Perhaps you’ve seen articles or tweets positing that A.I. will be the death of the software developer.
And so on… It’s a hot topic, for sure, but I don’t think we software engineers should be “throwing in the towel” yet. Tools like ChatGPT are extremely impressive, but there is more to a software developer than just writing code.
Disclaimer: I’m still pretty new to the ChatGPT/A.I. scene, so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about. These are more of my thoughts on the subject so far.
I spend a lot of time working with various clients and stakeholders. When I start working with a new client, a large chunk of my time is spent asking questions. As a software developer building a new system for a client, I am responsible for trying and understanding the problem I need to solve as best as possible. Part of my “expertise” is knowing the right questions to ask to build the best possible understanding. I wouldn’t say that an A.I. system can’t perform this task, but from what I see, it isn’t there yet.
Once I understand enough of the problem domain, I then take the time to filter this down into an estimate. The estimate has to have enough detail to describe what I’m building but not so much detail that the client gets lost. From what I can see A.I. tools like ChatGPT can undoubtedly help. Some of my tests in writing with A.I. definitely show value by intelligently rewriting what I did or even suggesting wording. In the end, though, it still needs prompts from me, who has enough of an understanding of my audience and their technical acumen.
Now that it is time to build the solution for my client, several factors must be considered. Is this a public-facing web application where we should be concerned with design aesthetics? Does building one large form or breaking it into a wizard-like interface make sense? What are the security requirements for this client/application? How will it be hosted? What are the client’s performance needs? Are there legal issues to consider, such as HIPPA, COPPA, CAN-SPAM, etc.?
Once again, I’m not saying A.I. tools couldn’t potentially address these concerns, but from what I see, many still need a human touch. That being said, A.I. tooling is progressing rapidly and is quickly becoming a powerful tool in my belt.
Could A.I. replace what I do daily? Maybe one day, but I’m not convinced that day is close. Not yet. But I don’t mind being proved wrong! Add your comments and show me the coolest things A.I. does for you! Cheers!