Over the next eight years, the United States will add more than a quarter-million new software developer roles, according to new data crunched by The Knowledge Academy (which provides online training courses) and Glassdoor.
That job increase through 2026 should come as good news to anyone considering a career in software development. Over the past few years, as machine-learning algorithms have become more sophisticated, some tech pros have harbored a growing worry that software will take over the bulk of coding work, putting a sizable percentage of developers out of business.
If the number of software developer roles increases in coming years, however, that’ll be all the proof anyone needs that developers are at least somewhat immune from automation. But there’s a nuance here: software will almost certainly evolve to the point where it can take over many aspects of coding, meaning that developers in coming years will need to focus more on creativity, project management, and other things that machines can’t do (yet).
In fact, automation is already taking over the software industry in not-so-subtle ways. Microsoft (with its PowerApps platform), Google (with Google App Maker), and other companies have built and marketed low-code building environments for custom business apps; this has unleashed a new generation of “citizen coders” with relatively little programming skill who can nonetheless assemble single-function apps within a short period of time.
“Citizen coders” may ease some of the pressure on companies to hire full-time developers and other tech pros, but bigger coding projects will still demand experts capable of managing all elements, from cloud vendors to app UX. And there’s significant money for those tech pros with the right skills; a Python developer, for example, can earn an average of $107,578 per year, and salaries often increase with the adoption of specialized skills.
In other words, the future seems bright for developers—so long as they have in-demand expertise and experience.