Hard and soft skills for developers coding in the age of AI

As AI continues to shape the development landscape, developers are navigating a new frontier—not one that will make their careers obsolete, but one that will require their skills and instincts more than ever.

Sure, AI is revolutionizing software development, but that revolution ultimately starts and stops with developers. That’s because these tools need to have a pilot in control. While they can improve the time to code and ship, they can’t serve as a replacement for human oversight and coding abilities.

We recently conducted research into the evolving relationship between developers and AI tools and found that AI has the potential to alleviate the cognitive burden of complex tasks for developers. Instead of being used solely as a second pair of hands, AI tools can also be used more like a second brain, helping developers be more well-rounded and efficient.

In essence, AI can reduce mental strain so that developers can focus on anything from learning a new language to creating high-quality solutions for complex problems. So, if you’re sitting here wondering if you should learn how to code or how AI fits into your current coding career, we’re here to tell you what you need to know about your work in the age of AI.

A brief history of AI-powered techniques and tools

While the media buzz around generative AI is relatively new, AI coding tools have been around —in some form or another—much longer than you might expect. To get you up to speed, here’s a brief timeline of the AI-powered tools and techniques that have paved the way for the sophisticated coding tools we have today:

1950s: Autocoder was one of the earliest attempts at automatic coding. Developed in the 1950s by IBM, Autocoder translated symbolic language into machine code, streamlining programming tasks for early computers.

1958: LISP, one of the oldest high-level programming languages created by John McCarthy, introduced symbolic processing and recursive functions, laying the groundwork for AI programming. Its flexibility and expressive power made it a popular choice for AI research and development.