If you’ve been spending years learning a programming language such as Java or .Net, there’s a message for you from your potential employers: “Coding is dead”.
Yes, coding as we know it, may not longer be relevant in the world taken over by machine learning and automation. “Coding is dead. I don’t need to do any native development anymore,” Nitin Rakesh, newly appointed CEO of IT services firm Mphasis, told BusinessLine.
“Large public platforms such as AWS, Salesforce.com etc, are the ones where the future of all the development will be. If you talk to a bank, they are doing code writing on native Java, sitting on a Unix machine anymore. The simple view is to be cloud first, mobile first,” he said.
Billions of lines of open source codes are freely available for programmers, which can be reused the way we put Lego blocks together to create a building model.
Akhilesh Tuteja, Partner and National Head (Technology and BPM), at KPMG, says: “It is true the way we program today may not exist in the near future, as there’ll be more of reusable code that’ll be in play. However, you will require some level of programming knowledge to understand how to put these blocks together and make sense of them.”
Application platforms such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft’s Azure and IBM’s Watson, make it easy for engineers to build code in a rapid way by simply using existing pieces of code or simply a combination of multiple tools. Automation simplifies the task further by testing your code with the click of a button, which would’ve otherwise taken days to test.
“That’s why platforms become more important. Whether it is Java or .Net, it will be more configuration than coding. If you look at Node.JS, it is a script of Java. With that you’re not doing native coding but just using existing routines and put it together,” Rakesh said.
IT firms following suit
Mphasis is not the only company trying to change the way it trains its employees and see automation more important than native programming skills. Larger IT services companies such as TCS, Infosys and Wipro are also embarking on re-skilling lakhs of employees on digital technologies that train them on how to use agile methodologies, using more of reusable code to achieve the goals faster.
“If you look at delivery in digital, it is about design thinking, agile, rapid prototyping and everything that is fast and furious. The way we have designed our delivery so far is not fast and furious,” Patrick Nicolet, Group Executive Board member, Capgemini, had earlier told BusinessLine. Nicolet highlighted the importance of automation in order to survive in the current environment.
However, a world without the need of native coding skills does not mean we’ll not need programmers. The reuse of code will further help in reducing dependency on programming skills of individuals.
“The native coding capability will be required but people will need to understand how to reuse code rather than build it. That’s how you reduce your time to market by using existing code.
Our training would also have to align with the platform approach,” Rakesh said.
(This article was published on February 17, 2017)