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We are witnessing a generational shift in technology and the job market with AI. Until recently, coders were using low-code/no-code tools like Codex, Github Copilot, or Replit to write better code. Now, even ChatGPT or Bard can generate code ready for deployment just by inputting simple prompts in natural language.
Nick Bostrom, in his TED Talk in 2015, said, “Machine intelligence is the last invention that humanity will ever need to make. Machines will then be better at inventing than we are.”
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This explains a lot of what is happening now. No one needs to count themselves out of this AI phenomenon anymore. Even if you haven’t ever written even a single line of code, now machines will do that for you. All you need to do is tell the no-code platform what you want specifically in whatever you are trying to build, the AI will generate the code. All you need to do is just deploy it.
“I believe everyone is a developer now,” was mentioned multiple times at the Microsoft Build 2023 conference. Now everyone would be able to code and land a job in AI, even if they haven’t learned how to code. “There are several opportunities for people who might not consider themselves traditional developers”, Microsoft is introducing more things to make this true.
At Microsoft Build 2023, it was clear that the company wants everything to be integrated with AI by introducing a Copilot in almost every single offering.
Is it that easy?
Andrej Karpathy posted in January, “The hottest new programming language is English.” Some still argue that there is a need for programmers, but these new softwares are making the job look obsolete. Soon, instead of an eligibility requirement, the job listings for developers will say “knowledge of Python or C++ is an additional advantage, but not a requirement“.
It is increasingly becoming true with prompt engineering. Moreover, this hot new job in the market is getting paid more than Python developers. In certain cases, the salaries are upwards of $335,000, which is higher than a majority of full stack developer roles.
There has always been a disparity between salaries of programmers, coders, or developers versus other jobs that do not require the knowledge of programming. Software engineers have been the highest paying job for a long time now. But people who spend years and thousands of dollars to learn programming also expect higher salaries for their skills. But this is mostly not required anymore.
We have all heard of “upskilling”, now it’s time for “downskilling”. The developers with expertise in C++ or Python should start removing it from their resumes to get jobs quicker. However, if you are building an auto-coding platform similar to ChatGPT and CodeX, then you have no other choice, but to upskill. If not, you are by default a ‘prompt engineer’ – as resonated at Microsoft Build.
This is exactly what even Mark Cuban said a few years ago: “Twenty years from now, if you are a coder, you might be out of job.” It seems true now that AI is coming for the job of developers. This does not mean there is no need for them, but that a lot of the ones without too much experience in coding and in-depth working of AI systems, can now be replaced by anyone who can prompt AI the best to perform simple tasks.
So developers have two choices — either “upskill” yourself to build something to compete with Microsoft, OpenAI, and Google, or “downskill” yourself to get a job quicker.
‘Overskilled’ for a job
Microsoft, Google, and OpenAI, have brought in a massive change, not just in theirs, but every company. Watching the capabilities of these AI models, everyone was scared of losing their job, as companies put a freeze on hiring and laid off people whose jobs could be done by AI. Now, it seems like not being skilled with programming languages is going to help people land a developer job even better!
Companies would not want to hire a person who requires a higher salary just because they paid a higher tuition fee to learn computer science, and coding nuances. If they can reap the same benefits, with someone who can just prompt AI to generate the same results, in certain cases, even quicker, what’s the use?
Though prompt engineer salaries are not going to stay on top. They will drop significantly once everyone starts to adopt the technology. Rob Lennon, a prompt engineering tutor said, “In six months, 50,000 people will be able to do this job. The value of this knowledge is greater today than it will be tomorrow.”
People have already been using ChatGPT to get multiple jobs. Some have even started business with it, some have developed their own apps. In certain cases, prompt engineering and ChatGPT has become an important skill to bag a job.
Moreover, people who do not want to get into AI, can adopt the technology to become better at their job. For example, a writer can use ChatGPT to write quicker, and even better with certain prompts. Good news for the writers protesting against Hollywood. They can prompt AI to write much better, which is trained on their own content!
On the other hand, this might also make people lose artistic jobs. For example, a person who has never written a poem in his life, can now prompt ChatGPT to write a beautiful one with the right prompts. While the poet who did not learn will keep struggling with ideas.
Now everyone can become a coder, developer, or programmer, without ever having deployed a single code in their lives. Good luck developers, stay strong. Meanwhile, a person who knows English will generate code to replace you.