BlogWill Software Developers be Needed in the Future?
The fast-changing world of technology

The world of technology is changing, and it is changing fast. If you are a software developer, doomsday scrolling will send chills running down your spine and set in the dread before the spooky season of Halloween. Why? Because it will have you question your existence as a developer. Are your skills going to be obsolete? Will software developers be needed in the future?

Will software developers be obsolete?

Many have said that software developers will be obsolete by 2030

Mind you, similar predictions were made in the past as well. Programming was said to have become obsolete in 1960 with the introduction of IBM’s new language. 

And yet, we still have legacy systems that have continued to stand the test of time. Perhaps, that’s what will happen with software developers. Perhaps not?

The reasons

In this post, the discussion centers around the three reasons that make people wonder if software developers would even be needed in the future. 

Low Code/ No Code Development
1. Low Code/ No Code Development

For a long time, application development took two routes:

  • Buy ready-made apps from an external vendor; or
  • Customize an app using developers and coders

For each of those, a developer would describe a high-level intent into machine agnostic language, and have the code compiler generate machine-specific code underneath. 

That landscape, however, is changing with the rise of Low Code/No Code (LCNC) development.

LCNC development platforms are visual software development environments that allow developers to drag and drop application components, connect them, and create mobile/web applications. 

This means there is no need to write each line of the code from scratch. In fact, you don’t even have to be a software developer to build and test applications. With LCNC platforms, you can build apps with little to no knowledge of programming languages and machine code.

Such platforms can take high-level directions, identify the right reusable blocks of code, and assemble the needed ones. 

Having said all this, developers will still be needed to make numerous decisions about what needs to be built and how the software should ideally behave. 

If you are a business owner, a lot out there will have you believe that you can code and build your software. With LCNC development platforms, that seems possible.

However, LCNC platforms typically suit simple solutions such as CRM, booking platforms, or eCommerce.

Beware that these types of platforms can also be quite generic and templated. And these do not allow for much in terms of UI customization.

Additionally, LCNC may not meet all your needs. For example, if you have a specific niche, specialization, or integration with other systems such as CRMs or Payment Gateways, this might not be enough. And not to forget, scaling can become challenging when using no-code tools.

This is when a developer with specific skills would be needed to help with those problems.  

Dominance of AI
2. Dominance of AI

This could be a movie. And we could all be living in a Matrix

For low-code, developers assemble an automation logic that is triggered to generate code when the user provides high-level directions. 

When it comes to AI, what it does is it studies a massive corpus of existing code and determines assembly rules for itself. 

What this means is that AI can:

  • Write code – Based on rules
  • Compile code – Bring together code to form something that functions
  • Debug code – Find and resolve problems

There are obvious implications. Many developers believe they’ll be put out of their jobs because of AI

The answer to that isn’t straightforward as come-AI-go-developers. As a software developer, you’d know that developing something requires you to understand the needs of the users, know the specific circumstances that the solution needs to operate, and many other such factors that are unique to the software being built.

AI systems don’t solve problems the way humans do. AIs generating code is complementary to most of these functions that developers perform and not necessarily a replacement. It will, however, fundamentally change what it means to code. 

Software Developers to Designers
3. Developers to Designers

As a software developer, you know who you are. You are someone who can identify requirements, design, modify context for AI to understand, and test software. 

Who then is a software designer and what relevance does a designer have when it comes to talking about the future of developers?

A software designer is responsible for identifying a design problem and preparing a plan for the development of an application that is capable of meeting the problem’s functional requirements.

The changing trends will put people in the roles of software designers (designers) rather than software developers (implementors).

While AI handles low-level implementation, people, as designers, will be focused on functionality, design, and ethics.  

What does it mean moving forward?

Being in the industry means that there is a need to understand and leverage these developments. 

Low-code platforms are already making it easy for developers to code and increasing productivity. The use of AI also means lowered costs. And software designers, with repetitive tasks taken off their hands, can design and deliver better products. 

As someone who owns a software company, I believe that even skilled developers can benefit from ongoing education and training regarding the latest technological changes. 

To conclude 

The speed of change in the technological industry is pretty quick. So, even though the following reasons make us feel like the software developers are soon becoming obsolete, to say that the developers will not be needed by the end of a decade is rather far-fetched:

  1. Low-code/No-code (LCNC) Development
  2. Dominance of AI
  3. Developers to Designers 

There will always be a need for bespoke processes. And there is irreplaceable value in human’s ability to navigate processes. 

So, the answer to ‘will software developers be needed in the future?’ is a definite YES from me.
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