Interesting article. I started in technology in high school in 1974. Graduated with a masters degree in 1983. Left technology in 2015. Now own a cookie store applying technology to scale it.
The technology world will continue to move in one major direction. The value is not in the specific technology so much as the application of the technology. I’m thinking that the real question your friends are asking is how do I maximize my value as a technologist (where programming is fundemental to all technology) going forward.
Lets use your wordpress example. I love this because when I got the cookie store, the first thing I want to do is get a web site going. Wordpress (and more specifically woo-commerce) was where I started. Bottom line was that the people who were wordpress/woocommerce “programmers” didn’t understand what my business was. I was fortunate in that given my 32 years of technology, I could specify requirements in psuedo code. But even then, the “programmers” had a challenge implementing.
Even maintaining legacy code (e.g. Cobol) requires an understanding of the problem its being applied to. The technology answer is always 42. Understanding the industry is the question that your article totally missed.