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I live in Seattle and here the only island of prosperity seems to be software development. Almost everyone I know under the age of 40 who I would consider successful in their career and finances, or "upper-middle class," is in the software/IT field.

The troubles of the financial sector are well known. Law used to be a safe bet, but the current glut of law graduates now means it's no longer a sure-fire ticket to upper-middle class life. Medicine is still, but only because so few people are allowed into medical school. It's such a high barrier to entry. Since you don't need a specific degree or license to be a dev, software's barrier to entry is only in the difficulty of acquiring the knowledge and experience itself, not in acquiring certification.

Even though I personally dislike most of Microsoft's products, I shudder to think what would happen if the wheels came off that bus, and the region were suddenly flooded with experienced software developers seeking employment.

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