A really cool career option for people living in the universe created by Vernor Vinge
, in his novel A Deepness in the Sky
. After ten thousand years of humanity writing source code
, there is code for just about doing anything. Unfortunately, it's in a variety of arcane
computer languages and constructs, and it could be hidden in any of a thousand different projects.
So, to be a successful programmer in the 12th millennium, you had to be able to dig through this source code, some of which dated back to second-millenium stuff like MS-DOS, understand the language it was written in, find useful pieces, and assemble them together, with the appropriate glue technology to do what you wanted the system you were working on now. This leads to a very organic understanding of software, but it all kind of works, especially because in Vernor Vinge's universe, the promise of artificial intelligence failed.