This article is about Hi-Tech, Low-Tech, and those that are in Between. It is customary to refer to everything related to computers as the hi-tech industry. However, a more careful look at today’s startup scenes reveals a somewhat different picture. The proliferation of powerful scripting languages coupled with the ease of software dissemination over the Internet, not to mention using Facebook, enable rapid and simple development of sophisticated software with extreme ease.
Moreover, the availability of extremely powerful and cheap hardware as well as advanced runtime environments manage to run such software fast enough to make them useable and even highly scalable.
Consequently, I claim that the fact that something includes a software program and runs on a computer should not qualify it to be called “high-tech”. Specifically, the “hi-tech” industry nowadays consists of two different industries: a true hi-tech one and a low-tech one.
The former deals with true technical challenges, and requires a great deal of engineering efforts and scientific knowledge. In the latter, on the other hand, most of the innovation is in the business model and/or marketing. Yet, it requires very little technological sophistication, and can be developed without any significant knowledge of computer science or software engineering.
It is important not to confuse between the two concepts. Of course, if a low-tech software company/application reaches a critical mass of users, then it may require re-engineering, and in the process real hi-tech might be needed to move forward.
It appears that as an entrepreneur, it is easier to get rich with the low-tech path. It usually requires a smaller capital investment and the time-to-market is much shorter. On the other hand, IT professionals who prefer to be employees rather than entrepreneurs seem to be better off in the true hi-tech path, as salaries for “real programmers” seem to be 2-4 times higher than for scripting languages and web developers. So ultimately, there is still a payoff for somewhat who is willing to spend 3-4 years studying for a computer science/software engineering degree.