The Job Market for Programmers

Looking at the job advertisements for computer programmers in the early 1960s, it is clear that many programmers were concerned about the future of their profession.   On the one hand, there were many opportunities for horizontal mobility within the profession: an even moderately skilled programmer could readily move from company to company, and had little to fear in terms of long-term unemployment.  On the other hand, it was not clear the programmers had much vertical mobility: for a variety of reasons, programmers were often not seen as being managerial potential.  Many of the advertisements from this period appeal to this sense of frustration and insecurity.  The overall message seemed to be “come work for our company; we will treat you as being more than a mere technician.”

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