Does ChatGPT have a place in coding?
It’s the million-dollar question these days in tech circles.
In fact, the topic came up for us just last week in our recent interview with Colt Steele.
And the short answer is that it does.
However, maybe not in the way you think it does.
In today’s blog, we’re going to chat about ChatGPT in coding: how to use it, how it will change things, and if you should be worried about it coming for your tech jobs.
Let’s dive in.
Will ChatGPT Replace Coding Jobs?
We thought we’d tackle the most frequently asked question first: Are AI tools like ChatGPT going to replace coding jobs?
The answer is no!
While ChatGPT can be a useful tool for assisting with code, it’s not going to replace coding jobs anytime soon. Or ever.
Here are a few reasons why tools like ChatGPT aren’t replacing coding jobs anytime soon:
- It’s dumber than you think. ChatGPT is far from perfect, and errors are still super common. If you’ve tried asking ChatGPT any questions yourself, you’ve probably found that you can’t always depend on the answer. AI tools like ChatGPT pull from a wide range of sources to supply their answers, however, they have no way of determining the accuracy of the sources they’re using.
- It still needs human supervision. ChatGPT is simply trained to generate words or functions based on a given input. It does not have the ability to truly comprehend the meaning behind those words or questions, which leads to misinterpretations, misunderstandings, and even completely wrong outputs. Facebook is a great example of this. At Facebook, they use AI tools to flag potentially problematic posts, but they don’t remove them until a human verifies that they should be removed.
- It would need to be integrated everywhere. Just like software engineers don’t work in silos, ChatGPT couldn’t either. In order to successfully replace coding jobs, you’d need to bring ChatGPT to every meeting, every brainstorming session, and integrate into every company system completely.
Is ChatGPT A Good Resource For Teaching You How to Code?
Now that we’ve discussed replacing your job, what about replacing your education?
The answer is also no; ChatGPT is not a replacement for proper software engineering and web development learning.
One *big* reason goes back to what we’ve mentioned before: it gets things wrong a lot.
However, here are a few more reasons why you shouldn’t use ChatGPT to teach you to code.
- You lose grit. One of, if not the most important thing you want as a software engineer is grit. ChatGPT can be a huge hindrance to that. Instead of spending an hour or so working on a tough problem and solving a bug and learning along the way, ChatGPT can potentially make things easier and solve problems for you. But at what expense? AI tools, like ChatGPT and GitHub Copilot are wonderful if you’re experienced and need some assistance. But they are terrible teaching tools that not only make things too easy sometimes but are just flat-out wrong as well.
- You aren’t really learning. When using a tool like ChatGPT to learn how to code, you end up taking shortcuts that won’t help you long-term in your career. We’re big on this at Rithm. You have to learn the why behind your coding decisions in order to have a successful career in it. It’s no different than finding something on Stack Overflow and pasting it into your code without understanding what it does. It can be helpful for trying to explain concepts to you or explaining what a piece of code does, but you still have to have a fundamental understanding of what you’re doing or trying to do.
How We Recommend Using ChatGPT in Your Coding
So, how do we recommend using ChatGPT in coding?
ChatGPT is great for “coder’s block” when you need a little help or inspiration to write code.
Or for when you need some help understanding code that you inherited from someone else.
But the best way we recommend using it here at Rithm School?
Build something with it!
Use the underlying APIs to build something that uses ChatGPT instead. This is something that we’ll be exploring further in our curriculum, so stay tuned.
In Short? ChatGPT is Fun. It’s Not a Replacement.
As Tyler Comrie for The Atlantic said in a recent article, “Treat ChatGPT like a toy, not a tool.”
Have fun with it!
But don’t rely on it to write accurate code or replace any proper learning channels.
There is still a vast space for humans in the world of coding.
And we aren’t going anywhere!