Six software engineering skills for the future of AI

By: | December 22nd, 2023

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Few industries are as flexible and ever-changing as software engineering. Today’s engineering professionals face a diverse program landscape ranging from mobile and tablet applications to software designed for large corporations. One area that is becoming increasingly important to software engineers is AI. In order to be prepared for the future and to develop the fundamental skills upon which they can build future expertise in AI, there are six skills software engineers should build. This article will explore what software engineers must develop to prepare for the future of AI. 

Machine learning fundamentals

Machine learning is a subcategory of AI and focuses specifically on the use of training data and algorithms to replicate how humans learn. This area of computer science is designed to help programs and other software understand the people using it and adapt its suggestions and learning strategies accordingly. Over time, machine learning allows software engineers to create applications that become more invaluable to users as they learn their interests and habits.

Some of the fundamental skills of machine learning include developing algorithms, programming and data science languages, domain knowledge, and general workplace skills such as communication, problem-solving, and time management. 

Data science and analytics

Data science and data analytics are two closely related concepts, both of which are important to software engineering. Both fields focus on gaining insights through the use of raw data, but they use that data in different ways. Data science typically involves building models able to predict future outcomes through the use of data while data analytics is more focused on analyzing past data in order to help inform present-day decisions.

Software engineers use data science and data analytics to tailor potential software solutions to their client’s specific needs. Collecting data on the user experience as well as running risk assessments, in particular, are very useful to software engineers at nearly every level of their profession. If the goal is to pursue AI-assisted development, data analytics and science are must-have skills. These concepts can be tricky to master, but software engineering programs from reputable universities, such as an online Master’s in Computer Science from Baylor University, are sure-fire ways to improve knowledge in both skills. Here, students can study how to apply AI architecture to systems that benefit new human ventures, such as exploring deep-sea or space. 

Deep learning expertise

“Deep learning” refers to a field of computer science that focuses on improving a program’s accuracy for an improved user experience. This is similar to machine learning, but there are a few key differences between the concepts. The amount of data used and the complexity of the tasks in question dictate which one you use. 

Deep learning models require far more data points than machine learning to improve accuracy. This is important in software that provides vital help to professionals in a wide variety of different fields. Fraud detection and virtual assistance, for example, require a more detailed analysis of a user’s habits, behavior, and needs than machine learning can easily provide. In software engineering specifically, deep learning is used in applications like automatically analyzing bug reports and providing software engineers with the information they need to fix problems without manually reading through every report.

Programming languages for AI

Much discussion around AI revolves around the way it might revolutionize the world in the near future. Relatively less common is a discussion about how it is developed and the skills software engineers need in order to create accurate and useful programs. One of the most important skills software engineers should master when it comes to the future of AI development is programming languages. 

Programming languages, of course, refer to the coding languages used to create software. There are many of them to choose from, and each one allows engineers to do different things. One language might allow software engineers to analyze and classify large data sets, which is especially valuable in machine learning. Another might focus more on deep learning. 

Mastering the right programming language for their field is essential for software engineers as they build their careers and adapt to future innovations.

Cloud computing skills

Cloud computing has become commonplace in end-user computing, but it is still relatively uncharted territory for some software engineers. There are many benefits to cloud computing, including greater flexibility in managing and deploying applications, a virtual environment for software builds and project management (including automated testing), and cost savings. More specifically, cloud computing allows developers access to a huge number of resources, including staging servers and testing. It also speeds up the software’s time to market, allowing developers to release new, high-quality software more quickly and efficiently than in more traditional environments. 

Aspiring and current software engineers should focus their attention on mastering cloud computing skills to improve their overall efficiency and productivity.

Reinforcement learning understanding

Reinforcement learning is often used as a training approach that falls squarely between unsupervised and supervised learning. Users can complete training requirements without direct supervision through the use of reinforcement learning techniques, which offer them delayed and sequential feedback that analyzes their actions. This, in turn, creates not only a more effective experience but also the use of reward signals, which allow users to understand if they are doing well or need to spend more time on the concepts in question.

Software engineers often use reinforcement learning to impact “soft AI” when displaying and fetching information. Search assistants on mobile devices are one example of this. 

The future of AI in software engineering is bright. It is also quickly approaching, and mastering AI-related skills is crucial for engineers who want to remain relevant decades into the future. If you want to build a long-lasting career in software engineering, keep the skills above in mind.


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