January 21, 2021

How AI Will Change Software Development: 7 Things Software Leaders Should Know

While AI is already supporting human developers at every stage in the development lifecycle, software development, as we know it, is on the verge of a major transformation.

Artificial Intelligence technology is redefining how developers work, already driving big gains in productivity, quality, and speed. AI algorithms can be used to improve everything from project planning and estimation to quality testing and the user experience.

According to a recent Deloitte report, AI-enhanced software development could help the average developer be 10X more productive than they would be on their own.

Another report published by PMI found that AI innovators achieve higher rates of on-time delivery, greater returns on investment, and realize a larger share of business benefits from projects than AI laggards.

If you are an industry leader, work in the software industry, or are a thought leader in your industry, you’ll want to get prepared for big changes on the horizon.

In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of artificial intelligence for software development and emerging use cases that can help you plan ahead to avoid losing ground to your competitors.

1. Artificial Intelligence is Already Changing the Role of Software Developers

The role of the software developer is already beginning to evolve, and within the next decade, it may look a lot different than it does today. Do note that technology isn’t likely to replace developers. We’re several years away from reaching the point where AI is writing code on its own.

What’s more likely is that software developers will perform a different set of tasks and develop skills that allow them to collaborate effectively with AI on the job.

AI stands to take on repetitive, simple tasks (an area where AI already excels), thus enabling developers to spend more time on complex problem-solving tasks. This combination will enhance and improve the process of software development rather than replace it.

It’s also worth mentioning that AI will likely also be used to identify gaps in existing technologies and alert organizations when new software is required.

This will create a new need for even more developers in the future, suggesting that AI and software development will likely grow together.

2. AI Enables Fully-Automated Software Testing at Speed & Scale

The role of AI in software testing is becoming more and more critical to the quality assurance process. Traditionally, quality assurance testing is a time-consuming, manual task with a high margin of error.

Because there’s only a finite amount of workforce, time, and resources, bugs or other issues can easily slip through the cracks, only coming to light after the product has been released.

One of the biggest benefits of artificial intelligence is that it enables fast, accurate testing that improves the process to such a degree that bugs are fixed before a product is released, shortening the development process and ensuring a higher-quality end-product.

We already see how AI enhances software development and testing in a variety of ways, including test bots that ID software bugs and visual testing that leverages image-based machine learning and side-by-side comparisons to test an application’s interface.

There’s also differential testing, which compares application versions, classifies differences, and uses feedback to improve its classification process.

3. AI-Powered Coding Helps Teams Build Apps Faster

Rather than replacing software programmers, artificial intelligence will become a tool that software programmers use to gain new knowledge, streamline processes, and, ultimately, write better code.

One of the biggest trends in AI software development are AI-enabled coding apps like Tara, Kite, and Deep TabNine. They essentially bring “autocomplete” into the software development process to improve speed and accuracy during the coding process.

Another solution, Mendix Assist, also offers an AI-driven mentoring capability designed to help new developers learn how to build apps in real-time.

Ultimately, these tools stand to democratize development and allow developers to dedicate more time to problem-solving, design, and developing other creative solutions that maximize the value they can deliver to the organization.

4. Automated Error Management

Traditionally, when an error was found in software, a developer would need to go in and look to investigate what the problem is.

Then, if the problem could be found, work to correct it. This process, while perfectly fine, is time-consuming and error-prone.

One of the main benefits of artificial intelligence is that it can automatically detect, diagnose, and repair software errors without a developer ever having to touch it. This helps keep costs down and greatly improves efficiency.

Additionally, AI and machine learning algorithms can also play a role in predicting and preventing errors by automatically searching through databases to uncover abnormalities and recommending a series of steps that help developers avoid them.

Abnormalities could be anything from bugs to missing code or misclassifications. AI stands to improve efficiency and quality by making it easier to find and fix problems in the code, and by preventing them from making an appearance in future projects.

5. Artificial Intelligence Technology Offers More Accurate Planning & Cost Estimation

Software development estimates are always a challenging task as it’s difficult to predict what obstacles you might encounter along the way and how much those unknown roadblocks can eat into the budget or push back deadlines.

Artificial intelligence can utilize all of its existing data from past projects and a variety of other factors that you want to include to help you determine a far more accurate software development estimate. This will make it easier for your organization to decide what projects to pursue and which projects to cut before getting started.

In this Medium post, Crane.ai explains how the company uses AI-enabled project planning to create accurate estimates for delivering apps. The platform adjusts the project in real-time, as new requirements are introduced, preventing scope creep from happening without first informing stakeholders before committing to a decision.

Additionally, integration with GitHub allows the platform to ingest code changes as they happen and, from there, maps out how they impact the project.


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6. Artificial Intelligence Technology is Redefining What it Means to Be a Leader

The impact of artificial intelligence extends beyond the development process and is increasingly being used to inform big-picture decisions.

Artificial intelligence uses machine learning to gather, categorize, analyze, and leverage data so that a machine can make intelligent decisions based on that data.

As artificial intelligence gets better and better at providing accurate insights that lead to better decision making, the level to which a leader has to rely on gut instinct will decline. Investors and stakeholders in organizations will be less compelled to rely on the guidance of an individual, and more on the guidance provided by complex algorithms leveraging millions, or even billions, of points of data.

The role of a future leader will shift away from strategic decision-making and towards the human and cultural side of a business, performing such tasks as mentoring junior employees or corporate ethics.

Additionally, leaders will need to be able to determine which information should be included in these complex algorithms and be able to identify if potentially pertinent information is missing from the artificial intelligence programs they are currently using.

7. AI Connects Developers to Real-Time Customer Feedback

Real-time input from AI-enabled development tools will dramatically change the way users interact with the tech stack they use on the job.

Machine learning algorithms will allow the software to learn how specific users behave, responding to different actions by serving variable content, automatically adjusting font size, buttons, and on-page elements, resulting in a dynamic software experience that pulls in real-time user interaction data and uses it to drive improvements as developers make adjustments to the code.

This enhanced functionality, coupled with a continuous feedback loop gathered from users, stands to smooth out friction points in critical areas, reducing abandoned cart rates, increasing conversions, or designing more accessible software.

Unlock the Benefits of AI Software Development

Long-term, AI will become a requirement for software development.

As such, organizations need to gain a better understanding of the benefits of artificial intelligence and how it’s changing the development landscape so they can adequately respond to the new technology and stay ahead of the competition.

3Pillar Global experts work with state-of-the-art AI technology to ensure that we stay ahead of our competition and deliver unparalleled quality products to our clients. Contact 3Pillar Global today to learn how we can help.