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Is the future of software engineering doomed? Not in this lifetime

Is the future of software engineering doomed? Not in this lifetime

Judy Tsuei
March 16, 2022
Updated on:

Is the future of software engineering doomed? Not in this lifetime
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Software engineering is the new “doctoring” or “lawyering” – it’s the kind of smart career that parents love, with steady projected growth and lucrative salaries. And as daily life becomes increasingly shaped by software, the need for talented people to engineer our future has only gone up. 

To meet this increase in demand, more people are jumping on the programming bandwagon. Nowadays it seems like every job out there requires at least a little bit of coding experience. What was once a highly specialized skill is becoming the new literacy. 

What does that mean for the future of software engineering jobs? Some recent shakeups in software engineering have made newcomers to the tech world worried that the demand for software engineers will only go down in the future. For example, there’s the increase in popularity of low-code and no-code solutions that some are saying will completely replace the need for software developers, as well as shifts in the software development process. Companies like IBM are no longer hiring huge teams of engineers that focus on one thing, like testing or quality assurance. Startups and tech giants alike are now hiring small and agile teams of full-stack developers. 

Despite these fears, the future of software engineering jobs looks bright. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 22% increase in software developer jobs between 2020 and 2030. To put that number in perspective, the average growth rate for all professions is just 8% for that same time period.

There’s no denying that there are some massive shifts occurring in the world of software engineering, but don’t switch your major from computer science just yet! If you’re smart about what skills you develop and how you position yourself in the job market, these shifts represent exciting opportunities. 

Read on for some  software engineering trends that will only grow in the near future, and how you can pivot to keep up with the times for a recession-proof career in the software industry.

Programming languages are becoming more abstract

One of the most obvious trends in software engineering is that programming languages are operating on higher levels of abstraction. 

There’s a reason why software engineers are engineers. The job requires out-of-the-box thinking and problem solving, which is what makes more abstract programming languages right for the job. 

Python isn’t just the language of data science anymore. Python’s coming up as the number one language in computer programming because it’s open source and has a huge pre-built library that supports machine learning, big data, and cloud computing. The large library and robust support almost eliminate the need for any external dependency. 

Virtually all of the biggest trends in software development – from cloud computing to artificial intelligence – use Python. 

Java is also an incredibly useful language, and not just for web development. Java is one of the biggest languages in cloud computing. The increase in remote working has meant that cloud software development has exploded in the past few years. If you are proficient in Java and Python, then you have nothing to worry about – cloud development jobs are sure to be in high demand. 

Tech companies and startups are looking for engineers who are proficient in high level programming languages like Python and Java, so now’s a good time to learn those languages. Call yourself a cloud developer, and you’re sure to have a job for many years to come.

Artificial intelligence is a smart move 

Artificial intelligence has been on the list of “future trends of software engineering” for a while now, but it’s clear that the future is now. From chatbots and voice assistants to machine learning, the applications of artificial intelligence are growing in number. 

Machine learning has given us increased capabilities to handle big data efficiently, as well as transformed speech recognition. It’s no longer some futuristic dream – machine learning is becoming a tool that developers use every day.

One of the biggest adopters of artificial intelligence development is the Internet of Things (IOT). Amazon and Google are two major leaders in IOT technology, but as IOT spreads to more devices – like home appliances – expect to see other players emerge. The IOT sector is fast growing, so developing AI skills to power IOT devices is a solid choice for the future. 

Automation creates more software engineering jobs

Most people are scared that robots will replace their jobs, but the opposite is true for software engineers. 

As more companies embrace automation, especially where repetitive tasks abound (like manufacturing), we need more people who can develop the code that makes AI possible. 

But automation isn’t just for the manufacturing industry. Almost every industry is using powerful algorithms to automate basic tasks. Healthcare tech uses algorithms to provide more accurate information and recommendations for users to promote better health. Automation is the game in digital marketing, as well. Digital marketers use algorithms to give powerful recommendations, like what keywords to include, or when to post on social media. 

At Clockwise, we’re in the business of using automation to effortlessly resolve meeting conflicts and create more Focus Time in your schedule – so you always have time for what matters.

No-code engineering? No problem

No-code and low-code platforms give people with very little coding experience the ability to build apps and prototype new software, so it’s no wonder that these platforms, like Airtable and Bubble, are making software engineers a little nervous. 

As a software engineer, you might be concerned about the future of coding as a relevant skill. We have good news for you: The emergence of no-code and low-code platforms give software engineers a lot of space to do what they do best – solve problems and power innovation. 

Low-code platforms are great frameworks for building prototypes and exploring ideas, but they tend to come across a bottleneck of functionality, and it’s unlikely that they will ever have strong integration capabilities. Eventually applications will outgrow their low-code platforms, and software developers will be needed to take the app to the next level. These platforms still have a long way to go before most software solutions can be no code, so it’s unlikely that no-code platforms will seriously compete with the need for software developers. That’s where you step in!

Not to mention that someone needs to develop and build no-code platforms, making this an exciting space for software developers to grow their career. 

Most importantly, no-code and low-code platforms will never replace the leadership, creativity, and problem solving capabilities of a software engineer. If anything, they give developers more tools to do what they do best, instead of being stuck in the weeds just to bring an idea to fruition. 

Will software engineers be needed in the future?

Short answer: yes! 

The world of software engineering is constantly changing, and some of these changes may leave people wondering: how long will software developers be in demand? 

Software engineering is a fast-paced field, and while things are definitely changing, the field will continue to grow. In order to stay competitive in the job market, software engineers need to develop the right skill set to meet the demands of these new technologies.

Artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and IOT are all growing spaces that will create exciting new jobs for software engineers, but the list doesn’t end there.

Virtual reality is another space to watch out for. While there hasn’t been widespread adoption of virtual reality yet, AR and VR will become more commonplace in the coming years. Entering into this space now can position you for a lot of growth down the road. 

Blockchain technology is another up-and-coming sector that will provide a lot of opportunities for software engineers. Following the success of cryptocurrencies and NFTs, the blockchain will be used in a number of new applications, like cybersecurity. Cybersecurity has long been considered a separate field from software engineering, but these two fields are merging together. And as we’ve seen, employers are looking for software developers that have a wide range of skills. 

Lastly, there's growing demand for developer advocacy roles.

There’s a lot of interesting new opportunities for software engineers out there, and to take advantage of these lucrative jobs you have to develop the right skills. Learning languages like Python and Java will take you far, as well as developing your skills in AI and automation. Going with the trends of low-code and no-code software instead of fighting against it is also a smart move. After all, where there’s innovation there’s software engineers, and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

So what is the future of software development? Stakeholders are increasingly looking for innovation and flexibility, making it more important than ever for software developers to develop multiple skills. Exciting new technologies allow software developers to devote more time to high level problem-solving at all points of the software development lifecycle, making it the best time to enter the workforce as a software engineer.

About the author

Judy Tsuei

Judy Tsuei is a Simon & Schuster author, speaker, and podcast host. She’s been featured in MindBodyGreen, BBC Travel, Fast Company, Hello Giggles, and more. As the founder of Wild Hearted Words, a creative marketing agency for global brands, Judy is also a mentor with the Founder Institute, the world's largest pre-seed accelerator. Judy advocates for mental and emotional health on her popular podcast, F*ck Saving Face. Follow along her journey at

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