Everyone’s talking these days about the recent rapid advances in artificial intelligence, especially ChatGPT by OpenAI. The effect has been stunning — and is impacting various industries from academia to hospitality to media. In the software development world, AI’s growing capabilities raise a question that is worth addressing: will junior developers eventually become obsolete?
ChatGPT ushers in a new tech age
ChatGPT, a cutting-edge AI language model, has demonstrated exceptional proficiency in generating human-like text. But it’s capable of doing far more than faking business emails from humans or drafting scripts for the next Marvel superhero blockbusters. Its capabilities extend to software development tasks, such as generating code snippets, debugging, answering technical queries and suggesting code optimizations.
These are the kinds of tasks often handled by junior developers who are just starting out, and it has many tech workers worried — and some C-suite executives seeing an opportunity to cut costs.
Whether for good or ill, as AI continues to evolve and improve, it likely does pose a threat to at least some junior developer positions. Given ChatGPT’s ability to automate repetitive tasks and provide instant assistance with coding problems — and do it faster than humanly possible — people are rethinking the right way to deploy junior staff.
How humans could win the AI revolution
Stepping back for a moment, we believe that the AI revolution hugely benefits human programmers — especially the ones with a better understanding of the bigger picture of software projects. In fact, organizations could soon shift their focus toward hiring more experienced developers to address complex, high-level tasks and provide strategic insights.
In this AI-assisted software development landscape, mature developers, including middle- and senior-level professionals, will become increasingly valuable. They possess the technical expertise and contextual understanding required to guide AI tools like ChatGPT effectively. The future of software development could rely on the symbiosis between AI tools and the strategic insights of mature developers.
Indeed, senior human developers may find that their roles include acting as supervisors and guides to AI, significantly boosting the efficiency and capabilities of a team. Future senior developers could be responsible for envisioning how to approach a solution, carefully instructing a mix of a team of humans and AI, and then validating AI-generated code to ensure it adheres to best practices and industry standards and modifying it in innovative new ways. Done right, this could be the dawn of a new era in software development efficiency, quality and innovation.
AI and junior software developers
As for the entry-level folks, of course, our industry can’t just rely on senior developers; we must keep nurturing and training junior developers or else we’ll find ourselves in trouble in a few years. Rather than eliminating the need for juniors, we believe that the tasks that junior developers take on will likely evolve.
Consider what happened with, say, construction workers over the last 100 years. As more powerful equipment and more sturdy materials were invented to build bigger, safer, more elegant buildings, construction workers haven’t disappeared … but the nature of the job has changed. Today, a construction team is more efficient and can build a much broader range of buildings a lot faster than they could do so in the past — yet there’s still a dire shortage of people in the field!
So in short, AI will not replace the total number of developers (at least not in the short term!) any time soon — but it will certainly change how development is done.
Developing your company’s AI strategy
As the pace of technical innovation continues to speed up, demand for technology will continue to skyrocket as well. This demand is essentially limitless: People literally can’t get enough of new innovation. And while AI can definitely shorten mundane tasks, it can’t yet reliably invent new solutions and innovate in the way that humans can. AI will be an incredibly helpful tool to further empower humans, but won’t replace us as the drivers of new ideas. As AI matures and becomes more accessible, it will empower development teams to create a whole new set of solutions more efficiently, just as modern building technology does for those construction workers.
Looking ahead, as AI becomes more common, companies should invest in the continual training and professional development of their staff. Developers themselves should look to broaden their skill sets and stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in AI and software development. Choosing the right software development partner is essential to ensuring your business stays competitive in this AI-driven era.
Plan A Technologies understands the ever-changing landscape of software development and has invested in a team of highly skilled developers ready to take advantage of the newest AI-enabled solutions. Our experienced professionals are adept at leveraging advanced AI technologies like ChatGPT, while ensuring that your software solutions meet the highest quality standards. So why not choose a partner that is prepared for the future? Reach out to our team today.