Is AI going to replace Software Developers?

is AI going to take your job?

Absolutely not! Well, maybe not. No? Yes?

The answer is unclear to me and requires more thought.

I recently mentored someone who was anxious about pursuing a career in Software Development because “AI would be taking all of those jobs anyway”.

I think AI IS going to take a lot of jobs. There’s a company called Figure making robotic humanoids to replace warehouse workers. The founder claims that the companies he talks to have high turnover and struggle to hire and fill roles.

Oddly, right now it almost seems “easier” to replace knowledge workers than it is to replace physical workers. I’ve heard multiple accounts of content writers being replaced with generative AI systems, so this change is already happening now, and it’s likely to accelerate.

My friend Edward Nevard wrote about AI and it’s impact on Cyber-Security roles. I agree with a lot of his points, AI does have narrow use-cases right now like detecting anomalies and recognizing patterns better than a human could.

“AI lacks the depth and breadth of human intelligence” - For now.

AI is getting better and better, and I think we’ll see AGI, or Artificial General Intelligence in our lifetimes.

What does this mean?

The nature of jobs is changing.

Google Sheets, Zoom and Slack didn’t “take our jobs” — they are tools for us to do our jobs more effectively. Ok, that might be a bit of a reach, but my point is: AI is a tool that will be commonplace in accomplishing modern job functions.

It already is for many of us. I use ChatGPT daily to explain difficult concepts, write code snippets and augment my work and own intelligence.

The engineers and technicians that use AI are going to be even better at the jobs, and the ones who don’t lean in may get left behind.

During the Lex Fridman and Zuck metaverse interview, Zuck mentioned that we might have AI agents working on our team, even attending Zoom meetings. I could see that happening. (but I'm not sure I want to participate in it).

Still, I think we’re far away from AI being able to perform all of the functions of a modern engineer. Think of all the tangly pieces of infrastructure in an organization that require human hands to troubleshoot. Systems are complex and require design and on-going maintenance that I think is difficult for an AI to conquer.

Recently, I posted a job on Upwork — I got 10-15 proposals and 8-10 of them were almost the exact same, clearly written by AI.

In one case, the freelancer even suggested I use a Library that didn’t exist called Shellbuckets. F*cking shellbuckets! I’m still laughing about it.

sorry for calling you out Brian, maybe be more honest next time?

In this case, a human touch is required and makes you stand out. Many such cases.

Should you make career decisions based on AI inevitably taking that job?

No, I don’t think so. Do your thing and realize the job might change in the future. And it might be weird.