but there is only so much they will have to grow before feature additions become redundant.

Taking this a step further, is the content itself. Currently, websites handle this manually. A user uploads an item where they want it to show up and there it is. Machine learning will allow content creators to just hand off their content and have the content populate intelligently through algorithms. The content will then have adjust itself based on user data. This can further filter down to a user’s login giving every user a consistent yet slightly modified experience enhancing the chance of a click, like, or purchase.

Take one more step into the not so distant future and AI will code enhancements and rework it’s code base on it’s own.

Web development is a fairly simple example, but you can see where this is going.

So while learning to code is beneficial, beautiful, and world expanding the future landscape will depend less on the naked coder.