In the world of automation, DevOps and a huge amount of tools for website development are we doing less code and so becoming less of a developer and more of an admin?
Over the few years of me doing web development I how found more things have come out the box to reduce the amount of coding required. There are good reasons for this as it has sped up dev to live timelines as we can push things out faster and also us as developers don’t need to do repetitive changes, like navigation or text, as they can be done by content editors.
However it does then lead me to worry about what the future holds for us web developers as it means we will be needed less or only for the small changes, unless we are the ones building the tools. I have moved from a company that has an in house built Content Management System, which we would have to build, support and update all the time. As new clients came in and new advancements were made in other CMS that meant we had a challenge to get caught up. This also meant we were constantly busy and always looking for future improvements. I do like this work pace as I never like to be bored or without work to do, but it does then mean a lot of time spent. There can be a whole host of bugs and issues that constantly stream in, especially if you are working in a digital agency because it’s not just one customer finding bugs. This can then stop the growth of the CMS and the company, so we all turn to the companies that can provide the basic CMS that we can the advance and develop to what we need.
These can be WordPress for the PHP developer or even Kentico for the .Net developer, both really good at what they do. They, and a bucket load more, provide a very nice CMS that can easily be managed by the content providers. If there is a bug with their code then they will fix it and give out the updates. If they develop a new tool to make things better, then it will be given out to everyone as an update. This means there is less work by us developers for the basic little things and more time for the improvements that we want. We can be making new modules, style changes or just about anything we want without worry that something is going to fall over. The trip up though is how much new things does a company need? When the CMS company provides the basic needs of a content editor then there is not much left for them to need, especially every day to fill out your time. You think about any website and how much they actually change, not much in development more just content.
This to me starts to point to how we are going to need less developers, but more smart developers. It’s the same old saying of Quality Over Quantity. Before every company needed developers to keep up with the tide of work and development needed for the website, plus services building. They were the hot new thing that every company needed to be a proper company. Now though with more companies turning to pre-build products and social media for their content outlet, there is less need. The only need will be for the smart developers to be building updates to the products the companies are using, but how many developers does Squarespace or WordPress need.
Luckily I think there will always be demand for developers, either with web or transition to other sectors. What do you think?