Study shows that software developers will use AI assistants by 2028

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If NVIDIA’s CEO Jensen Huang has anything to do with it, the future of software development is a democratic space where anyone can code.

“It is our job to create computing technology such that nobody has to program, and that the programming language is human, everybody in the world is now a programmer,” he told the World Government Summit in Dubai.

Huang’s vision is that “For the very first time you can imagine everybody in your company being a technologist.”

Already, according to research from Forrester, 87% of enterprise developers are using low-code development platforms for at least some of their work. The research and advisory firm estimates that the combined low-code and digital process automation (DPA) market reached $13.2 billion by the end of last year. This market has grown at roughly 21% since 2019 thanks to the institutionalisation of low-code in IT, Forrester says,

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Research and consulting firm Gartner agrees. It says that most professional software engineers will be using AI assistants by 2028. By that time, it expects three out of four devs to be using AI assistants regularly to do their work.

Under 10% of software devs were using AI assistants in early 2023, but towards the end of last year, 63% of organisations were piloting or deploying them.

One such tool is Copilot, an AI pair programmer tool created by Github. It uses OpenAI’s largest and latest language models, GPT 3.5 and GPT 4, and research found that Copilot could improve perceived productivity by 88%, make coding less frustrating (59%), and allow you to focus on more satisfying elements of the job (74%).

The technology also increases efficiency: 88% said they experienced faster completion, 96% were faster with repetitive tasks, and 87% reported that using Copilot facilitated using less mental effort on repetitive tasks.

So what does this mean for software developers? Beholden to the constant need to keep up and learn new languages, developers in particular already look to future-proof their careers by constantly adapting and improving their fluency in multiple programming languages. This is especially important if they want to boost their desirability when it comes to getting hired.

Are software devs looking at a future where their roles will be replaced?

No––at least not yet. Most developers actually don’t spend a lot of time writing code, and according to one study, tend to spend more time maintaining, testing and securing existing code than they do writing or improving code.

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Additionally, any time they do save thanks to AI assistants could give them the opportunity to learn even more languages and frameworks. This will expand, rather than limit their knowledge of programming languages, which is good news for job-seeking developers.

There are also new skills to learn for AI-assisted development. Prompt engineering, for example, which can benefit a developer’s broader communication skills.

And Forrester suggests yet another scenario. “AI-infused development platforms (TuringBots) could make traditional high-coding so productive that professional developers reject low-code and switch back to high-coding everything.”

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