AI is advancing rapidly and it is now able to write pretty decent code if you give it the right prompts.
It is not too much of a stretch to think of a world where you just write a JIRA ticket and instead of a junior developer working on it, you have AI finish the task in a few minutes.
Even now we have tools such as the new version of GitHub Copilot coming out powered by GPT-4 which can help solve bugs, write unit tests for you and even write pull requests. On top of that, it works well with all the major programming languages.
If you are a junior developer, how on Earth do you compete with that?
It won’t be long before companies start capitalising on this. They will realise that developers can be much more efficient when using AI and will just pay out for AI subscriptions rather than hire more developers.
It makes perfect sense. If a company wants to increase productivity by 10% they could either hire a few more junior developers or pay just $200 a year for GitHub Copilot.
However, there is something that AI can’t do and it is going to be a while before it can.
The reason companies hire developers is not for their amazing coding skills it is for solving problems. In particular, it is solving problems for their specific business.
To do that you need to have in-depth knowledge of how your company works. You need to know how they make money, what their biggest costs are, the main pain points and what part of their business takes the most time.
Once you have a decent understanding of all that then you are in a good position to solve problems for the business.
AI is trained on general knowledge that is publicly available. It is going to be a long time before companies trust it enough to divulge any company secrets. I can’t see that happening unless the company can afford to have their own on-premise AI solution.
This is the main advantage you have over AI, so you need to make sure you are taking advantage of it.
Your focus should be on becoming a domain expert in your industry. Software developers that understand the business and are able to solve problems are always going to be in demand even when AI is writing all the code for us.
You don’t want to get stuck being a code monkey that does nothing but write code for others. You need to put yourself in a position, where you are the one solving the problems and the best way to do that is by becoming a domain expert.
If you are a junior developer pick the brains of the ones solving the problems. Don’t be afraid of asking questions, most senior developers and managers will be impressed by your initiative. Learn as much as you can from them and ask to be a part of the planning process.
If all you do is write code then you are going to be one of the first to go when AI becomes more powerful.