All roads lead up
When I was in college, I had a lot of fun studying programming and psychology. Neither topic helped me pass my Physics courses. When I realized that Physics was not my future, I chose not to switch to Computer Science because I thought the future of programming was going to be that of mechanics running through the same rote procedures for every car that came in. That it would be reduced from a creative endeavor to gluing things together, though I wouldn’t have worded it that way then.
I was wrong. I was wrong because I didn’t foresee the Internet and web sites. And I ended up working in computer programming anyway, due to a combination of skill and just being in the right place at the right time. A lot of what Mike Taylor is talking about in Whatever happened to programming? is him being in the wrong place. If he were to take a pay cut and work for a small organization, he’d be able to, and probably be required to, do his own programming again, using Python, PHP, or Ruby possibly in combination with HTML and CSS.
But I also stand by what I said in Learning to program without BASIC: our expectations were lower then. Programming isn’t fun unless we’re programming something useful, even if it’s only useful for a moment. This means that some things we had fun programming then aren’t going to be fun now, because computers—and frameworks—already do that for us. But, so far at least, there’s always something else to program. There’s always something else to optimize and make more beautiful.
To paraphrase Stanislaw Lem, we’ve climbed to reach the summit, and we’ve discovered that some roads still lead up.