The Real Poop
Computer programming is an awesome life, especially if you live in Silicon Valley. If you live anywhere else, you will always be needed and perhaps beloved. One caveat: You need to be comfortable and excited to see language like this:
var elem = document.createElement('script');
elem.src = (document.location.protocol == "https:" ? "https://secure" : "http://edge") + ".quantserve.com/quant.js";
elem.async = true;
var scpt = document.getElementsByTagName('script');
If you see art in these typings and think of it as magic when a computer solves a problem…and you have a yen for codes, math, and structured problem solving, this is probably right up your alley.com. You will spend almost all of your time in your favorite place—right there in front of a computer. You'll make great money and be looked at by your co-workers with awe, or at least respect.
It may actually help if you're something of a people person, as you will have to deal both with those who speak your language (C, Java, PHP) and with those who speak only English. You'll need to be able to calmly find a way to build a recursive algorithm by yesterday so the site can launch.
There are dozens of flavors of computer programmers. At "the low end" are the operations programmers (responsible for keeping servers up and running). Coders, especially those who can code quickly and solve complicated problems, are at the top of the food chain. Programmers can be found working for companies of all shapes and sizes, everywhere from independently run small businesses to mega-corporations like Microsoft. Anywhere with programs, basically.
At the extreme end of compliance and security issues are people who work for the NSA—i.e., professional hackers. CIA type people. Spies. Scary knowledge of what dark things you do on your keyboard. Enormous talent needed, less than huge pay, but god-like powers at your fingertips.