Gone are the days when night elves would piece together code on monochrome monitors, tapping away on chunky keyboards and hard-coding everything from libs to frameworks, gingerly nudging their ball-mice every now and then, said Greg Oxley, DevOps at unified data management specialists, Cherry Olive.

Says Oxley: ”Those were the days when a programmer was still considered an electronic wizard and an anathema to management in equal measure. Back then, dedicated developers were hard to find.

“Low demand and a small selection of available languages resulted in serious coders becoming specialists, druids of one or two languages. They became tunnel-visioned and would jealously guard their secret rituals and rites from each other, determined to sustain their own importance in their chosen school.

“Now move to today, where nine-year olds are tearing websites apart and IT is considered too large to not include in any business plan. When you have the rise of cloud computing and big data. Developers are in greater demand than ever before, and there are so many different tools, resources and languages for similar needs that single-language specialisation has become deprecated.”

Oxley says the new generation was born into the rise of Java, the re-emergence of Linux, the era of world-wide electronic information and communication et cetera. This has created the ultimate tool: a new breed of youthful elves capable of achieving any spell, and studying any tome and surpassing their predecessors in any field they choose, given enough time.

“These code-slingers are quick-thinking, optimistic and – most importantly – adaptable.

“Where the old-school way of hard-coding each piece of a program in a single language and then handing it over for another specialist to add his work, resulting in something out of Little Shop of Horrors, the new generation simply works through it, a small group of developers pooling their knowledge and adapting themselves to the tools required and creating something clean and sane.

“Indeed with the advent of big data – a term we are going to hear increasingly – this kind of programmer, or software development, is the present and the future,” says Oxley.