As software eats the world, the engineering jobs eat the enterprise

Marc Andreessen, whose companies and writings I admire, had a great post in the WSJ a few months ago about software eating the world. The point being that software-based companies are replacing everything inevitably — from information and media to HR to oil discovery to automotive. Every single business. Dry cleaning will be replaced/disrupted by software in loads of ways. Shoe polishing. Road building. You just have to think about it a bit.

A further observation for you: the look of the enterprise follows this. The jobs in a company change. Executives are learning to code, as are non-technical founders.

The designers at Peek and likely many other places are being supplanted by “designeers” — or at least their duties are being reduced. The developers use design patterns, image/widget libraries, image editors, and make the designs themselves. We occasionally sprinkle on some pure design work at the front or the back of a project.

Product UI/UX is already sucked into the engineer job for many of our projects. A few years ago one heard about a revolution in product development, where “the product management department” was compressed into three person teams — a PM + 2 engineers — at places like Google. The PM made UI/UX choices but also just ran the project timeline and other marketing activities. Now you hear about companies like Foursquare that made their first product as just two technical cofounders designing + building. Lots of products inside Peek work this way.

Sales too. One of our three sales guys at Peek works half time actually building the product for his customer. His touch point is the product R&D team. He is a sales engineer.

And today I heard a new one: recruitgineers. Full-time engineering staff (this guy works for a Union Square + Spark backed startup in NYC) who spends about half his time being part of meetups and online communities…and spamming the people he meets with recruiting outreach. Recruiting engineers credibly requires being an engineer, apparently.

So: hackers, software engineers, designeers, product engineers, sales engineers and recruitgineers. And CEOs who code.

No place for that business degree.

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