The last of the codeslingers?

Is programming a transient job that's experiencing its last days of the Wild West?

Is programming a transient job that's experiencing its last days of the Wild West?

In exactly the same way many jobs in the past that were replaced by technology programmers can be replaced by automated programs that chew out automated, standards compliant code with the push of a button. No caffeine required. Previously it was okay to replace someone else's job with code, just don't touch ours. What goes around comes around, right?

Recently I was looking at a piece of middleware technology that accepts UML as its only input. No coding, no manual unit testing, no development needed. Once the questions about the problems with automatically generated code were posed, my main concern was that if this technology took off, that there would be no need for programmers - everyone that worked with it would have to function as a designer or architect.

Exit the technophile. Enter the Luddite.

What about the art of programming? Would the awesome hack disappear from usage and be replaced by cold hard perfect auto-generated code? It's sad but it will happen.

Where does that leave us? We are in the Wild West of programming. We still need to be able to sling code around and get involved in the rough and tumble of hacking. But the railroad of automated code is ever encroaching and pushing us further out into the frontiers.

My concern for the eventual extinction of programmers was rebounded to me recently when I heard someone say "the whole reason that programmers exist is because users cannot write good enough code themselves". True enough. Remember 15 years ago when Word Processing was a job title?

I get the feeling that I will be found at the programmer's equivalent of Tomestone looking for the last gunfight at the OK Corral.

What do you think. Is the time of coding as we know it passing and a new era approaching?