Will AI Replace Software Developers? (Insights for Programmers)

6 min read
Will AI Replace Software Developers?
Will AI Replace Software Developers?

At the beginning of 2023, there were lots of rumors about OpenAI training its models to potentially replace human developers. The company raised eyebrows by hiring international contractors for six months to generate data for teaching generalized AI models to perform basic software engineering tasks.

This news sparked concerns: will AI replace software developers? Industry behemoths don’t seem to inspire any optimism. For instance, the CEO of Dukaan revealed via X (formerly Twitter) that his company had replaced around 90% of customer support staff with AI chatbots. Combined with designers and copywriters complaining about AI encroaching on their jobs, it is safe to say that AI replacing humans is no longer a conspiracy theory.

At Flyaps, we've been assisting businesses in safely adopting innovations like AI for over a decade. Having witnessed numerous fears and prejudices surrounding innovations, such as automation, even before AI became a common thing in the tech world, we understand the initial sense of anxiety. However, automation has proven to be a positive thing in almost every domain, allowing people to shift from mundane boring tasks to more stimulating and creative endeavors. This has been beneficial for both management and employees.

In this article, we delve into the future of software engineering and try to answer the question that plagues many of us these days: will AI replace software developers? To provide a comprehensive understanding of different perspectives, we gathered a diverse group for a lively discussion. Join us as we uncover insights and share the viewpoints of our tech teammates on this hot topic.

Let’s start by examining the role of AI in software engineering.

How is AI used in software development?

The future of software engineering is hard to imagine without AI. According to a GitHub survey, 92% of developers in the U.S. use AI-driven coding tools for both personal and professional tasks. Among them, 70% feel that these tools give them an advantage at work, promoting improved collaboration within teams and helping to avoid burnout. So, even non-AI-driven apps are built with the help of AI to some extent these days.

92% of developers in the U.S. use AI-driven coding tools
92% of developers in the U.S. use AI-driven coding tools

Naturally, AI has emerged as a powerful ally for our team at Flyaps. Our developers have embraced innovative ways to incorporate AI into their projects, optimizing processes and overcoming challenges. Let's take a look at cases where AI, including ChatGPT, has let them enhance various aspects of the development life cycle.

  • Optimizing code generation and testing: In the words of Oleksii Hlavatskyi, our Python engineer, “In my recent projects, I employed AI, specifically ChatGPT, to streamline the development process. The primary focus was on improving code generation and testing.
  • RPA and AI integration for invoice processing: Another developer recounts their involvement in our Fintech project, stating, “We seamlessly integrated robotic process automation (RPA) and AI, leveraging ChatGPT for invoice parsing and generation. This synergy of technologies significantly enhanced the efficiency of our processes.
  • Accelerating unit testing, assisting in test description and initial code provision: Olga Kazmina, a frontend engineer, highlights the impact of AI on unit testing, explaining, “To expedite the unit testing process, I used ChatGPT. For instance, I could provide a function or a React component, specify testing details, and let artificial intelligence generate a template. While some refactoring was required, this approach saved substantial time.

Offering a broader perspective, Olga highlights, “AI plays a crucial role in describing tests for code and providing the initial code structure. This collaboration between humans and AI enhances both the accuracy and speed of the development cycle.

  • Automating test writing: AI's role in testing extends beyond the development phase, as noted by one of Flyaps’ developers who shares, “I employed AI to test products post my changes and automated the process of writing tests. This not only improved testing efficiency but also ensured the reliability of our products.

Although AI has greatly helped developers with their daily tasks, it is not an answer to every question and has its limitations. Let’s talk more about them.

Challenges to using AI in software development

“One major issue is the lack of comprehensive study materials covering all possible situations,” said Serhii Honcharov, PM/BA at Flyaps. “To teach AI effectively, it needs ample learning material, but development communities face limitations in this regard. That’s why, our developers conduct careful initial analysis and data preparation, especially in areas like invoice processing, where having similar invoices was crucial for effective AI learning.”

As Vladyslav Sydiuk, our DevOps engineer, rightly pointed out, “AI has its limitations in tasks that require creative problem-solving and a deep understanding of complex, abstract concepts. In infrastructure as code (IaC), while AI is great at managing standard setups and automating routine tasks, it struggles with the complexities of designing adaptable infrastructure systems.

Nazar Lytvynov, a Python engineer, points out that “Another challenge arises in dealing with complex design problems, like implementing domain-driven design (DDD) in a Django project. Despite AI's abilities, certain intricate design details and specialized frameworks present obstacles that require human intervention.

But as you can see, even with its limitations, AI has become crucial for developers. Now, let's see if AI poses a threat to developers in its current state and a few years ahead. Let’s see the numbers.

Demand for software engineering positions in the age of AI. What changed?

Despite layoffs in major tech companies, the job market is thriving, and overall computing jobs are expected to reach 531,000 by 2031, according to Code.org. Specifically, software developer employment is anticipated to grow by 21% from 2020 to 2030, resulting in 409,500 new jobs.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also expects a whopping growth projected in demand for software developers from 2022 to 2032 - by 25%, which is much faster than the average growth for all jobs.

Another interesting perspective shows us the Karat/Harris Poll survey of 600 engineering and talent leaders. It highlights that the demand for skilled software engineers remains high and these professionals are considered vital for organizational success.

The survey mentioned that despite the rise of AI, 45% of top-performing leaders prefer hiring for general roles in software engineering, emphasizing the need for versatility. The most sought-after roles in 2023 were data analysts, cloud architects, and data engineers.

Source: CodinGame

Judging by these data, the future of software engineering looks exceptionally promising!

So, will AI replace software developers? Our verdict

The teamwork between AI and humans in software development is changing the industry. Instead of replacing people, the focus is on working together for better results. AI helps with repetitive tasks, letting DevOps professionals and software developers focus on more strategic and creative challenges. This shift allows for more innovation and the creation of advanced software solutions.

Even though AI capabilities are impressive, our developers emphasize that it can't completely replace skilled developers. Understanding complex tasks and grasping overall business logic are areas where human intuition and expertise excel. AI is seen as a helpful assistant, but it has limitations, and human oversight is crucial for tackling the most intricate challenges.

The current situation shows that AI isn't ready to dethrone humans yet. However, this doesn't mean developers should relax. It's a call for action, encouraging developers and business owners to adapt to new situations with changing methods, knowledge, and skills. In the spirit of Darwin's idea of evolution, those who can adapt thrive in the face of change.

So, while AI enhances developers' capabilities, the collaboration between human creativity and AI technology is key to navigating the ever-changing world of modern software development.

Final thoughts

As Vladyslav Sydiuk notes, creating a flexible infrastructure system requires taking unpredictable factors into account and customizing solutions to fit specific business needs. This is where the value of skilled tech talent becomes unmatched. Having talented software developers on the team is essential. When equipped with the right AI tools, they can bring forth truly great and original ideas.

At Flyaps, we're proud of our team of tech-driven engineers who embody innovation. Our skilled professionals not only navigate the changing landscape of software development with expertise but also bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. Combining the collaborative power of human creativity with cutting-edge AI technology, our team excels in creating innovative products tailored to our clients' unique needs.

Looking to combine skilled developers and advanced technology? Drop us a line and we ensure the delivery of standout solutions in the fast-paced tech world.