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How artificial intelligence affects the productivity of programmers

TECHNOLOGYHow artificial intelligence affects the productivity of programmers

The productivity of software developers is becoming one of the key challenges for companies worldwide. These specialists spend more than half of their working time on code maintenance and management of digital infrastructure, according to the Tech Trends 2024 report prepared by consulting firm Deloitte. Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is growing in popularity, may provide support but also presents multiple challenges, especially regarding users’ security.

The latest edition of Deloitte’s report describes processes and phenomena resulting from technological development, which significantly influences how companies operate. Authors of the publication analyze trends that can determine the development directions of contemporary corporations, not only in the strict sense of technology but also in other sectors than IT. The latest edition of Tech Trends covers topics like technological debt, the role of software developers, their perception of the workplace, and challenges related to AI-generated digital content.

Developers Worth Their Weight in Gold

One of the discussed trends is the role of software creators in the development and operation of modern companies. Although the number of IT developers worldwide is expected to reach approximately 29 million by 2024, the demand for their work remains unsatisfied. Moreover, the number of job offers for software creators is expected to grow by 25% in the coming decade, i.e., three times more than for other professions. Developer experience (DevEx), i.e., subjective feelings of a programmer about their daily work, is therefore becoming very important. Elements such as job satisfaction and productivity of IT teams directly affect the capacity of companies to innovate and stay competitive.

Maciej Żwirski, an associate partner in the technology strategy and architecture team at Deloitte, states, “In today’s increasingly digital world, the ability of organizations to recruit developers and maintain long-term relationships with them is essential. Market leaders are aware of this, which can be seen in the work organization changes they have been implementing in recent years, such as introducing agile methodologies and cloud technology development. Improving workplace efficiency affects the satisfaction of specialist staff, and ultimately the financial results of a company. Eight out of ten entities that have invested in DevEx development have noted a moderate or significant impact of this investment on their profitability.”

One of the biggest challenges in DevEx is the productivity of IT teams. An average developer works about 41 hours a week, spending half of that time fixing poorly written code, integrating devices, or modifying utilised tools. Consequently, the global economy incurs annual alternative costs of $85 billion. Recognizing the needs of IT departments, creating a work culture that meets specialists’ needs, and automating repetitive tasks is, therefore, becoming paramount.

Truth in Times of AI

One of the currently important technological trends is the dynamic development of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The growing prevalence of AI creates many challenges for modern technology users, as the authors of the Deloitte report describe. Currently, one in five consumers struggles to differentiate between content created by humans and that generated by artificial intelligence. The possibilities offered by this new technology are well known to cybercriminals, who increasingly use it for phishing, generating deep fake content, or spreading misinformation. Phishing is the most common type of cyberattacks, with cybercriminals stealing approximately $44.2 million through phishing in 2021.

“Cybersecurity is becoming one of the more significant challenges for both individual users and large organizations. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for many people to distinguish real content from fake, which can have serious consequences, including financial. The key issue, therefore, is both increasing firms and individuals’ awareness of cyber threats and investing in solutions for data protection, which is one of the key assets of the 21st century,” says Ścibor Łąpieś, a partner on the Technology & Cyber M&A team at Deloitte.

A lack of awareness and ability to differentiate false content can increase susceptibility to manipulation and misinformation. According to the report’s authors, a multi-faceted approach is recommended to increase companies’ protection against cyber threats associated with AI. One recommendation involves regularly training decision-makers to recognize false information. Simultaneously, companies should focus on developing tools for verifying potential threats. This is even more critical considering estimates that by 2025, up to 9 in 10 digital content will be machine-generated.

Ścibor Łąpieś adds, “It is well known that human error often facilitates the success of cybercriminals. Increasing awareness of threats is the basis for safe activity in the network, but in today’s world, this is not enough. Organizations should invest in technologies and solutions that support user safety. AI, when properly used, can be an effective tool for identifying threats at an early stage.”

Managing Technological Debt

The rapid growth of modern technologies, which enable increased efficiency and improved processes, requires leaders to take action in the modernization of IT infrastructure. One of the indicators of maturity in this area is the level of technological debt, described in the report as the potential cost of using outdated or improperly implemented technology. 70% of IT department leaders identify this factor as a barrier to innovation and the primary reason for their organizations’ productivity decline. The $1.5 trillion value, equivalent to the total technological debt of American companies in 2022, illustrates the scale of this issue. The necessity to manage this area also affects developers’ experiences described in the report. They must dedicate approximately one-third of their working time to handle technical backlogs, which reduces their daily work efficiency and job satisfaction.

Although entrepreneurs are aware of the problem’s scale and spend 10 to 20% of their technology departments’ budgets to fix issues caused by outdated systems, these actions are reactive. According to the report’s authors, systematic evaluation of the company’s needs in this area, evaluation of the possibility of effective action, and a holistic approach to these issues is crucial for reducing technical gaps. Active management and reduction of technical debt bring measurable benefits – leaders who actively manage and reduce technical debt deliver products to the market up to 50% faster than other entities.

“Rapid digital innovation makes entrepreneurs need to keep up with emerging solutions. On the other hand, monitoring a complex IT environment can be a challenge, so it is worth considering the possibilities offered by AI or machine learning. Latest technologies allow for effectively identifying areas requiring improvement by supporting optimal investment decisions that directly translate into the organization’s position in an increasingly digital world,” says Maciej Żwirski.

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