AI Tools Aren’t Replacing Junior Developers—They’re Empowering Them
If you’re worried about AI stealing your job, you’re not alone. Among software engineers, in particular, the fear is real—but is it credible?
Consider ChatGPT, which currently tops the AI chatbot market. A study led by Stanford and UC Berkeley revealed wild inconsistencies in the bot’s mathematical abilities, with accuracy plummeting from 98% to only 2% in a matter of months. Clearly, AI’s usefulness to language learning models still lacks significant refinement.
So, are you worried for no reason? Or are entry-level software developer jobs about to be filled by robots?
AI Can’t Take Your Job Unless You Let It
The odds that you’ll show up at work tomorrow to find a chatbot sitting at your desk are as strong as the odds of finding a zookeeper in your seat. However, if you don’t stay current with AI’s latest capabilities and learn to harness them to your advantage, someone else will—and, eventually, that “someone” may just take your job.
If you don’t stay current with AI’s latest capabilities and learn to harness them to your advantage, someone else will—and, eventually, they may just take your job.
The way to protect yourself from an AI takeover is to master AI tools like ChatGPT and GitHub Copilot. At Launch Academy, we encourage our software engineering students to wrangle AI for their own benefit, leveraging AI tools to make themselves more proficient coders.
Leverage AI for powerful problem-solving
Remember, software engineering isn't just about churning out lines of code; it's about problem-solving. Engineers are evaluated for not only their code but also their creativity, understanding of context, and communication skills. That's why our coding academy’s training emphasizes user needs and effective communication alongside the technical skills necessary for entry-level software developer jobs.
AI tools may simplify coding, but they're no substitute for a skilled software engineer's expertise. These tools can't yet deliver flawless code for complete beginners in the field. To effectively harness the power of AI, developers must understand how AI generates code in the first place.
Much like leveraging Google or Stack Overflow, engineers using AI need to know what prompts to use, which questions to ask, and how to discern and refine the results. Without a software engineer’s intelligent oversight, AI tools invariably take a literal approach that can only address problems superficially. And when real business needs and end-user experiences are at stake, the engineer's nuanced understanding is crucial.
3 AI Use Cases for Software Engineers
As you grow as a developer, you’ll discover how to manipulate the latest AI tools to glean valuable insights, refresh stale perspectives, and unblock cognitive impasses. Here are three use cases Launch Academy grads have learned to leverage in their current career paths.
As you grow as a developer, you’ll discover how to manipulate the latest AI tools to glean valuable insights, refresh stale perspectives, and unblock cognitive impasses.
1. Generating test cases
For us, the most impressive use of AI tools like ChatGPT and GitHub Copilot has been in generating test cases for code. We're advocates of test-driven development, and these AI platforms excel in crafting unit tests that challenge happy path conditions, boundary conditions, error conditions, and the performance of a block of code.
AI may not immediately generate syntactically complete (or even correct) examples, but it will establish a starting point, saving you time and possibly highlighting issues you haven't yet considered. As a virtual coding partner focused on test scenarios, AI is a game-changer.
2. Making architectural decisions
ChatGPT is also exceptional for evaluating architectural decisions. At Launch Academy, we champion having “a rubber duck on your desk”—an inanimate object that acts as a sounding board when you’re feeling stuck. AI is that rubber duck made animate: a conversational partner that provides insights, offers suggestions, and breaks cognitive roadblocks in real time.
Start by opening a dialog box and outlining the problem. The power is in the details: specify your role and what you'd like ChatGPT to accomplish, providing as much context as possible.
Finally, by narrowing the scope of the conversation and asking pointed questions like, "Suggest three alternative approaches" or "Identify five factors I might be overlooking," you transform ChatGPT into a virtual consultant that offers insights on par with a seasoned software engineer.
In essence, ChatGPT can be a dynamic extension of your own cognitive process.
3. Crafting clear communication
AI tools like ChatGPT have a unique knack for simplifying technical language, making them accessible for non-tech-savvy stakeholders. By enhancing communication, this offbeat but highly effective use of AI addresses a key challenge in the software industry.
AI tools like ChatGPT have a unique knack for simplifying technical language, making them accessible for non-tech-savvy stakeholders.
A developer can input technical terms or jargon into ChatGPT and obtain a more relatable explanation, often laced with useful metaphors. Tools that enable clarity align beautifully with our coding academy’s teaching approach, which aims to contextualize unfamiliar tech concepts with ideas the audience already understands.
Beyond translating tech-speak, ChatGPT can refine emails or other communications for clarity or emphasis. Given that effective communication is critical in our field, this capability has proven invaluable in Launch Academy’s consultancy work.
AI-Powered, Entry-Level Software Developer Jobs Start Here
AI platforms like ChatGPT and GitHub Copilot can make us not only more efficient coders but also more thoughtful problem-solvers.
Today’s software engineering students need a coding academy that’s facing the realities of AI head-on. Launch Academy educators will train you to tame the newest AI technologies, bettering yourself, your work, and the industry you hope to call home.