Software Engineers: What do the experts think about your future?
Advanced software continues to permeate industries from healthcare to manufacturing and is shaping the ways we live and work. Software engineers remain in high demand but the rapid technical advancing world is catching up to them also.
The most pervasive question being asked at the moment is; will AI replace the Software Engineer?
AI could almost certainly write a convincing enough article right now on the topic, but could AI really replace the people who created it in the first place?
We’ve collated 6 opinions on the future of software engineering. Sourced from various online publications from Dice to Forbes to the British Computer Society (BCS) and blogs from tech professionals; we take a look at what the future might have in store for Software Engineers.
From the impact of emerging technologies to the evolving skill sets required, in this blog we’ll uncover the thoughts of experts and discover the exciting possibilities awaiting software engineers in the coming years.
Starting with Forbes and how Natural Language Technology might impact a Computer Programmer
“Current NLP-based tools still have limited effectiveness when it comes to creating software designed to give an edge in business or, indeed, to compete with human ingenuity.
One caveat here is that although we can do our best to extrapolate what might happen in the future, in reality, no-one has a crystal ball.
Future developments could indeed increase the speed with which we are travelling towards a point in time where human programmers will simply not be needed.
For the time being, however, we can be confident that there is still a wide range of skills required to develop software that computers don’t seem likely to be able to replicate any time soon.”
Is AI about to put the software pros on the bench?
BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, recently asked will AI replace software engineers? “The short answer is: ‘No’. However, engineers will need to have a broader base of capability as software engineering will become more of a generalist discipline.
There will be less routine tasks, fewer segmented specialisms and greater requirement for composable architecture skills.”
The role of a software engineer has of course changed as technology advances and user needs develop.
InfoWorld took a look at the state of IT jobs in 2023, finding that the most in-demand development professionals are full-stack developers.
Quoting Nick Kolakowski, senior editor of Dice Insights at technology career marketplace Dice, Infoworld predicted “even amidst the shake ups in the technology market, development remains perhaps the most important core tech skill for nearly every company today.”
Kolakowski also recently wrote a Dice article ‘How Will GPT-4 Impact the Future of Tech Jobs?’ In which he acknowledges that “within a few years, machine learning could streamline or even eliminate a range of coding tasks… but it doesn’t seem likely that even the most sophisticated model will successfully replicate human attributes such as creativity, effective teamwork, and intuition.”
He continued, “for those seeking career security within this brave new world, “soft skills” such as empathy, communication, and leadership can prove useful.”
Soft skills are safe. But how can software engineers keep up?
Brainhub, a Software Development Agency examined the Future for Software Engineers in the age of AI and found it would of course be “virtually impossible for most software developers to master each and every AI-related skill.”
But, “having a breadth of knowledge makes it far easier to acquire deep expertise in one particular area based on changing market demand.”
In layman's terms; do not pigeonhole your own skill set.
Stackchief, a platform for software engineering professionals to share ideas, code and build community, provided an excellent present day example for why Software Engineers do not need to completely abandon their careers.
Machine Learning “tools may make things easier but code that generates code still needs to be maintained by somebody. Even when exploring the ever so volatile crypto space, you realise that the magic that is blockchain still boils down to a code base managed by humans.”
The future for software engineers looks bright but inevitably there will be winners and losers within the space.
Full Stack engineers will remain in high demand for the foreseeable future. But, the Stackchief article continues, “AI engineers, block chain engineers, and even prompt engineers (yes engineers who prompt AI tools like ChatGPT are a thing) may have an even brighter future.”
AI isn’t going to replace you but you must learn to work with it.
Taking into consideration the opinions of industry experts it’s clear that overall the future of software engineering is both promising and challenging.
To be the most employable software engineer in the future market, engineers must embrace AI, commit to career long learning and take a holistic view of technology they work with and the software they create.
This application of technical skills alongside strong soft skills will ensure software engineers keep a competitive edge and remain in high demand.