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  • Lokajit Tikayatray

Are You Ready to Lose to AI as a Programmer (If not, you must read this)

In one of my recent mentoring sessions, one of the participants asked the following questions.

Do you think programmers can survive in the coming days with all these AI developments? What would be the differentiator? How can I ensure continuous growth throughout my career as a programmer?

Those are excellent questions. I liked the fact that the participant was not complaining about technological advancement. Instead, they are looking for ways to remain competitive and have sustainable growth.

I always believe that being an exceptional coder is an advantage. But what beats that is being an excellent software engineer.

With AI-driven copilots, almost everyone can code efficient, quality code. Sure, there is a lot more required for these copilots to become intelligent. But, they will eventually reach there.

What will be the differentiator between you and another programmer who can use copilots efficiently at that point? What would make you stand out in an era of AI-assisted software development?

Have you ever thought about that? If not… start thinking.

If you have, then Read On.

Here is what will continue to make you stand out from the crowd. No matter how advanced these AI tools become, they cannot replace these traits. Work on them now to ensure you remain at the top of your career growth for a long time.

Emotional Intelligence

As AI-assisted development takes over more technical tasks, developing emotional intelligence becomes increasingly crucial to unlocking your full potential. This includes understanding your own emotions, managing them effectively, and recognizing and influencing the emotions of others.

In the era of AI, where logical and technical tasks are getting automated, the human touch makes a big difference.

Being able to navigate complex interpersonal dynamics, empathize with team members, and maintain positive relationships is key. This is something AI cannot replicate, and mastering it can set you apart from the crowd.

Your Personal Brand

Think of your personal brand as your professional reputation. It’s how others perceive your skills, values, and contributions. In an AI-driven world, having a strong personal brand can make you more visible and sought after.

It’s not just about how good you are at your job but how you present yourself, your work ethic, and your contributions to the broader community. Building a personal brand involves networking, sharing knowledge, and being consistent in your professional endeavors.

Building a Team & Community

Coding isn’t about sitting alone with your computer. Your ability to collaborate, build teams, and foster community will be crucial in the future. Participating in events, supporting CSR initiatives, and engaging with professional communities can enhance your reputation.

These activities show that you are more than just a coder. You are also a team player and a community builder. These traits are vital in an industry that works together and is connected.

Leadership Skills

Leadership isn’t reserved for managers. As an individual contributor, you, too, have opportunities to demonstrate leadership. This could mean taking the initiative on projects, mentoring junior team members, or leading by example.

In the era of AI assistance, leaders will guide their teams to use technology well, encourage innovation, and handle change. Developing these skills can ensure you remain invaluable, regardless of how advanced AI-assisted coding becomes.

Learn to Use AI

AI will not replace you. But if you don’t learn to use AI, you can certainly get replaced by a developer who knows how to use it.

Finally, understanding and utilizing AI is no longer optional. Instead of seeing AI as a threat, embrace it; those who don’t adapt risk being outpaced by AI-savvy developers.

You risk being obsolete if you’re not up-to-date with AI advancements and how they can be applied in your field. Embrace AI tools, know what they can and can’t do, and learn to use them in your work. This doesn’t mean you need to become an AI expert.

However, having a working knowledge of AI will be a critical skill for any developer looking to stay relevant.

Take Away

Circling back to the insightful questions posed by my mentee at the beginning — “Can programmers survive in the coming days with all these AI developments? What will be the differentiator? How can I ensure continuous growth in my career as a programmer?” The answer lies in the very essence of this discussion.

Yes, you can survive and thrive in AI’s era by focusing on the key traits we’ve discussed, i.e., emotional intelligence, personal branding, building teams and communities, leadership skills, and learning to use AI effectively.

The goal is not to compete against AI but to complement it with your unique human abilities. Focusing on these qualities can make you an invaluable asset for your organization. Which in turn can help you thrive in your career.

So, embrace the change, see AI as an ally, and invest time developing these skills. The future is bright for those who are prepared to adapt and grow. Keep pushing your boundaries, learning, and, most importantly, believing in your ability to succeed in a world where AI is your partner, not your competitor.

Your journey as a programmer is about to get even more exciting. Are you ready to rise to the challenge?


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