how developer skills will change in future

As Machines Reduce the Demand for Programmers, How Will Skill Sets Change?

Andrew Zola
Andrew Zola on Linkedin

Artificial intelligence (AI) is growing rapidly and it’s already having an impact on everything from health care to home automation to automobiles. It’s also going to have an impact on software development as it’s predicted to turn programmers into something more like data scientists.

Overall, AI is expected to be worth about $5 billion by 2020 with 6 billion devices requiring support by 2018. But AI’s significant strides in recent years aren't limited to the Internet of Things (IoT) alone.

In fact, it’s all going to be about teaching machines to code. Today,  data is being used to train software with the goal of making it more intelligent. As the data will enable the software to interact, it will also drive software releases.

How Are Robots Taking Over?

Experts believe that deep learning (DL) and AI will change how software will be written. What this means is that established archetypes that we have grown used to, namely, programmers spending months simply coding features will change.

Parameters like application flow and interfaces will still remain relevant, but data will drive decisions on feature sets and how the software will evolve.

So releases will be heavily dependent on the software being trained at a higher level and updates will depend on new experiences and data sets.

Robots Won’t Replace Software Developers If They Learn New Skills

The speculation that these smart machines will one day replace software developers is fathomable, but humans will still play an important role. If and when this happens, the industry will require coders with different skill sets.

Software developers will instead be needed to curate the data and allow AI to process it and learn it. So coders will have to start developing more AI and data science skills.

The tremendous growth of IoT means that the enormous data that’s generated will also continue to grow rapidly, like in online gambling industry. As a result, AI will have to play a significant role in collecting and processing this data.

From self-driving cars to advanced medical diagnostics, AI will play a huge part in bringing these initiatives to fruition.

In the new model, software engineers will have to change how they view data. So moving forward, data has to be at the forefront of development and not an afterthought. Software developers will need to have the mindset to democratize the data right from the beginning of their development model.

According to a study conducted by Evans Data Corp, 29% of software developers surveyed fear that their current development work will be replaced by AI. Further, if you look at questions on the knowledge sharing platform, Quora, the debate rages on.

While some stress that humans will never be replaced, others fear the opposite outcome. At the same time, others believe in what we’re talking about here, it’s all about adapting to the new age of software development.

The industry which was once completely code-centric is now expecting the human element to start moving towards data science.

Some say that this move towards AI software development will spell disaster, while others think that it will be the inevitable outcome when it comes to mid-level development.

What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments section below.