Recently, from all over the place, I have heard that the developer job will disappear in a few years. Big language models will dominate. Many people believe in that, and it becomes an actual topic in negotiations as people see less value in developers than before. I appreciate technology and look forward to every new thing that comes; I don’t think we will soon run out of work developers. Statistic from big companies like Alphabet or the government shows that the number of developers that need to cover will remain the same but increase by the end of the decade. (source) But why do people believe that this time is different? Despite that, ChatGPT, Copilot and the rest are showing impressive results, and more than 70 per cent of developers are using or plan to use them on everyday jobs. (source) it is still just a tool requiring a competent and experienced operator.
For a long time, I have believed that new technology like frameworks, language or tools like today are just instruments that help us to build what we want. The biggest question remains - what we want to develop and how we want to build it. All architectural decisions, all UI elements, how all should interact together - all of this is done by people and effective communication, not by machines. It does not matter how fast the model can generate code, but if this code is separate from the bigger picture, not integrated into the rest of the system - it is still just a code. Developers added the meaning of this code. They ask what to write, how to write, and how to integrate. We might change how we develop, focusing more on an abstract level, but I don’t believe it will come soon. There are a few reasons:
But I can’t say that it will not change the industry. No, it will. We will need to reevaluate how we use such tools, what productivity is and the definition of done. How can we let developers use the tools to be more productive but keep best security practices and not push the boundaries and request a 200% increase in productivity?
It will be more challenging for Juniors and newcomers in IT. As models are good in most simple tasks as Juniors, this is where the market will change. Getting into the industry with deep knowledge and understanding of many things will be easier. The time of people who can work with one framework will soon be gone. Today, requirements for people are much broader. You need to understand product development, different frameworks, and sometimes different languages.
The IT industry has always been famous for its constant requirement to learn; the pressure will be much higher now.
To summarise - I think we are now experiencing a big change in the way we work, but not in a way that developers will be replaced. You can magically ask the model to create a code for your idea, but in a way that we become much more productive, and the requirement for the job will be higher. So keep learning something new every day and develop yourself. Let’s hope our future is closer to transhumanism rather than Skynet.