I was recently asked to comment on whether there was any point in becoming a developer right now, because AI might be doing your job very soon.
Here is the quote I was asked to comment on:
Developing websites, especially ones with static content or just plain content management, will no longer be a relevant skill in next few years.
Developing websites will boil down to choosing a color palette, deciding your content, and then just letting a website creating tool do the rest for you. Most of it has been automated already. Even things like deploying scalable web services and APIs have become easier owing to cloud computing platforms provided by Amazon, Google, Microsoft and others.
I’ve also been reading more articles on AI and a few have rekindled my interest in the conversation. One of the best articles I’ve read is Should developers care that their AI products could take away peoples jobs?
AI Taking Jobs
There is no doubt that AI is now doing things that were earlier done by people. The most obvious is chatbots taking away customer service jobs, but there are loads of other examples: facial recognition passport gates, automatic logistics planning, and even creating art.
Tech taking jobs is normal
Throughout history, technology has been taking the jobs of people. The horse drawn plough took away the jobs of field diggers, horse farriers lost their jobs because of tractors, and recently production line workers have been loosing their jobs to robotic workers.
AI taking people’s jobs is just the next step in the continual process.
Will AI Take Developer Jobs?
Yes, and it’s already started.
The quote talks about those jobs that involve writing HTML and CSS, and I thing that a lot of them are already disappearing. Services like SquareSpace allow you to design and build a website without any coding. You can have it exactly as you like without ever having to employ a developer. This isn’t even AI, this is just well designed software.
AI has also been used in this field. There have been projects to get AI to build a website from a PhotoShop design. It used image analysis and feature detection to build up a full website from mockups.
What about more technical jobs?
Technical jobs, like creating dynamic websites, writing software, or data science, seem safe for now, but I think they’ll start seeing AI in the workplace more and more.
I don’t believe that AI will be taking jobs away, but will rather give developers an incredibly powerful tool to create better products. There are loads of places that I’d love to use AI in my work life, like automating some boring processes.
I don’t think it’ll be long before we have template compilers that take simple commands and compile them into whatever language you want. This will be such a powerful tool as it could eliminate the need for generic boilerplate code, cut down repetitive typing tasks, and give developers time to do what we do best: solve problems.
I expect there are loads of use cases in development that would make life so much better. If you can think of any great examples, let me know in the comments.
Soft skills will be much harder for AI to understand and replicate. Creating a relationship with your customers, effectively motivating and working with a team, and understanding human wants and needs are all skills that turn a good developer into a great one.
What about in 100 years?
In 100 years, I have no doubt that a lot of current developer jobs will become obsolete. AI will probably be able to create incredibly complex software from a description of its features. There may also be sentient AI which would be able to figure out whatever it is you wanted and then do that. You wouldn’t need unique software packages anymore.
You could be an alien designer — designing synthetic lifeforms to make distant planets habitable for humans — or a warpdrive operator. Who knows!
So is it worth becoming a developer now?
Yes, it is! If you want to become a developer, I think it is a great career choice.
You may start learning to do things that can already be done by AI, but soon you’ll be working on projects that AI is not yet able to do. Demand for developers is set to massively increase over the next decade, and the number of areas you can work in is equally massive.
You’ll also be in an industry in which progress is always happening. You can continually grow your skills, adopt AI to make your life easier and more productive, and learn about the bleeding edge of technology.
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