A man using holograms

Software Engineering in 2034: My Predictions

“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.” But here it goes.

On March 12th, 2024, Cognition Labs released Devin, “the first AI software engineer.” This announcement triggered an interesting conversation with a group of colleagues and ex-coworkers. The group was divided into despair and change.

Two opposing views

We all agreed that Devin, and AI in general, won’t take out jobs, at least not in the foreseeable future. But it will change the landscape for sure.

This is where the meme “AI needs well-written and unambiguous requirements, so we’re still safe” holds true.

Before the 2020 pandemic, we were living in a boom. We only needed “software engineer” as the title in our LinkedIn profiles to have dozens of recruiters offering “life-changing opportunities” every week.

That boom is over.

In 2023 and 2024, we experienced massive layoffs. We all knew someone in our inner circle who was laid off. It was a crazy time: one job listing, hundreds of applicants, and radio silence after sending a CV.

One part of the group believed that software engineering, at least the way we know it, would disappear in less than 10 years. They expected to see more layoffs and unemployment. They were planning escape routes away from this industry.

The other part of the group believed the world would still need software engineers, at least, to oversee what AI does. It brought up the subject of working conditions for future software engineers. Maybe they will come from underdeveloped countries with an extremely low wage and poor working conditions to fix the “oops” of AI software engineers.

My own predictions

In 2034, knowing programming and coding by itself won’t be enough. We will need to master a business domain or area of expertise and use programming in that context, mainly with AI.

Rather than being mundane code monkeys, our role will look like Product Managers. AI will automate the coding part of our job. We will work more as Requirement Writers and Prompt Engineers. Essentially, we all will be Engineering Managers overseeing a group of Devin’s.

We will see more Renaissance men and women, well-versed in different areas of knowledge, managing different AIs to achieve the goal of entire teams.

In the meantime, if somebody else writes requirements and we, software engineers, merely translate those requirements into code, we’ll be out of business.

Voilà! That’s how I envision Software Engineering in 2034: more human interaction and business understanding to identify requirements and prompts for AI Software Engineers. No more zero-value tasks like manual testing, code generation, and pointless meetings. AI will handle it all.

This is what Programming was like in 2020 and how I used AI to launch my courses in 2024.

“Open in 2034”