OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, is training its AI technology that can replace software engineers in the future.” This news from Business Insider was no less than a shock for software developers. Many IT professionals became concerned about the risk of losing their software engineering jobs. But are their concerns legitimate?  

AI-led software development is a new reality. With recent advancements in AI, several companies are now integrating this technology into their SDLCs. According to an estimate, over 1.2 million software developers use AI tools like Github Copilot to write code every year. Although these tools have advanced code-generation capabilities, they can never replace a qualified development workforce. Instead, automation tools can help developers become more productive and efficient. 

Let’s explore how AI is disrupting the software development industry and look at the future implications of this technology on software engineering. 

Evolution of AI: Good or Bad for Developers? 

The evolution of AI in software development is not a new thing. The technology has been used in development and IT workflows as automation for years. We’re now transitioning into the next phase that will result in remarkable breakthroughs. 

However, two narratives are popular regarding the role of AI in software engineering. Let’s examine these narratives one by one: 

1. AI Will Replace Developers at a Massive Scale 

The first narrative claims that technology is bad for humanity. The perpetrators of this claim believe advancements in AI will have a devastating impact on our lives. As AI systems become more powerful, they will soon replace humans in every sector, including IT.  

For instance, OpenAI plans to replace human software engineers with AI in the future, as reported by Business Insider. For this purpose, the company is training its AI algorithms to write, inspect, and debug codes in various programming languages. Once succeeds, more companies will follow this practice.  

And some organizations, IBM, for example, have started doing so. This tech giant paused its next hiring, aiming to replace 7,800 human jobs with AI systems. So, the concern of software developers about losing their jobs to AI seems real. 

2. AI Will Transform Software Development Industry 

AI tools have advanced capabilities, but are they powerful enough to replace qualified software developers? Experts say no, including Alan Fern, the director of AI research at Oregon State University’s College of Engineering. 

Alan believes AI tools can automate repetitive and less critical tasks only. They can help developers excel at completing repetitive tasks and spend more time on innovation. As a result, AI will dramatically enhance software developers’ productivity and efficiency. 

Similarly, a report by Acceleration Economy suggested that AI tools like ChatGPT are the future of software development. However, although they can write complex code accurately, they can’t replace developers, at least in the near future. Instead, generative AI technology will transform the current software engineering funnel. Developers can use this technology to expedite the pace of modern software development and brainstorm new ideas. 

Likewise, AI experts claim the technology is still under development. At this point, it is not powerful enough to function independently without human intervention. Even ChatGPT requires human input in the form of prompts. Hence, by learning prompt engineering, software developers can boost their ability to write high-quality codes and debug faster. 

AI in Software Engineering: Opportunities for Developers 

How can software developers leverage AI to build next-generation tools in less time? Below are four ways AI can transform software engineering practices in the future: 

1. Changing Roles of Software Developers 

As a software developer, you are traditionally supposed to code and debug manually. Your performance will be evaluated by your ability to write quality code with consistency. Nevertheless, this practice is going to change with the evolution of AI technology. 

In the coming years, AI will automate everything, including development. Hence, software developers will only use AI-powered tools to complete more meaningful tasks. They will need to learn specific commands to do their jobs in minutes. However, a sound knowledge of AI and workflow automation would be required to stay competitive. 

Similarly, AI integration will create new roles in organizations. Most of these roles will involve software engineers and IT professionals. For instance, a McKinsey report indicated over 39% of software engineers and 35% of data engineers were hired for AI support roles in 2022. 

2. Faster Debugging and Testing 

How much time do you usually spend debugging your code manually? Sometimes, it can take hours to troubleshoot or find the error in the code. With AI, you can reduce your debugging and testing time by up to 70%. 

AI-powered tools can accelerate the software debugging and testing process. Software developers can use these tools to identify and fix coding issues quickly. They can save time with AI automation and focus more on new features and designs. 

Eventually, companies can complete their projects before deadlines and deliver quality products without bugs or errors. 

3. Cross-Industry Capabilities 

AI can enhance developers’ ability to build cutting-edge solutions with cross-industry capabilities. That means software engineers can expand their scope of application. They can leverage AI tools to make IT solutions more robust, sophisticated, and inclusive. 

Similarly, AI-based software development can lead to more advancements in the coming years. With these transformations, companies can look for future growth opportunities. Eventually, integrating different systems and platforms will improve the accuracy of workflows. 

At the end of the day, companies will have happy customers and robust expansion capabilities. These developments would increase economic growth and create employment opportunities for IT professionals. 

4. Improved User Experience 

Another critical application of AI in software engineering is enhanced user experience. AI tools provide developers with actionable insights into user behaviour. You can see customers’ responses to your product in real time. You can make necessary changes based on that feedback to deliver an optimized user experience. 

This way, companies can use AI-driven analytics to make data-driven decisions. They can identify areas of improvement and design user interfaces that delight customers. 

Additionally, developers can use AI technology to design intelligent algorithms. By combining machine learning, software engineers can build products that quickly adapt to users’ needs. Hence, continuous improvement would result in a happy user base and long-term sustainability. 

Final Thoughts 

AI will not take your job, whether you are a software developer, SQA engineer, or any other IT professional. Yes, the AI-led digital revolution is a reality. But it is here to empower you and make your jobs easier. 

Integrating AI in software engineering can open new business growth and development doors. Companies can use AI tools to stay competitive and become more resilient. Besides, they can add new segments to their portfolio and increase profitability. 

On the other hand, developers can leverage AI technology to become more productive and efficient. They can write high-quality code faster and debug errors in less time. Similarly, they can build custom applications tailored to users’ needs and satisfy their customers.