November 29, 2023
min read

Will AI replace Software Engineers?

Krissy Davis

There’s growing concern among developers about the potential impact of AI on job security. Everywhere I turn, people are asking, “Will AI replace programmers?” While it's natural to worry about AI's effect on various industries, including software engineering, it's important to note that AI’s primary goal is to enhance human skills and improve productivity.

In this article, we discuss AI’s role in software engineering, how it affects developers, tips for adapting to this changing world, and the concerns surrounding AI's potential to replace human developers.

AI's role in software engineering

AI is rapidly transforming this field by automating tasks such as testing and debugging and improving efficiency by analysing code for vulnerabilities and suggesting improvements. It also has the potential to develop more intelligent and sophisticated software. 

Here are some of the key areas where AI is having an impact on software engineering:

  • Code generation and completion
  • Code review and testing
  • Debugging and problem-solving
  • DevOps and automation - Provisioning infrastructure, deploying code, and monitoring the performance of apps. 
  • Create intuitive user interfaces
  • Software maintenance 

As you can see, It’s evident that AI's usage in software engineering is still in its nascent stage and is mainly beneficial for basic and repetitive tasks. So, it's unlikely that AI will replace high-value software engineers skilled in building complex and innovative software anytime soon.

How is AI beneficial for software engineering?

AI should be looked at as a positive rather than a negative. Its ability to automate repetitive tasks, improve code quality, enable new software development methodologies, and personalise the software development experience means human developers have time to focus on more complex tasks that AI just isn’t capable of. 

Look at AI as a tool. Something that can complement your skills and enhance your productivity. However, as AI evolves, we will definitely see more transformative applications. So it’s best not to get too comfortable in your current role (more on that further down). 

AI's overall impact on software engineers

Although AI is having a positive impact, it’s also important to note the not-so-good things. Understanding this is key to grasping the full picture of what's happening in the field right now.

Negative Impacts:

  • Skill obsolescence: As AI automates more tasks, some of the skills that software engineers currently use may become obsolete.
  • Job displacement: While AI creates new opportunities, it may also lead to job displacement for some software engineers, particularly those lacking the skills to work with AI technologies. According to a report, AI could potentially displace 7.5 million low-level dev jobs across the globe.
  • Loss of creativity: Some developers are concerned that AI will make their work less creative and rewarding.  

Other positive Impacts:

  • New Opportunities: AI creates new opportunities for software engineers in machine learning, data science, and cybersecurity.

Will AI replace software engineers?

While AI is automating some tasks previously done by devs, it’s not likely to lead to widespread job losses. In fact, AI is creating new job opportunities for software engineers with the skills and expertise to work with AI.

According to a 2022 report by the McKinsey Global Institute, AI is expected to create 9 million new jobs in the United States by 2030. 

The jobs that are most likely to be lost to AI are those that are routine and repetitive, such as data entry and coding. However, software engineers with the skills to work with AI will be in high demand. These skills include:

  • Machine learning: Enables computers to learn from data without requiring specific instructions. Software engineers who can develop and implement machine learning algorithms will be in high demand.

  • Data science: Data science is the process of collecting, analysing, and interpreting data. Software engineers who can use data science techniques to extract insights from data will have job security.

  • Cybersecurity: Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting computer systems and networks from unauthorised access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction. 

What do developers think?

The potential for AI to replace all software developers is a topic of much debate among devs. Some developers believe that AI will eventually automate all the tasks they currently perform, leading to job losses. Others believe that AI will simply augment the work of software engineers, making them more productive and efficient.

There is no easy answer to this question, as the impact of AI on development in its entirety is still uncertain. However, several factors influence the extent to which AI replaces software developers, including:

The pace of AI development
The faster that AI technology develops, the faster and more likely it is that it will replace more dev tasks. 

The cost of AI
If the cost of AI continues to decline, it will become more affordable for businesses to use AI to automate tasks, which could lead to job losses for entry-level software engineers.

The skills of software engineers
Software engineers with the skills to work with AI technologies will be in high demand, while those who do not may face challenges in the future.

It’s important to note that AI is not a monolithic technology, and there are many different types of AI that can be used for different purposes. Ultimately, the impact of AI on this industry will depend on how AI is used and how software engineers adapt to this changing field. Developers who are open to expanding their skills and adapting to new technologies will have a competitive advantage in the industry. 

Recommendations for Software Engineers

Embrace AI as a tool to enhance your skills and productivity as a software engineer. While there's concern about AI replacing software engineers, it's unlikely to replace high-value developers who work on complex and innovative software.

To avoid being replaced by AI, focus on building sophisticated and creative solutions. Stay up-to-date with the latest AI and software engineering developments, as this field is constantly evolving. Adapt to the changing landscape by acquiring new skills and techniques.

Remember that AI and software engineering can collaborate effectively, as AI complements human skills. By embracing AI as a tool, you can thrive and leverage its capabilities to deliver high-quality software solutions.

Here are some tips for preparing for an AI future (cause, let’s be honest, it’s here to stay):

  1. Learn about AI: Take courses, read books, and attend conferences. 
  1. Develop AI skills: Develop machine learning, data science, and cybersecurity skills.
  1. Stay up-to-date: Read industry publications on the latest AI technologies and trends.
  1. Embrace change: Be willing to embrace change and adapt to the new skills and technologies required in this new AI-driven industry.

Remember, you can effectively collaborate with AI to enhance productivity and deliver high-quality software solutions. AI should be considered not a replacement, but rather a powerful tool that can augment your skills and capabilities as long as they continue to adapt and build your craft.


You’d be silly to think AI won’t replace certain dev jobs. Unfortunately, these intelligent machines will likely replace low-level or entry-level developers who aren’t yet skilled in more complicated tasks. It’s also safe to say that with the rapid advancement of AI, there’s potential for other more complex roles to succumb to the pressures of artificial intelligence. 

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. By embracing AI, staying informed about its latest developments and learning about this exciting technology, software engineers can adapt and continue to contribute their unique human creativity and expertise to the field.

Will AI replace Software Engineers?

November 29, 2023
min read

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