Computer Programmers

48%

Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Computer Programmers?

Based on the 2013 study it's unclear if this occupation will be replaced by robots/AI. However, workers can take comfort in the results from our poll, which only shows a 38% chance of automation within the next 2 decades.

Automation Risk Level

Start worrying

or 48% probability of automation

Projected Growth

-8%

by 2024

People Employed

199,540

as of 2019

Median Annual Wage

$86,550

or $41.61 hourly

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Most likely
Least likely

How this compares with other jobs: 295 out of 707

Cast Your Vote




How likely do you think this occupation will be taken over by robots/AI within the next 20 years?

People Employed (US)

Median Annual Wage (US)

Job description

Create, modify, and test the code, forms, and script that allow computer applications to run. Work from specifications drawn up by software developers or other individuals. May assist software developers by analyzing user needs and designing software solutions. May develop and write computer programs to store, locate, and retrieve specific documents, data, and information.

SOC Code: 15-1251

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Comments

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Noah Tikoft says
people are saying its stupid to give robots this job, but the singularity will still occur regardless of if we give robots programming jobs.
Aug 20, 2020 at 01:30 AM
Frank (Small chance) says
very unlikely people used to fear monger from 1970 lool that "robots" will take over, if one is self-taught and keeps learning as industry moves he will have jobs and $$$
Aug 09, 2020 at 09:47 PM
CodeBot (Highly likely) says
Programming is mainly about translating an idea or a desired outcome into a language that a computer can use to translate it into binary so that a machine will do the things required to achieve the desired outcome.

GPT-3 is already heading in the direction of taking the human translators (i.e. the programmers) out of the process.
Aug 05, 2020 at 06:27 AM
Robo says
If robots take job of the programmer then that's the end of everything.
Jul 19, 2020 at 12:51 PM
Alex says
The drag and drop technology only works with simple web development, and the final code that you get from that is awful and heavy, maybe for designers works because they just want something to look good but no care about what's behind that.
Jul 18, 2020 at 10:08 PM
Nikola says
I find it funny to see in the comment sections of all these logical professions how hellbent everyone is on undermining the possibility their profession being taken over by AI. But then I go and find people commenting on how creative professions, such as writing, singing, acting, painting, composing, etc. will be automated. If anything it should be clear that professions with a formula and a finite number of ways you can do things will be automated. So I'd say that computer programmers need to be much more worried than writers.
Jul 14, 2020 at 11:51 AM
Anonymus (Could go either way) says
The only ones programming A.I. are programmers. Do you think we'd leave them have our jobs?
Also, robots can't innovate or guess what the client wants lol
Jun 29, 2020 at 07:19 AM
Thomas (Highly likely) says
yeah imagine programming a robot that programs robots and then it takes you out of business which sparks the whole ai takeover
Jun 24, 2020 at 11:42 PM
someone (small chance) (Small chance) says
Although an AI could program a computer and fix bugs, an AI can't improve a computer or fix unusual bugs. though they could improve AI to do so in the future, only creatures with actual sentience could face such scenarios. the chances of sentient AIs is pretty small, so there's a small chance.
Jun 01, 2020 at 03:00 PM
FMD8 says
So does this include video game designers? I searched video game designer and this was the closest result I got.
May 13, 2020 at 02:48 PM
Get it done Not Feeling Good Today says
I hope all of you programmers are replaced. You do not listen to what I want. You do your own thing when I ask for something specific. You wasted over 4 years of my life boasting yourselves as professional, paying you high salaries or bonuses, only to come to find that a teenager with no experience solved the same problem you said was impossible to solve in just a few months.

I do not want or need humans in my field. I want to deal with a real and better version of human, created to replace all of you.
May 13, 2020 at 08:42 AM
icon says
Why are engineers so obsessed with developing AI if the end outcome is leaving people unemployed. Soon even our president will be a robot that makes decisions based on probability rather than human logical thinking.
And what if the robots go rogue and decide to rage a war against human race. We should stop playing God and just focus on solving problems through programming.
May 11, 2020 at 11:28 PM
Himanshu says
The post is really brilliant and the information is very useful for beginners. I’ve read about IBM’s Watson in many articles but none of them gave me as satisfactory description as this did. Learning more with quality over quantity sounds fascinating.
May 04, 2020 at 06:48 AM
igorsyd says
How can you trust AI to write software if: you cannot verify it, you cannot understand it. AI cannot explain it to you :)
At the moment AI is good in some specific areas, but in general it is hype :)
May 01, 2020 at 01:43 AM
Banana (No chance) says
Programmers job will be the last one automated. Programmers are the ones automating everything. If a job can be automated, even theoretically, they will be automated before programmers jobs will, otherwise programmers will be the ones working on automating them.

At the point where we have created an AI powerful enough to do the whole job of a programmer, all other jobs will have been automated, as robots can be created to be superior to humans in every aspect, programming the algorithms is the last peace of the puzzle.

If an AI can be told, by anyone, "Hey create this kind of program/application/operating system for me." It is capable of doing the whole thought work on it on it's own, which means it can create anything your heart desires, anything that is physically possible, it can create on it's own.
Mar 09, 2020 at 12:35 PM
abc says
Really? Programmers make the AI in the first place. This hype has gone too far.
Mar 08, 2020 at 11:45 PM
Pav G (No chance) says
AI might help human just like minimises code for us or helps in writing logical commands that we take times to write them but they don't need over thinking ...otherwise it's a bad idea to incorporate AI in that field & get rid of humans
Mar 04, 2020 at 01:11 AM
William says
Knowing algorithms is always helpful to our programming career. I made fraction calculator apps using java for android phones and I developed also fraction calculator using php for https://www.fractioncalc.com. Trust me, it is really hard to make an application without the algorithm first. This is one of the algorithm that kept circling my head when I was doing the application.
Check if denominator are equal.
If yes, just add the numerator.
If not, list all multiples for each denominator
Get the least common multiple.
Use the least common multiple to make all fraction the same denominator.
Then add the numerator.
Doing algorithms will always be a part of our lives as a programmer.
Feb 29, 2020 at 05:56 AM
tyler says
i love you try hard. im a try hard to
Jun 15, 2020 at 03:59 AM
dear god says
robots can code themselves so lets say one robot has been hacked...
Dec 11, 2019 at 01:50 AM
normal person (No chance) says
software developers are computer programmers (without a operating system a computer hardware/machine will not work); AI cannot replace human logical thinking in rationalization through interactive/collaborative experiences in our daily lives. user experience is the key developing complex programs to better suit our needs. that is why AI lacks on that level it needs human intervention to provide data to feed the AI, AI will only recycle the data information that it is feed on and do the task which is given, else if it is updated constantly.

unless the AI itself is self-aware it can do all the basic human 'needs' (Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”).

AI should be use as a tool/guide for programmers to use, instead of AI replacing the programmers/software developers.

it is just like were creating an entity that is better more advanced and agile to replace humankind, which it should be the other way around we should focus on technological innovation to help human advancement in the next level.

and if we were replaced by an high-level AI; there would be less experienced human programmers and critical thinkers, relying only on AI.

getting rid of human intervention in programming is utterly absurd.
Nov 18, 2019 at 07:53 AM
Bruno Hérick (Highly likely) says
Many tools have been developed to make easy the development of applications. The drag and drop technology is an example that is not necessary knowledge of programming. If this keep going, in the future we will have more people development and less people programming.
Oct 27, 2019 at 01:08 AM
UNDISCLOSED says
Yes, but for robots to program a computer, it would have to reach it's own code and copy itself, which creates an infinite loop which leads to malfunction. Not gonna happen.
Mar 18, 2020 at 03:09 PM
Alex says
The drag and drop technology only works with simple web development, and the final code that you get from that is awfull and heavy, maybe for designers works because they just want something to look good but no care about what's behind that.
Jul 18, 2020 at 10:04 PM
Somebody says
I`m sorry but to give robots this job is stupid and illogical with potential apocalyptic consequences.
Oct 25, 2019 at 09:00 AM
Somebody (No chance) says
The second we give the programming jobs to robots we must realize that we could be doomed
Oct 25, 2019 at 08:57 AM
Corpely.com says
In a survey conducted by Evans Data Corp, 550 software developers were asked about the most worrying aspects in their career. 29 percent said, “I and my development efforts are replaced by artificial intelligence.”
Aug 22, 2019 at 07:49 AM
Gazdagergo says
Writing a code which solves an issue is not a big deal. The real job is to define the problem which needs to be solved.
Dec 04, 2019 at 07:06 AM
Renny says
Even if AI takes over the programmer's job, we will have other things to do.
Aug 06, 2019 at 05:44 AM
User says
People are saying that for every job -_-
Nov 27, 2019 at 05:17 AM
Jo says
Jul 31, 2019 at 01:30 AM
Sergey says
I wonder why the hell programmers and computer scientists create an AI that will replace themselves? Are they tired of work and need a life time vacation? Or what? Why do we create an AI that can paint not worse than Picasso or Dali? I don't really understand that. AI removes all the uniqueness in art industry. Just why people do that? For what reason?
Aug 05, 2019 at 06:16 AM
Pawel says
I believe the shortest answer is: because it's a challenge and people love to challenge themselves.
Oct 15, 2019 at 11:13 AM
ASID says
I had same question as well ?! but i thought maybe those group who want to come up with this will gain alot of $$$
Oct 21, 2019 at 04:24 PM
h1 says
Simple: $$$$$$$$. If you can make money you don't care about rest. ;)
Oct 23, 2019 at 11:37 AM
Ed Nah says
Money dictates everything. Money makes the world operate.
Jan 16, 2020 at 02:21 AM
Riley says
As a general answer, people will basically do anything that pays a lot of money, including creating a robot for their own job. In this specific example though, there is some complexity. Automation doesn't replace a field all at once, but instead gradually replaces tasks. And computer programmers are very fond of automating boring and repetitive tasks they'd otherwise have to do. Not to mention they're the only field that can in fact do this. Additionally, there isn't a whole hive mind of computer programmers that are looking out for one single unit. Many programmers would likely have no qualms about automating another programmers job.
Jan 26, 2020 at 05:29 AM
Elliott says
Because whatever brilliant work their AI does, the programmers, the computer scientists and the engineers can and will make profits and bonus money from it. So long as their names were attached to the AI's creation, they'll continue to generate income and free up their time.
Feb 09, 2020 at 11:18 PM
Dylan says
Let's imagine you're a non-programmer guy that wants to create a product. You think about how you can build and launch the product into the world and build a business around it.

One of your options is to hire a bunch of programmers to build it for you and pay them $2 million dollars over the next couple of years.

The other option, if it were available is to get an AI to build the product for you and it only costs you $1 million dollars and takes half the amount of time.

So, it's not actually programmers that want replace programmers with AI per se. It's the businesses that want to build the software in a cost effective way to make money, survive and compete with other businesses doing the same thing.

That said, will AI be able create all of the software of the future without humans being involved? It's impossible to know for sure, but my feeling is that AI will only be able to create the initial prototypes and human programmers and designers will still need to be involved. At least in the near future.
Feb 17, 2020 at 10:40 PM
RF (No chance) says
AI can currently do some code completion. Anything other than assisting programmers would worry many people, if it ever does get that far.
Jul 30, 2019 at 04:02 PM
Olaf says
Software Developers 4%
Computer Programmers 48%
It doesn't make sense.
Jul 27, 2019 at 09:06 PM
Yee says
These informations are not real. It is just survey which people take how they think it will look like in the future
Aug 14, 2019 at 03:59 PM
Anonymus says
Yeah, I know
Oct 15, 2019 at 01:22 PM
Gert says
Yeah, by the time computer programmers have been replaced, all other occupations have been too. Programmer will be the last occupation to be replaced.
Jul 21, 2019 at 02:01 PM
ASID says
unfortunately not what people say :S
Oct 21, 2019 at 03:11 PM
Lashe (No chance) says
Programming jobs won't be automated any time soon. To write computer code requires the ability to think. That is something that AI is not capable of doing even for a long time. Anyone that thinks that computer programming jobs will be taken by AI anytime soon probably has never written serious code.
Jun 16, 2019 at 10:32 PM
You're wrong says
You're so wrong. What kind of programming job let's you think "freely"? If you're making something creative like a game sure, but a website or native application?
Nov 24, 2019 at 09:21 PM
XeNNo (Highly likely) says
A time will come when Artificial Intelligence will write code for itself and then Computer Programmers would become less required ...
May 29, 2019 at 04:53 PM
Patrick Woo says
The day the computer can specify its own requirement, is the day it can totally program itself to hit its own targets. Till then it will always rely on humans to provide the specifications.

The thing with human providing the specification to a piece of software is... the language we use is ambiguous and has lots of room for misinterpretation. The most succinct and direct language to instruct the machine to do exactly we what want and leave no room for guesswork is.... the programming language itself.

To be able to come up with a specification to solving a problem requires wide cognitive functions to be able to understand the problem domain and how to solve it in the most efficient way. Right now even humans have problems dealing with that, coming up with the solution they want. Ask any software developers today and they will tell you in their day to day work, there are many cases where the clients (external and sometimes internal too) do not know what they are asking for, and in other cases, do not know what they want.

Other things like prioritising features over performance, aesthetics (user-interface design considerations) over usability, and what is a good balance to strike that is the best trade-off between 2 factors that affect the code.

These are decisions that machines cannot effectively make, simply because we are the users. Also it is very hard to please everybody.

So I see that the life-cycle of software development is a very organic thing that cannot easily be outsourced or taken over by machines, unless we relinquish our right to decide and let machines do their own thing, specify their own targets, and be able to meet them 100%.
May 08, 2019 at 03:54 AM
lol says
We shouldn't make AI programme itself, that is just wrong.
May 02, 2019 at 07:20 AM
Revi (Highly likely) says
When AI gets to the point where we can rely on it 100% of the time, we'll hit the point where it doesn't need us anymore
Apr 22, 2019 at 06:49 PM
Jasmine (Small chance) says
In the next 20 years, it wouldn't be possible to replace someone that quite literally codes the language into the machines. As it REQUIRES human ingenuity to even achieve the complex codes inside of our everyday technology.
Apr 18, 2019 at 05:06 PM
Rb says
But you never know look how fast AI has come so far in a very short time
Apr 22, 2019 at 11:13 AM
AAA says
Exactly.
Apr 22, 2019 at 06:11 PM

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Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Computer Programmers?

With the continuous advancements in technology, as well as organizations investing more and more into AI and robotics, the inevitable question remains: will AI replace programmers in the future?

Over the past few years, several studies have been pointing out to the significant threat automation processes pose, often sensationalizing the potential threat that AI poses to developers, subsequently aggravating programmers’ fears.

While the need for human programmers has not subsided, the remarkable advances in AI cannot be ignored.

Anyone who reads the news and keeps up with the latest in tech will notice the constant new developments, reported on in, an almost daily, bases.

AI is able to handle more and more tasks humans have been doing, and the progress is accelerating.

So, will AI render programmers obsolete?

Before we address this question, it is essential that we first understand how AI has gradually transformed over the years, its history, as well as the hype surrounding it.

Early AI and old school Programming

The first mention of AI can be traced back to the 1950s, notably computers that played checkers. From then onwards, the ante kept increasing with computers eventually beating humans at checkers, chess, backgammon, and finally even beating us at Go! This initial AI wave saw computers apply basic rules to beat humans at various games using a finite number of moves and subsequent clear outcomes.

While this is great, it is hardly an existential threat for developers. Computer programs that are proficient at a board game are cool for sure, but nowadays this is hardly ground-breaking news. Developing a set of rules as well as steps to make solid decisions in a given situation runs into limitations in the wild. Many of the real-life problems’ programmers are trying to find solutions for these days are not as straightforward as a board game.

Traditional Coding and its complexity

When it comes to conventional programming, codes are a distinct set of rule-based decisions that are nested in increasingly intricate conditionals. While this works quite well in simple, predictable scenarios, the bigger and more complex a project gets, the more the limits to this method become noticeable.

Testing traditional coding must anticipate each possible situation, and this process grows exponentially. As a program grows, scalability issue can develop, and at some stage, it can get too unwieldy to keep adding more code lines to the original code base.

The fragility of relatively large programs is something we all have to deal with as we use computers. Most of us have probably had the experience of installing an update to a program which was meant to give us all the latest and greatest features, only to find it buggy as hell. Adding code often breaks another seemingly unrelated thing, I’ve made that mistake in my programs many times, and this can result in frustrating consequences. The point is… there is a hard limit to how large traditional, non-AI programs can become.

Black Box Characteristic of AI

The basic approach of machine learning is to look at data and learn as opposed to writing a ton of rules. This approach eradicates the testing and scalability concerns that can plaque rule-based programming.

The most significant setback with machine learning is that it is a black box, even the developers of the machine learning algorithm don’t have a clue as to how decisions are actually made!

When machine learning makes much more sense than traditionally programmed code

There are many examples of AI and machine learning in use today, I’ll just mention a few which are used by most people on a regular basis.

Recommendation engines used by ecommerce stores and content providers, such as Netflix, use machine learning to make suggestions to new and existing customers, and have proven to be more effective than traditionally programmed engines of old. Machine learning is well suited to recommendation engines because it can uncover opportunities not immediately apparent to human developers.

Some other types of programs are simply not feasible without using machine learning. For example, image recognition software, such as that developed by Google. As a developer, I couldn’t fathom how to write such a program and make it remotely accurate without using machine learning, as well as lots and lots of data!

Other examples of ML assisted programs are those used by Google Home, Siri, Alexa etc. The voice recognition systems are heavily reliant on machine learning techniques. Deep neural networks are also employed in these voice recognition systems to make them more effective. Training from millions of users makes them appear smarter, and the technology is heading towards a point in the future where they’ll be able to hold a conversation with you – if that’s your thing :)

Why Is AI Such A Hot Topic Now?

Google search volume for 'machine learning' from March 2009 to March 2019

Many of the algorithms being used for machine learning are from the 80s and 90s, for an industry fascinated with the newest thing, the underlying artificial intelligence logic is pretty old.

However, three relatively recent things have happened which is making machine learning more practical:

  • Storing data is now cheap
  • Increase in computer processing power
  • The exponential growth of accessible information

Automating Tech Jobs

It can be quite worrisome to check out raw data on job automation, and employees are concerned. Here on this website we poll our readers, and ask the question:

“How likely do you think computer programmers will be taken over by AI within the next 20 years?”

Our poll currently shows a probability of 0%.

Realistically speaking though, I do not think that if you are a programmer you need to head to the hills just yet!

The actual future of AI, especially in engineering, is utilizing technology to facilitate the more efficient and faster working of human engineers, not to mention lesser bugs. As such, AI is expected to transform human developers into better and more robust programmers as opposed to entirely replacing them.

Will AI help programmers, and how?

AI is expected to enhance every stage of the software development journey. In the planning phase, projects will see a better technological selection, better analysis, as well as opportunities to reuse code from other projects. Similarly, when it comes to testing, the process will become more rigorous and comprehensive since AI will aid QA engineers. What’s more, with AI assistance, automating deployments will be faster and less prone to error.

One great example is the Accenture myWizard, an exclusive platform which hosts intelligent virtual agents using machine learning to collaborate with human co-workers. Harvard Business Review outlines that with this platform, the AI project manager is already assisting Accenture in delivering projects through correct prediction of red flags a whopping 80% of the time.

Programmers are already getting help from AI

AI is already assisting programmers. For instance, DeepCode is already making use of machine learning in assessing and cleaning up existing code. Experts hail it as the Grammarly’ of code! Similar to how grammar and spelling checkers haven’t wiped out editors and proof-readers, AI is also working to aid programmers.

What’s more, some other start-ups are taking AI one step ahead. For example, Logojoy is utilizing machine learning to produce simple designs and logos while UIzard is now converting handwritten designs into CSS and HTML.

Will AI replace Programmers?

Although the industry is considerably evolving and the workflow will include more automation in the future, it is unlikely that AI will completely wipe out the need for human programmers any time soon.

Without a doubt, numerous aspects of programming will eventually be automated. However, this won’t necessarily result in job loss.

Automation decreases costs for firms that develop software. How? These firms can effectively generate more software in a relatively shorter time span. With the demand for programs and software increasing significantly, not to mention automation cutting down the overall production costs, it is inevitable that business opportunities will continue to increase.

Work to be better

The takeaway from all this is that we have no reason for cowering in fear of an impending replacement. Instead, it is essential that we shift our focus on the skill sets that are the least automatable.

As programmers, it is essential that we take time to study both traditional programming and machine learning and identify when a particular approach is better suited to a given problem.

Non-technical abilities and skills which are not easy to automate will be the unique factor which distinguishes programmers. Creativity and domain expertise are the elements which will have more significance. Better intelligence and soft skills are also factors which will set engineers apart.

In essence, what would be the best move for programmers is to continue learning and honing their skills. What’s more, programmers should also be more willing and open to the idea of working in tandem with AI in the future.

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