Second Chance

Widening Field

"Software is eating the world." "America Runs on Linux℠," we can say. I think many more people can make software because the boundaries are lowering. Both because the tools are easier to use, and because there is so much more to make, there are many more entry-level jobs. Even as AI automates low-level jobs away.

When every industry shifted to using software to execute their business, it created openings in the field for many more developer types. The developer who is more social than designer or engineer. The developer who stitches large blocks of others' code together.


LaunchCode made a big splash here in St. Louis a few years ago, receiving national attention for its effective and free programs to teach the basics of coding and then tie n00bs to mentorships within software companies.

I have known a handful of programs that trained software development or IT skills to troubled or poor youth, and as far as I can see, they are always strapped for cash and making hardly a difference. Since my late teens, I've wanted to work for an organization like that.

I know a number of people who "graduated" and were happy to have the jobs they eventually got through LaunchCode. What LaunchCode is doing is good. I still wonder if, in not reaching quite as "low" to help people up, they are also not raising people "up" as much as they get lauded for.

I can't really speak to it. If I'm right, there's little to complain about. But seems as if they are offering new opportunities to people who screwed up a liberal arts education-to-job pipeline. People who can get jobs, but could use a cultural indicator in the crowd of unhireables.

In my late teens, I wanted to work for the hopeless. People I felt sorry for.