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Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be … Computer Programmers?

In the digital era, growing up to be a cowboy may once again be a viable option. PHOTO: Sophie Sollmann

Back in 1975 Patsy Bruce and her husband Ed shared their heartfelt sentiments about bad career choices in a song called, “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.”

If they wrote that country classic today they’d likely have to change the lyrics from “Don’t let ’em pick guitars and drive them old trucks. Make ’em be doctors and lawyers and such” to “Don’t let ’em be programmers or report on the news. Make ’em be corporate evangelists or social media gurus.”

These Jobs Are Fading Fast

According to new research from CareerCast, a site offering targeted job opportunities, computer programmers, broadcasters and news reporters are on the Most Endangered Jobs list in the US.

So are five jobs whose decline is directly linked to digital technologies that have automated many manual processes and changed the way we live and work: mail carriers, typists or word processors, utility meter readers, insurance underwriters and disc jockeys.

“The role of automation in the meter reader profession is evident, as utility companies can gauge use remotely. Less obvious is how pre-programmed playlists can eliminate disc jockey positions at radio stations,” CareerCast noted in its report.

Seamstresses or tailors as well as jewelers also made the Top 10 Dead Job List, a decline we can speculatively lay at the heels of millennials who don’t buy diamonds or take care of their clothes, either.

 Mail Carrier  -24%  $56,790
 Typist/Word Processor  -18%  $37,610
 Meter Reader  -15%  $38,510
 Disc Jockey  -11%  $30,080
 Jeweler  -11%  $37,060
 Insurance Underwriter  -11%  $65,040
 Seamstress/Tailor    -9%  $25,830
 Broadcaster    -9%  $37,720
 Newspaper Reporter    -8%   $36,360

The Fourth Estate​

Everyone knows media is dead; having had whatever life was left in it sucked dry during the recent U.S. Presidential election. Almost every day, Donald Trump reminds the nation of some publication that’s struggling, in “big trouble” or “dead,” most recently Vanity Fair.

From personal observation, news reporters and broadcasters (which, in most cases, are synonymous only in the vague way a science text book resembles a comic book) threw in the towel when they started asking Google more questions than their news sources.

And it was an even more egregious mistake when they almost collectively decided to wait patiently, soy lattes in hand, for news to be delivered — rather than dig for it, dirty laundry and a bottle of Scotch in hand.

But Wait … Programmers?

Wasn’t that the future-proof job of the moment not so long ago?

Alas, in the digital era Things Change. Fast.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 8 percent decline in employment of computer by 2024. The bottom line, according to CareerCast:

“Fundamental-level programming ranks as one of the few IT sector jobs with negative employment prospects, as the tech industry as a whole has been one of the healthiest in the United States for the last decade-plus. According to the BLS, computer programming can be done from anywhere in the world, so companies sometimes hire programmers in countries where wages are lower. 

“Specialized careers in IT remain strong, but basic programming and code-writing can often be outsourced.”

The bottom line: Recognize that all jobs are temporary, focus on attitude as much as aptitude and try — as distasteful as this overused word now seems — to be innovative.

Take Vanity Fair, the magazine that attracted a big fat shot of Trump’s ire last week. Did its team sulk? Agree the end was near? Hell no.

It developed what is arguably one of the cleverest marketing schemes of the year:

Vanity Fair advertisement

May marketing — and creative marketers — save us.


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