“After six years, I literally do not even know how to write good software anymore. I basically forgot everything.” This was posted on Reddit by a user who had just lost his job and was desperately trying to work out what to do next.
The problem for the programmer in question was automation. Rather than evolving his job, he’d simply automated it. And he’d done it so successfully, that he’d forgotten much of what he used to know. It’s an extreme case, but many software devs are starting to notice that the job they trained for, and aspired to, is significantly different to the one they’re doing.
The rise of often outsourced, highly automated, low-code environments has made many developer roles far more regimented, and the work far more routine and less personal than it was in the past. Rather than using their analytical skills, programmers find themselves spending their time tinkering with other people’s pre-written code snippets and maintaining the low-code environments which are supposed to serve them.
It seems likely that this is one factor behind the startling finding, revealed in a 2019 survey, that more than one third of programmers are not satisfied in their jobs, with dissatisfaction rates highest for younger age groups more likely to be stuck in — often gamified and stressful — code factories of this kind.
Many devs also find themselves wondering what happens to them when they reach what is sometimes referred to in the industry as the "planned obsolescence date" for coders: around three-quarters of developers are under the age of 35.
Commonly, many more experienced coders move into management. Whilst management can be rewarding, some people prefer to work creatively on their own projects. Coders often have not only valuable programming knowledge but also highly transferable analytical and creative-thinking skills. So, what should they do to find a role which uses the full range of their abilities?
One of the best ways to elevate themselves, is to add business analytics to their list of accomplishments. The ability to programme is a requirement of business analytics, because specialists in the discipline must often build bespoke programmes and algorithms to process the data and use creative thinking to derive exactly the information and insights they need.
But alongside programming skills, data analysts use a range of analytical, creative and human skills to develop and test hypotheses on what data means and how to turn an understanding of data into value for their clients. And these clients may range from big-name advertising agencies and brands right through to government departments and even charities or non-governmental organisations.
Despite the value which data analysts can add to the operations of public and private organisations, there simply aren’t enough qualified candidates to fill the roles open right now. In a recent survey, 61% of UK firms said they had difficulty filling roles which required data analytics skills. Unsurprisingly, a tight job market translates into high salaries, with the average experienced business analyst in the UK earning in excess of £55,000.
To meet this demand and help people who have the necessary programming and critical-thinking skills break into the profession, the University of Bath has created its Business Analytics online MSc course. Designed for people who already have coding skills and wish to add data and business analytics to their skillset — or develop their existing data skills — the course covers data mining, forecasting and modelling, project management in data analytics, understanding business intelligence software — and much more. Successful candidates will finish the course with a thorough understanding of how to turn raw data into valuable intelligence and then how to use that intelligence to make strategic business decisions.
“People with business and data analytics skills are in hot demand in the market. With the right skills, candidates find themselves with a far greater range of high-quality creative roles open to them. Those roles make use of the person’s full range of programming and analytical-thinking talents. They often also offer a high degree of flexible working. It’s a great time to be in business analytics.”
— Dr. Lukasz Piwek, Course Director
Find out more about doing a Business Analytics online MSc at the University of Bath by requesting information below and speaking to our online admissions team.