Software is a unique thing. It is not tangible, but it can often be worth billions. It can have a versatile range of uses depending on the development objective. In many cases, it can be accessed remotely. All of these features make it obvious why many businesses depend heavily on software for many key business processes.
Other businesses like Facebook are built on the strength of their proprietary software. In either case, modern software is not a fad. It is about as permanent as anything can get in our ever-changing lives. But it hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows.
The Rise of Software and Obsolescence
The 21st Century is a century defined by massive, transformational changes. It began with the internet’s arrival on the scene. Fast-forward to today, and internet speeds with Charter Spectrum deals are several times faster than the fastest speeds of 20 years ago. This is because technology grows in an exponential way, not linear. As technology evolves, it improves on itself and becomes more capable than it was before.
The same applies to software. If you’re old enough, you may remember the early digital spreadsheets on Macintosh computers. Compare that to the cloud-based spreadsheets you get on Google Docs today. The difference is almost incomprehensible.
And this is just one tiny aspect of software used in business. When you look at more macro functions like HR, Finance, or even Security, software solutions do more than just improve them.
They actually transform many aspects of the process for better efficiency and consistency. While this is great news for businesses, it also has a flipside. The complex and advanced software solutions available today accomplish their intended use. But they also make human resources doing that work obsolete. This is something you can see just as easily on an assembly line as in a financial institution.
Developers Need to Face an Uncomfortable Truth
Machines have been taking over human jobs since the start of the Industrial Revolution. But software kicks things into high gear. Advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence have accelerated this process. AI and ML allow systems to not just execute functions, but also learn from them.
The system keeps getting smarter as more and more information passes through it. From a tech-geek perspective, this is a groundbreaking discovery, promising even more transformation ahead. But what about the people who write the code that govern these systems?
Like workers everywhere, software developers may soon come face to face with an uncomfortable truth. That is; modern software may well make them obsolete too. The technology landscape is not static but constantly changing. New technologies such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence are powerful enough as it is. They are already triggering automation across industries.
Given a few more years of intense advancements, however, these systems may become advanced enough to start writing their own code. For developers, Frankenstein’s Monster isn’t just alive but may soon gain the capacity to start making monsters of its own.
The Outlook for Coders and Developers
The code determines how a specific software solution is designed and what it can accomplish. Traditionally, coders have held an integral position in creating software architecture. But this could soon change. The rapid evolution of cloud computing and automation offers a hint of what to expect in the coming decade.
The way developers approach software development is changing rapidly. In many aspects, parts of the code writing process have already been automated. Nothing is stopping this from going the distance to applications that can write code independent of a human coder.
However, that does not necessarily mean software developers will be out of work. It may just involve the reshuffling of a traditional development role. Instead of an architect, a software developer may take on a more macro role. This may involve specializing in ways to connect independent software systems together, even if they can write their own code.
Right now, the software developer role is involved in both the practice and process of development. But over the next decade, this will likely change. Developers will find themselves building custom solutions based on code already written by autonomous software.
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This simple analogy may be able to summarize the whole premise of this blog. Imagine a house being constructed. The way things are right now, developers are not just building the house (or software solution), but the components and materials used in the house as well such as bricks and mortar (or code).
But if things continue the way they are going, developers will no longer have to spend time on creating the material that holds the software together. Instead, they will progress directly to building the home from pre-designed material (i.e machine-generated code).