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BusinessDay: Coding skills still relevant in AI age

Despite advances, traditional abilities remain a fundamental aspect of academic and professional development.


One may contemplate the continued applicability of conventional coding skills in the current era, in which large language models such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini and generative artificial intelligence (AI) predominate.


With the continuous advancement and expansion of AI in the domains of programming and software development, concerns arise regarding the continued necessity of coding instruction for students in educational institutions. Is the capacity to code still deemed mandatory?


The field of coding is undeniably experiencing a paradigm shift due to the influence of AI. The implementation of AI-powered tools has significantly transformed the work flow of software developers through the provision of functionalities such as intelligent code completion. In addition to understanding the current code and its context, these tools provide recommendations on relevant functions, variables, and excerpts. 


This breakthrough significantly decreases the duration of development and concurrently reduces the number of repetitive tasks. AI algorithms enhance the quality of code by optimising and proactively detecting bugs, screening for potential weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and recommending enhancements to memory usage, efficiency, and overall performance. 


The advent of low-code/no-code platforms represents an additional paradigm shift that challenges the necessity for conventional coding competencies. These platforms employ drag-and-drop interfaces and prebuilt components, thereby democratising the domain of application development by enabling individuals with limited technical proficiency to create highly functional applications. 


The developer pool is experiencing substantial growth due to these advancements, providing a diverse range of individuals with the chance to contribute to software development without the need for extensive coding expertise. This transition necessitates that conventional software developers redirect their focus from the repetitive elements of coding to the more intricate, innovative, and problem-solving facets of software development.


Streamline operations

The concurrent rise in technological specialisation is linked to a distinct pattern exemplified by the proliferation of domain-specific programming languages (DSLs). DSLs, which are designed with specific academic fields in consideration, feature more intuitive syntax and incorporate built-in functions that are directly pertinent to those domains. As an illustration, a DSL tailored for the healthcare sector might encompass specialised functionalities such as data analysis and the administration of medical records. 


The implementation of these functions would streamline operations that would otherwise require considerable amounts of code written in a general-purpose programming language. Sophisticated programming languages eliminate the necessity to reinvent the wheel for routine duties within a given domain. Developers are thus able to focus on innovating within their respective fields and their productivity is enhanced.


Given the dynamic nature of the programming profession due to technological advancements, it is critical to emphasise that while methodologies and instruments may undergo modifications, fundamental coding skills remain exceedingly valuable. Coders must possess an extensive array of competencies, which includes the capacity to integrate domain knowledge into their coding prowess, to meticulously develop solutions that meet particular needs. 


Traditional coding abilities remain a fundamental aspect of academic and professional development, despite advancements in AI and the development of user-friendly programming languages and platforms.


The capacity to understand and alter code not only provides individuals with the knowledge and abilities required for creation and innovation, but it also readies them to confront challenging issues in a technologically-driven society.

Due to coding not only being a current skill but also a crucial literacy for the future, continuing to instruct enrolled children in coding is not only beneficial but also mandatory.

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