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NVIDIA agrees with UBS: coding skills are becoming an anachronism

When UBS chief economist Paul Donovan called coding a 'stranded asset,' he faced a lot of opposition. One eFinancialCareers user commented that "a chief economist giving advice on computer science is like a car salesman predicting the weather." That person may need to retract their words: very senior figures in the tech community agree that coding skills belong to yesterday.

Most notable among them is NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang. He says that the rise of GenAI, which NVIDIA is spearheading, will mean that "nobody will have to program," and that the new "programming language is human." Huang also says people that "understand domain expertise" will be the ones who make the most of the AI boom. There's been a historic notion that we must teach our children to code, but Huag says the new reality is "almost the exact opposite."

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If you're not going to learn how to code, what should you learn? John Carmack, the legendary video game programmer behind Doom and Wolfenstein, says "the discipline and precision demanded by traditional programming will remain valuable transferable attributes, but they won’t be a barrier to entry." Rather than coding itself, Carmack says "problem-solving is the core skill," an idea echoed by financial services headhunter Peter Wagner.

AI will also reduce a lot of the friction caused by awkward developers. Carmack says developers committed to a programming language often find it hard to move to a superior alternative, noting that many great programmers "loved assembly language to the point of not wanting to move to C." More recently, people have noted Rust's comparative benefits to a language like C++, but factors like a divisive community and lack of industry adoption get in the way of people using it. If the coding was left to an AI... things might be different....

If you really want to build a future-proof coding career, you might want to become a people person. Carmack says that "managing people is more powerful than any personal tool," despite engineering managers in finance finding work hard to come by. If people skills aren't your strong suit, AI can help; Carmack suspects he "will enjoy managing AIs more [than people], even if they wind up being better programmers than I am."

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor
  • Nu
    Nuttymike
    1 March 2024

    So what actionable advice are normal people that aren't millionairea and billionaires or the children of millionaires and billionaires supposed to take from this if they are interested in tech? Work on your people and problem solving skills? OK, that's kind of a given anyways.

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