The AI Induced Skill Gap

I don’t think AI will cost you your job. I do think it has already shifted the job market.

The AI Induced Skill Gap

At this point I believe it’s a fairly mainstream opinion (or at least not considered a hot take) that junior developers should avoid using AI coding assistants such as GitHub Copilot. The premise being (amongst other things) that, by avoiding the pain of having to look up the syntax, or the name of the function, or its parameter list you also avoid the required learning process. The AI shortcut handicaps longer term growth.

You may also lack the knowledge or skill required to understand the implication of the AI generated code. Remember, reading someone else’s code is harder than writing your own.

I think it’s also fairly well memed, if not reality, that entry level jobs don’t exist. People expect graduates to have 3 years of industry experience.

So, what are we saying here? That senior developers should use AI assistants which increase their productivity. Which increase the gap between them and their junior counterparts. And that no one wanted to hire junior developers already as it was.

Tell me then, who exactly is going to want to hire a junior developer anymore?

And if no one hires any junior developers, how are we going to get new senior developers? AI certainly won’t teach them.

Do you want your senior developers using an AI tool and knocking out code at a rate of knots. Or mentoring your juniors and “delivering” less? 

If you do hire a junior developer and spend the time, effort and money to train her to a senior level, you better have really good staff retention too as the cost of doing that looks like it’s about to go up. 

I don’t believe AI will cause many developers to lose their jobs (not today anyway). I do believe it is already having a profound and more complex effect on the job market.

Unless you work in banking or a variety of other “enterprises” in which case you’re probably not allowed to use such tools anyway so none of this matters! 😊