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Is AI a threat to Web Developers?

High-Angle Photo of Robot, Artificial Intelligence

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been changing the landscape of almost every single industry, and web design and development is no exception.

Even this highly technical field of work is being affected by the emergence of innovative AI tools.

AI has the potential to, dare we say, revolutionise, the way in which tasks are completed. It’s unsurprising why many developers are concerned because AI tools are able to generate boilerplate code or snippets in a variety of coding languages like JavaScript, C#, Python, PHP and others, at rapid speed.

Dakota Murphey is a freelance writer who specialises in Digital Trends in Business, Marketing, PR, Branding, Cybersecurity, Entrepreneurial Skills and Business Growth.

Therefore, some experts are arguing whether AI could pose an imminent threat to standard web development, but in this short guide, Dakota Murphey explores whether those fears are well-justified.

Dakota is a freelance writer who specialises in Digital Trends in Business, Marketing, PR, Branding, Cybersecurity, Entrepreneurial Skills and Business Growth.  You can find her on Twitter: @Dakota_Murphey

HOW IS AI USED IN DEVELOPMENT?

  1. Automate repetitive tasks – AI is used to repeat monotonous or arduous tasks within web development, which is the idea behind business automation.
  2. Generating text – AI-generated content is nothing new, using natural language generation to come up with text based on a command, which includes code.
  3. Customer analysis – Companies often use AI systems to process and analyse large quantities of data pertaining to customers or prospects.

AI is an emerging field of technology that utilises complex computer algorithms and data analysis to enable machines to perform tasks that would otherwise be performed by humans. Growing numbers of businesses are implementing AI into their business models to save costs, increase profitability and automate aspects of their companies. 

Therefore, it’s only natural to wonder about the potential implications of AI on businesses that employ skilled human workers. Many companies demand many competencies, skills and abilities of their workers, and yet recent trends suggest that significant costs can be saved by utilising AI. 

SHOULD WEB DEVELOPERS BE CONCERNED ABOUT AI?

With AI able to automate many web development tasks, does that mean that human web developers are increasingly at risk of being made redundant? 

Not entirely.

Web developers should not get caught up in the hysteria surrounding AI too much; it is not an imminent risk of being a replacement, but rather, an aid. 

While AI can automate several tasks, it cannot replace the creativity, thought processes and problem-solving skills of human web developers. While you may be able to tell an AI machine to generate code for a website, the output will still need a skilled, creative, and competent human web developer to craft a design that appeals to a business’s target consumer.

In the same way that you can programme a machine to repeat a series of commands through an algorithm, you cannot expect it to react strategically to an emergency. For example, in the event of a cyber attack test, relying on AI to simulate a threat actor in a system would be unrealistic, compared to, say, an experienced and hyper-vigilant team of human penetration testers that can mirror a real-world hack.

HOW WEB DEVELOPERS CAN USE AI TO THEIR ADVANTAGE?

Improving code reliability:

AI website code on its own may fall short of industry standards or customer expectations. Therefore, a web developer will need to add crucial input to refine and optimise the code.

You cannot expect AI to automatically add responsive, bespoke design features, nor can you expect it to be optimised for search engine visibility and user experience. Human web developers can address these issues by manually checking and enhancing the code to make it more reliable and acceptable for a site.

Meeting faster deadlines for development:

AI can make life easier for web developers to free up their time more strategically. AI can automate tasks like debugging, testing, and analysing data. 

Developers can spend more time creating personalised user experiences on mobile devices and desktops, or ensuring the code matches design concepts or wireframes.

Improving accessibility:

AI can help web agencies create websites that are more inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities. AI can generate important image alt text and captions to help visually-impaired users understand the context and content of a page. 

Developers can save time by entrusting an AI machine to perform this task, but also ensure that it is optimised for a client’s target audience.

Closing the skills gap:

Developers that can demonstrate familiarity and real-world experience in using AI will likely stand out from the highly-competitive field of development. Vacancies in coding and development are increasingly hard to fill, particularly when you consider the outdated and archaic view of women in the industry. 

However, by experimenting with AI and finding ways it can help you complete your projects, it might prove to prospective employers that you are a cut above the rest. As said above, businesses are constantly looking at ways in which AI can be utilised effectively, so it makes sense to start using it as a tool.

In conclusion, AI is not an imminent threat to anybody pursuing web development, or those that have already built a career in this field. Expecting an AI chatbot or machine to mirror a skilled human web developer’s creativity and problem-solving ability is unrealistic. AI can make web development more effective through task automation, data analysis, and prompted text or code generation. 

AI’s potential cannot be underestimated, but the real tangible skills still lie with ‌web developers of today. Web developers who embrace AI can stay ahead of the game and provide better services to their clients, and potentially land great jobs in the future.

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