The Future of Software Engineering

I posted this thought on LinkedIn.

Many developers are having an existential crisis due to the GPT class models. The release of ChatGPT plugins yesterday made it even more acute. What is your take on the recent development? I see several possible outcomes affecting me as a developer.

  1. My work will become much cheaper. Something similar happened to the translation industry a bit earlier where professional translators are pushed to use machine translation and struggle to keep up with the ever growing requirements (words per hour).
  2. I will be expected to deliver much more with the same time. Which is actually the same as 1. I quite like this. I have many ideas for projects. Now I can realize them much faster. Everybody can. This democratizes the IT.
  3. Junior-level work will perish. But how in the future we will have mediors and seniors when there are no juniors in the first place? This opens another question of training and teaching programming. We slowly abstracted from the low level (assembly, C) to high level. Now, are we going to deal with problems on even higher level of abstraction?
  4. The developers’ experience will change completely. We will be just reading and revising generated code. Those who don’t adapt will fall behind as diggers working with shovels instead of excavators. Or the art of programming will change into the art of interrogating large language models? It might be inevitable but I don’t like this option at all. I would probably switch to a different field in the second case.
  5. What is being developed will change completely. We start building completely new and much more challenging things, like integrating all apps and APIs into a giant system, merging all databases, combining all IoT in the world, dealing with much larger problems and making completely new stuff. Like not developing a web app but developing a tool for generating web apps with a few clicks. This one is exciting to me.
  6. We all retrain as social workers with a hope not to be replaced by robots soon.

What are your predictions? Which of them do you prefer?

We have been living in exponential growth times for some time but I think that only now we can really feel it.

first published: 2023-03-27
last modified: 2023-03-27