Tuesday, October 3, 2023

How to be a developer in the AI era

Contrary to predictions, most developers won't lose their jobs to ChatGPT. Here is why

Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash

The beginning of 2023 brought us a big buzz with the release of ChatGPT. Impressed with its capacity and that of LLM-based solutions (like Bard, GitHub Copilot and Google Duet AI), the community started questioning the role of developers, and if they'd soon be replaced by a coder robot.

On this post let's understand why that's not happening anytime soon, and what you need to do to survive the genai era.

Essential skills for any developer

To be a developer in the AI era, first and foremost you need strong CS skills. That means strong foundation in computer science fundamentals, systems design, databases, web applications, design patterns, and more.

With that in mind, here are essential skills you should work on to remain valuable in the marketplace.

Programming languages

Developers need to be able to write code in at least one programming language. Popular programming languages include Python, Java, JavaScript, Go, Rust or C#.

Technical Skills

For technical skills, include everything you need to do your work well. On this list you should include automation, frameworks, cloud, containerization, databases, infrastructure, security, storage, and more.

Data structures and algorithms

Developers need to have a good understanding of data structures and algorithms in order to write efficient and effective code. Make sure you understand well data structures and algorithms to build efficient solutions, compare the performance of different solutions, and more.

Problem-solving skills

Developers need to be able to identify and solve problems. This includes being able to break down complex problems into smaller, more manageable problems.

Critical thinking skills

Developers need to be able to think critically about their code and the problems they are trying to solve. This includes being able to identify and correct errors in their code.

Communication skills

Developers need to be able to communicate effectively with both technical and non-technical audiences. This includes being able to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise way.

Teamwork skills

Developers often work on teams to develop and maintain software. This means that they need to be able to work effectively with others, share ideas, and collaborate on projects.

Keep learning

On top of it all, make sure you understand the latest trends in your particular field (ex. web, mobile, cloud, etc).

Becoming a successful developer in the AI era

As you build the skills above, a parallel goal for you would be developing a good understanding of AI concepts and technologies. 

Here are some specific tips on how to become a successful developer in the AI era:

Learn about AI concepts and technologies

Make sure you understand fundamental AI concepts and technologies, including topics such as machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing.

Start using AI tools

Use AI tools! That includes testing GitHub Copilot or other tools that optimize the way you work. There are so many of them, and the ecosystem is changing so rapidly that I recommend you exploring on your own.

Learn a programming language for AI development

Popular languages for AI development include Python, R, and Julia.

Build AI projects

The best way to learn AI is by doing. Try building your own AI projects, such as a chatbot, image classifier, or recommendation system. Make sure you understand them. How could they be used in your project?

Contribute to open source AI projects

Learn from other developers and gain experience working on real-world AI projects.

Stay up-to-date on the latest AI trends and developments

The field of AI is constantly evolving, so it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments.

Growing your skills to the next level

Finally, you should never stop learning or growing your skills. With that in mind, here are some additional tips that may be helpful.

Become an expert in your chosen field

This will make you more competitive in the job market and make it easier to find high-paying jobs.

Develop your soft skills

Soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving, are essential for success in any field, but they are especially important in the AI era.

Network with other AI developers

This is a great way to learn new things, find job opportunities, and collaborate on projects.


The AI era is an exciting time to be a developer. There are many new opportunities for developers who have the skills and knowledge to build AI applications. By following the tips above, you can prepare yourself for a successful career as an AI developer.

About the Author

Bruno Hildenbrand