GitHub CEO Thomas Dohmke believes that artificial intelligence and software development are now inextricably linked, powered by assistance tools like Copilot and its related Copilot chat, which the Microsoft-owned company today extended to individual GitHub subscribers .
But speaking on stage at TC Disrupt today, Dohmke argued that the AI revolution will be an avalanche Not be the death knell for the software development industry.
“Demand for software developers will continue to outstrip supply,” Dohmke said in a discussion with RockedBuzz’s Frederic Lardinois.
Dohmke, along with many other tech leaders, has long insisted that AI tools like Copilot will simply make developers more productive, rather than replace them. But what about the future, say, ten years from now?
“The amount of software in 10 years will only grow exponentially,” Dohmke said. “We have an ever-increasing number of lines of code to manage, we have an ever-increasing number of ideas, and frankly, every company is now a software company.”
While AI is undoubtedly here to stay, Dohmke noted that while software development may evolve, there are several reasons why developers will still be in high demand for the foreseeable future. One is the huge amount of legacy code out there that still exists in its original form.
“If you go to banks and financial institutions and talk to the CTO, they will tell you that they are using COBOL code from the 1960s, and that the developers from the 1960s are all retired,” Dohmke said. “And that code wasn’t being written then unit tests and with CI/CD, then someone has to maintain it and hopefully turn that COBOL code into Java or Python. And we’re not even talking about the code of the ’70s, ’80s or ’90s yet.”
Of course, maintaining legacy code may not always be necessary as companies evolve their stack. But according to Dohmke, generative AI itself will serve to create a greater need for technical talent.
“We have a shortage of computer science students, certainly in the Western world, from Berlin to San Francisco to Sydney,” he said. “Generative AI has just created another wave of demand, where more and more companies with bold ideas, both small and large, are now thinking about how to adopt innovative AI into their business model, looking for developers [who] know how to use the open API or train an (AI) model. “