The unknown future of software developers
With AI and the after effects of COVID, the future of software developers is uncertain.
The role of the software developer is set for a major upheaval over the coming years.
In the past I have thought of programming and software development as a career path that should be "safe" in the future. There have been many waves of tools that have claimed to be able to develop applications either with no coding or very little coding. These have, on the whole, failed to take off. However this is all now changing.
A lot has been written about the impact AI will have on jobs, including software development. There are new tools appearing every day to assist in the development of software and this is starting to have an impact on the speed it can be developed.
Maybe AI will follow a similar path to the one that opened up when spreadsheets became mainstream and allow those with little or no programming expertise to experiment and do things they had no hope of doing before?
These tools are changing the way programmers work. That is not the only way they are having an impact.
In an article by Rockford Lhotka he highlights the career path from programmer to developer and his concerns that the first step will be eroded by the use of AI. He questions how skipping that step will have an impact on the role of developer as they will not have had the opportunity to build their experience.
I am also seeing things change in a similar way due to the aftermath of COVID. I was chatting to a friend recently and she mentioned that her son, who is studying Computer Science, has struggled to get any form of work experience. She has reached out to people she knows who previously may have offered him the opportunity but are no longer able to as they work from home.
I think the role of the programmer/developer is at the start of a very big change. These new tools could massively increase their productivity - both in writing and understanding code. For certain types of development they could even potentially replace them or at a minimum change existing roles dramatically. And given the difficulty in getting into the field currently and the potential experience gap it will also be interesting what a developer will look like once the current experienced developers have moved on.
Is this the end of the developer as we know it?