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AI, Career Development, Coding

Software Engineering and AI: Best Friends or Foes of the Future?

General Assembly
September 7, 2023

In recent years, software engineers have been like the work world’s equivalent to the most popular kids in school. With all the ongoing and rapid advancements in tech and focus on all things digital, their skills and talents have been some of the most sought after across all industries. But now, with AI on the rise, some worry it might steal the “cool kid” crown and that the popularity of and demand for software engineers may soon dwindle. And the AI boom’s impact on software engineering is especially of interest to potential career changers. Many who’ve considered making the leap into a software engineering role may now be having second thoughts. 

If you’re one of those people, keep reading. It’s no secret that AI is so hot right now, and all signs are pointing to it remaining hot well into the future. But the idea that AI is going to steal your job and render you irrelevant is a myth. AI alone can’t fully take on the role of a software engineer — but it will help you become a more efficient coder if you have the right skills to harness it. 

The AI-powered future is here, and it’s time to make the most of it. Keep reading to find out the best ways to leverage AI in your current or future coding role. 

3 Reasons Why AI is a Friend, Not a Foe, of Software Engineering

Some things just go together — peaches and cream, peanut butter and jelly — coders and AI. Being sceptical is a normal part of life (especially when it comes to new pairings), but trust us, coders and AI is a perfect combination. Because picking up new skills and leveraging them with your existing talents is worth its weight in gold. Especially if those skills will help you be more efficient and even better at what you do (or might do in the future). So what exactly can AI help a coder do today? Let us count the ways: 

1. It helps with code generation: 

In the realm of code generation, AI is transforming the way software is written. Leveraging natural language processing (NLP) models, AI can comprehend human-readable descriptions of tasks and convert them into actual code snippets. By analyzing vast code repositories and programming languages, AI-powered systems offer contextually relevant code blocks, significantly reducing the time and effort developers spend on writing repetitive code. Moreover, intelligent Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) equipped with AI capabilities provide real-time suggestions, code completion, and error anticipation, empowering developers to code more efficiently and creatively.

  • Frameworks and Libraries Made Easy: Various AI-powered development frameworks and libraries help developers build intelligent applications easily. These tools provide pre-built modules for tasks like natural language processing, computer vision, and speech recognition, enabling developers to incorporate advanced AI capabilities into their projects without starting from scratch. Examples include: TensorFlow, PyTorch, and Scikit-learn, which have become go-to choices for machine learning tasks.

2. It makes the process of debugging more efficient and precise: 

AI-driven debugging tools employ advanced techniques like symbolic execution, abstract interpretation, and data flow analysis to detect and locate bugs in the code. These tools automate error detection and offer intelligent insights to resolve issues swiftly. As AI algorithms learn from past debugging experiences, they provide relevant suggestions to fix bugs, ensuring developers can deliver more robust and stable software applications.

  • AI Automation Tools to Try: AI-driven automation transforms routine development tasks, reducing manual labor and freeing developers’ time for more complex challenges. AI-powered code generation tools, like Codex and Copilot, automate repetitive coding and improve code-writing efficiency. AI-powered testing frameworks automatically generate test cases, enhancing testing processes and coverage. In DevOps environments, AI facilitates smoother deployments, automates continuous integration and delivery, and enables predictive analysis to prevent potential issues.

3. It improves code efficiency and effectiveness: 

Automated test generation frameworks driven by AI can produce test cases, reducing manual effort and speeding up the testing process. AI helps optimize test suites by identifying redundant or ineffective test cases, leading to more efficient testing practices. AI-powered test execution tools can detect anomalies and unexpected behavior during testing, facilitating the early detection of defects. By harnessing AI’s capabilities, developers and engineers can achieve higher-quality software, shorter development cycles, and enhanced overall productivity.

  • AI-Powered Development Tools to Change the Game: OpenAI’s Codex and GitHub Copilot revolutionized code generation by providing context-aware code suggestions, saving developers time and effort. Tools like DeepCode and Code Review lead to more reliable software. Snyk’s AI-driven security testing prevents potential vulnerabilities, bolstering application security. These tools benefit individual developers and contribute to the overall business success by streamlining the development process and ensuring high-quality software products.

An AI-Fueled Future is Here: Ready to Decode it?

AI-driven tech is optimizing software engineering processes across all  industries. Need even more proof of the positive AI and software engineer connection? Just check out Netflix’s content recommendation enhancement, Salesforce’s Einstein AI generating insights for sales, and AI algorithms ensuring safety and efficiency in autonomous vehicles. These examples all underscore AI’s role in fostering innovation and delivering tangible benefits across diverse domains. 

Software engineers — current and future — have the opportunity to revolutionize the use of AI in coding. AI may be the future, but so are you — if you can embrace and keep up with the pace of change. Imagine the stories you’ll be able to tell future generations about what you worked on during the “fourth industrial revolution.” 

If you’re interested in joining the next generation of AI-empowered coders, check out our Software Engineering Bootcamp. Now with Generative AI Modules, to gain all the coding and AI skills you’ll need for the future of work. Because the future of work is today.

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