Will AI replace computer programmers? This is a question we hear a lot from would-be students who are considering one of Lighthouse Labs' offerings in Web Development, Data Science, Data Analytics, or Cyber Security.

So, I'll cut to the chase and give you the straight answer first.

No, it won't.*

And now I can hear you asking follow-up questions.

"Given your apparent, but openly disclosed bias, why should I believe your answer?"

You're also wondering, "Did you really mean to say, 'No Iit won't for all tech jobs?" or "'No it won't for some tech jobs.'"

And I hear you wonder, "Is it even worth taking a Coding or Data Science Bootcamp?"

To find out why I added the asterisk* to my answer and the answers to your follow-up questions, read on! We will look into my Crystal Ball together, guided by what we already see happening in the real world.

Q: Why should I believe your answer in particular?

A: The quick answer: I did a master's degree in experimental particle physics with a (neural network component) 30 years ago. I've been watching the technology evolve ever since. I understand it enough to know where it has come from and where it is going. I've been coding since the 1980s, and I've been around long enough to know how things work, how they don't work, and which systems are fit for which purpose. I'm really happy to be able to share my perspectives with my students every day.

Here's an example of the kinds of perspectives I bring to class. ALL of computing always has and always will be about three things:

  • 1. Inputs
  • 2. Processing
  • 3. And Outputs

It matters not whether we're talking about good old classical computing or the fanciest of modern quantum computing. That breakdown (inputs, processing, and output) has always been true and will always be true.

This means that AI has one salient feature you'll need to understand well to understand "the new normal": that old adage "Garbage in, garbage out." No algorithm is any better than its inputs.

Notice that for every query you ever do with AI, the tools start with inputs in some form. Like with Google or the programmer's favourite crutch, Stack Overflow, these tools are best used by people who know what they're doing. Better inputs lead to better results.

Q: Did you really mean to say, "No, it won't for all tech jobs" or "No, it won't for some tech jobs'?

A: Okay, okay. It'll eliminate SOME tech jobs. Which jobs? The low-skill ones. So now is likely an excellent time to get some new skills.

In a recent release from the OECD, they warned about the incoming impact of AI on the job market. They point out that the lowest-skill jobs will be threatened the most.

Here's a little secret about computer programming jobs. The actual coding is often less than half of the job. As a coder, you spend much of your time reading people's messages or (gasp!) even talking to people (even if it is remote work) and trying your best to understand what they WANT, not just what they're saying. You're often a translator, translating their non-technical language into technical terms and solutions. You're the one choosing between the dozens or hundreds of possible solutions because you have the experience to know which solutions match a client's budget and whether that solution will be fit for purpose. Long story short, there's a lot more to "coding" than "coding."

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Q: Is taking a Coding, Cyber Security, or Data bootcamp still worth it?

A: Yes. The bootcamp model of education and skills development is fast. In a fast-changing world, coding skills will most definitely serve you well.

Notice, for example, that when Open AI (the makers of Chat GPT) show examples of how its API can be used in applications, they show sample code that you could use to build AI into your offerings. Lighthouse Labs bootcamp graduates, even in just three short months working with us in the Web Development Program, understand the details behind the scenes of how the asynchronous API calls in the Open AI examples work, and that's just for starters.

We have already had multiple students' final projects leverage the ChatGPT API to super-charge their code, and our grads will be in the right place at the right time to push into this new field of engineering if they choose to make that a priority.

AI and Lighthouse Labs Graduates

Also, when one of the ChatGPT creators released a video showing how to build Chat GPT from scratch, that video was understandable in detail to the Lighthouse Labs Data Science Program graduates.

With all these new solutions being built and released into the world, you can bet that cyber security will be in ever-increasing demand for organizations of all types.

What other modes of education can ramp you up in three short months into this brave new world of coding and AI? And do those offerings also have the strength of a Career Services team to help you land that first post-graduation job?

Never mind wondering about whether a bootcamp is still a viable thing. Never before has the bootcamp model been more appropriate for a rapidly changing world.

If you're a Lighthouse Labs alum and would like to reconnect, definitely drop us a line to let us know how AI is affecting your job, or if you're new to the coding world and considering a run at a Lighthouse Labs Bootcamp, get in touch with the good people in our admissions department.