The power of lifelong learning: A look at AI for software development

At a recent Lightcast Connect conference, education expert and author Michelle Weise spoke about artificial intelligence in a keynote address titled Are We AI-Ready? During, she said, “…we can’t keep separating the future of education from the future of work. They are really one and the same, because ongoing skill development is going to become a way of life.”

We couldn’t agree more. And in fact, ongoing skill development has been embedded in software engineering training and education for decades. Continuous, or lifelong, learning is at the core of this profession because it’s always evolving and at the forefront of technological change – long before AI.

Now, with the rapid development of AI capabilities – and the understanding that AI tools can help developer productivity – it’s a good time to think about cultivating a lifelong learning mindset for software engineers who want fulfilling, exciting careers in tech that evolve and present new opportunities along the way.

The connection between lifelong learning and AI

For both aspiring and professional software engineers, embracing AI is increasingly crucial to staying competitive and relevant. But the competitive edge isn’t only about the hard skills you’ll gain – it’s also about using AI to develop an expansive way of thinking.

Hired recently released a report about the impact AI will have on the future of software engineering. In it, Hired CEO Dave Walters wrote, “If we as software engineers embrace change, adapt, and learn, we’ll continue to be successful members of our community…they’ll need to embrace continuous learning and development, much like AI itself.”

As it’s designed to do, AI is always evolving, opening up new routes to explore and new ways to innovate for those who use it. It evolves and invites users to evolve with it. In this way, AI embodies the spirit of being open to new information, change, and ways of doing things. Learning to use AI for software development will give you the skills you need, while also helping you cultivate the type of open mindset needed for a long-lasting career.

The promising power of using AI for software development

As Hired CEO Dave Walters sees it, “AI is the next big disruptor of software engineering.”

Crucially, we also agree with what he said next:

“[AI] will empower engineers to focus more on innovation and move at a faster pace while AI handles routine tasks, accelerating development.”

We can already see this happening. We recently wrote about AI tools being used on the job, including the most popular tool, GitHub Copilot. We dug into the 2023 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, which found that professional developers consider increased productivity (37.4%) as the biggest benefit of working with AI tools. They also noted greater efficiency (27.9%) and speeding up learning (27.4%).

For developers currently learning to code, the biggest benefits are speeding up learning (42.4%) and increasing productivity (41.5%). AI tools are already helping people learn to code faster, which puts them in a good position to begin their careers with proficiency in both coding and AI tools that could set them apart from others vying for similar jobs.

But importantly, getting and sustaining a career in software development also requires a human touch. AI falls short on things like creativity, original thinking, collaboration, communication, and other soft skills that make individuals and teams thrive and create meaningful, useful software. In order for AI tools to be truly useful in software development, a human being who knows how to use them (and who understands development fundamentals) needs to be on the other side.

At the same Lightcast Connect conference mentioned earlier, Ashwin Acharya, Managing Director for Data & AI at Accenture, also presented. During his talk, he said something really important in response to the question of AI replacing software engineers:

“It’s not that work is going away. The more mundane tasks will be automated, but you will still be required to use human judgment and make decisions…this is not one of those cases where your job is going to be replaced by automation. What is more likely is you are going to be replaced by somebody who understands the technology better than you do.”

Software development jobs are here to stay – now and moving forward. But in order to compete and succeed in this evolving field, developers need to cultivate a healthy lifelong learning mindset alongside learning how to use AI tools for enhanced productivity.

Learn AI for software development in a coding bootcamp

During our coding bootcamps, you’ll gain the type of deep understanding of coding and software engineering that you’ll need for long-term career success, as well as a foundational understanding of how to use AI tools responsibly and ethically.

We teach students how to integrate GitHub Copilot into their workflow and guide them on how to use AI to build a portfolio project to demonstrate their ability to evaluate and blend AI-generated code with their own.

If you’re ready to start learning, attend an upcoming Info Session or get your admissions process started today!

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