AI technology is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. One poll found that 35% of companies currently use AI and another 42% intend to use it in the future. As professional and personal life becomes increasingly more digital, employers everywhere are looking for capable programmers to develop new AI algorithms that will help improve efficiency and address some of our most pressing needs
Not only are AI software developer jobs ubiquitous, but they are also well paying. Programming salaries routinely rank among the top 10-15% in the United States. In this article, we take a look at what the AI software development landscape looks like in 2023. We also touch on what it takes to get a job in this exciting field.
The need for software developers is on pace to grow by 25% over the next decade. Why? Well, there are many reasons, but the biggest is that digital technology is growing in prominence every year. Advances in AI technology have played a huge role in this trend. In October, Gaurav Tewari of the Forbes Business Council reported that AI breakthroughs have had a monumental impact on modern business and consumer life. Tewari pointed out that “OpenAI’s GPT-3 or similar autoregressive language models that use deep learning to create human-like text.”
We have also recently seen the potential of AI art, as tools like NightCafe and StarryAI have started producing incredible new images. One poll found that 40% of AI art developers spent their time looking for utilitarian images. AI is also helping with a number of other fields as well. Professional tech stacks grow more intricate. Household technologies become more sophisticated. Take the Internet of Things as an example. IoT technology fuses physical items with Bluetooth and software to automate household functions.
These items are growing by the BILLIONS over the next several years. Many of them are affordable and accessible to the average middle-class household.
They also all correlate with software that needs programming. And that’s just one fast-growing technology. As the world becomes increasingly digital, the need for people who understand programming will only grow. They will also discover new ways to use AI to develop software.
Like any supply-demand situation, the great need for software developers has increased their professional value. Salaries are on the rise, and can easily approach $200 thousand for experienced developers.
Even entry-level positions hover around six figures. It’s lucrative and rewarding work for people who usually enter the field with a burning passion for all things programming.
A Remote Possibility
It’s also worth mentioning that software developer expectations have shifted in recent years. Where once you may have needed to go to work at a physical location, it is becoming increasingly common for software developers to work from home.
This owes largely to Covid-19, which saw many business owners learning the value of getting to reduce their overhead by getting out of all their expensive office leases.
It’s good for you as well. It means that you can find work anywhere. While once you might have needed to limit your search to places that were accessible by car (or wrestle with the idea of moving) you can now search for jobs all over the world. And as an added bonus, you get to avoid commuting, which can easily save you an hour or more each day.
All of that is nice, you think. For my brother Steve, who is more than happy to become another one of the 71% of software developers who are male. But what about me, Stephania?
We understand your pain, Stephania. It’s true. The tech industry has overwhelmingly favored men in the past. This is true even as AI software becomes more popular. There’s no stated rule keeping women out, but the numbers don’t lie. Females are the stark minority, and reports of toxic work environments suggest that there is a deep cultural issue contributing to the problem.
The numbers are improving. Female and minority entry into AI development and other tech-related fields is at the highest it has ever been. This is thanks largely to the proliferation of outreach and scholarship opportunities. However, it is fair to say that the industry has a long way to go.
Be the change you want to see in the world, Stepania. There are a great number of scholarships that can help you start your journey to becoming a software developer today.
A Disruptive Technology?
Last year, a competitor going by the name of “AlphaCode” made headlines after performing in several coding competitions. AlphaCode consistently finished in the middle of the pack, outperforming 50% of the other competitors both in terms of accuracy and speed.
Well, this AlphaCode sounds like something of an up and comer, sure, but why hand out headlines to a C student?
Its name — AlphaCode — probably gives the reveal away. But thanks for being a good sport. AlphaCode isn’t a person.
What? You can’t be serious!
It’s an AI program designed by a team at DeepMind. And it’s true that AlphaCode’s outcomes were a mixed bag. If a human competitor entered ten competitions and finished in the middle each time, you’d probably figure them to be of average ability. Not remarkable. Not terrible. Just efficient.
But even a “just efficient,” AI program that can write code, and learn to get better could be very disruptive. Will this technology disrupt all of those exciting career forecasts we discussed in the above headlines?
Not anytime soon. In fact, DeepMind never intended for their creation to put people out of work. They openly acknowledge that AlphaCode will most likely need human supervision for many years to come.
It’s anticipated to exist as a tool. Something that speeds up coding work, allowing software developers to focus on more big-picture, creative issues.
Of course, if wishes and buts were candy and nuts, then every day would be Christmas. It’s possible that improved automation may reduce the number of developer jobs that are needed going forward.
The good news — for you at least — is that this scenario isn’t likely to play out for some time. People reading this article contemporaneous to its publication are entering a receptive job market for AI developers full of opportunities and high salaries. Software developers can even create their own AI software development businesses.