Being a software developer isn’t easy. Although developers are – rightly – increasingly seen as innovators, their new-found status comes with a new set of challenges.
Not only are developers expected to keep up with technologies that evolve at a rapid pace, but they are also dealing with ever-growing demands from businesses for their services as they become the foundation of enterprise innovation. Add to this the skyrocketing expectations from consumers for seamless digital experiences at every turn, and developers are facing a perfect storm of pressures.
At the core of the challenge is the fact that many day-to-day development tasks are also becoming increasingly complex and difficult to perform. Gone are the days of writing in one programming language and shipping physical products to a pre-agreed deadline. Modern developers are now commonly required to build microservices in a range of different languages simultaneously, shipping 24×7 services that are expected to be secure, resilient, reliable, scalable right off the bat, and suffer zero downtime to boot.
This is compounded by the well-documented and global shortage of developers, which has no clear end in sight. In the UK alone, recent research indicates that almost 70% of digital business leaders now feel they are being held back by the ongoing talent shortage.
The status quo needs to be broken. Businesses can’t keep bootstrapping their existing developers and expect them to work faster and harder. Doing so simply encourages a race to the bottom, which helps nobody.
Instead, it’s vital that they prioritize the developer experience, giving them the best possible conditions in which to operate effectively.
Senior Manager for Developer Advocacy at GitHub.
Setting developers up for success
Empowering developers to do their best work means providing them with the organizational support – and technology – they need to balance workloads and focus efforts on the areas where they’re most needed.
AI can bring that balance back, while also giving businesses an innovation advantage. The democratization of generative AI signals a sea change in software development that dramatically improves developers’ working conditions – and wellbeing – by accelerating developer productivity.
The advent of AI-powered software development is empowering developers to focus less on the ‘boring’ repetitive parts of development. Research shows that AI pair programming tools, which suggest code and entire functions in real-time, can help developers code up to 55% faster, meaning they can spend more of their time on bigger, more challenging business issues.
The same research found that most developers reported feeling more fulfilled with their job and less frustrated when using AI-powered tools to help them. At the end of the day, software engineers don’t choose development so they can write endless lines of code. They choose it so they can help solve real world problems and make a real impact on those around them. AI helps them do more of that by giving them the time and space they need to be effective and to focus on their passions. Businesses will only benefit.
AI-powered software development can also help developers stay in the flow state when solving problems, rather than constantly having to dip in and out to research specific issues and how to solve them. Because AI can act as a personal assistant for the specific task at hand, it can guide the developer in the right direction without taking them out of the flow and blocking productivity.
Finally, AI can be used to help developers gain a better understanding of clients’ requirements by explaining the context of their requests and why it might be important from a software design perspective. Doing so aids communication and helps both parties find suitable solutions faster.
The impact of AI on the development process will be nothing short of transformational. Not only can developers focus on more rewarding work rather than constantly spending time researching and finding details on how to write the code, but their job satisfaction increases and the work they do will significantly accelerate time to value as well. The pace of innovation inevitably quickens and businesses can move away from a situation where nobody wins to one where everyone wins. Who wouldn’t want that?