Once again programming seems to be the vanguard of modern work. It's becoming easier and more pleasant with each passing year, month and even a week. I've noticed that after I returned to coding after a few years break.   

The Tools

The tools have grown up. You can finally get decent IDEs even for PHP and other dynamic languages. You have grown-up frameworks, like say Spring in java, Symphony or Zend in PHP, Rails in Ruby and tons, and tons of others.

Most of them have become developer friendly. Being "fun to work with" seems to be an equal citizen among other requirements for new technologies along with reliability, testability, etc. Take the Bootrstraps, the Angulars, the RoRs...

The Knowledge

Nowadays, when in trouble you go to sites like the beloved StackOverflow which already contains answers to the questions you haven't even asked. Or the ones you're going to have tomorrow :) Heck, you don't even need to go there explicitly - Google will direct you there almost by default.

Want to learn a totally new subject? No problem - from Udacity through Coursera and Stanford online courses to hundreds of thousands of tutorials on the web - it's all the programming knowledge is just few clicks away.

The Irony

It's now easier to become a programmer than ever. Heck, you don't even need to go to college and get yourself in debt to become a developer! This situation in a sense is one huge irony though: Programmers are one of the most demanded and well paid professionals on the market, and yet there's so few people considering this incredibly rewarding job!

Picture credit: Nik Cubrilovic