I definitely agree with everything you said, Dave, in this last post. I graduated with an MS in CS 18 years ago (at an age of more than 35) and ever since, in my professional IT career, I have seen so many young fresh IT people just out of college and/or university really hating programming that I also wonder how this is possible. Admittedly, CS jobs are not only about programming, but programming should still be a common knowledge of anyone embracing an IT career, and I wonder how it is possible that so many people get into that profession without any inclination for programming. I find this puzzling.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I was asked to help another team of my company. A group of about 20 persons in charge of producing reference data for a very large business application. Most of them (perhaps 60 to 70%) with IT background, the others with a business studies background. They needed some programs to compare data between different systems. They did not have one single person able to develop the comparison programs, something quite simple that I developed in two Perl programs, one with about 200 lines of code and the other with less than 70 lines of code.
As far as I am concerned, I am really happy that I was able about 3 years ago to find a job where most of my work is software development, this is really what I like to do (and I also do it as a hobby, for that matter). When I am developing a Perl program at work, I have the feeling that this is no real work, that I get paid for doing my favorite hobby.
A final point though. My son will be completing this year his MS in CS. He loves programming and started writing some programs when he was about 12 and has been programming in various languages ever since. I surely helped him a bit to debug his programs when he was young, but I certainly did not push him to chose this profession, he decided by himself what he wanted to do. This was just to say that you can still find today people who embrace this activity because they like programming. This is probably obvious, but I just wanted to report a case that I know first hand.
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