How will AI technology affect IT jobs?

Will Astbury
by Will Astbury 25 May 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly presenting opportunities to UK organisations and this is likely to have a profound affect on the IT jobs market.

In many organisations, the IT department is usually the first to adopt and use AI and machine learning. These solutions are already taking-on some IT service desk and cyber security duties, among others.

Alex Omeyer, CEO of developer tools creator Stepsize, explained at Crimson’s Innovation Conference how AI and machine learning can tackle the hugely expensive problem of software knowledge bottlenecks within organisations. Stepsize has created a desktop application for developers that uses AI to automatically add context to code bases, simplifying and accelerating the coding process. (Click here to find out more about this.) However, how will software developer roles be affected by solutions like Stepsize's in the future?

The consultants in Crimson’s IT recruitment agency, based in Birmingham, are increasingly being asked similar questions by candidates that want to know if their skillsets are under threat and if they should retrain.

Views differ depending on the research you read.

Peter Sondergaard, Head of Research & Advisory at Gartner Inc, is quoted in TechRepublic as claiming that "AI will be a net job creator starting in 2020". He reportedly stated that AI will automate many jobs leaving 1.8 million people out of work, but that it would also create 2.3 million jobs.

Maria Korolov, writing in CIO magazine, has suggested that IT jobs aren’t truly under threat and that “day-to-day activities of enterprise technology professionals will evolve alongside AI and new skills may be required”. She argued becoming an AI expert could open-up more opportunities for IT workers.

On the other side of the argument, Samantha Donaldson, writing for blog Tom’s IT Pro, claimed that there is a skills shortage in the IT recruitment market and that many jobs need filling. She said the question being asked should be “how can organisations fill IT jobs?” not “how will AI and machine learning affect IT jobs?”. She also said candidates who adopt AI skills and specialisms will become valuable in the marketplace.

Bringing it all together

Ultimately, any major macro-environmental change, like GDPR for example and now in the case of the mass adoption of AI, will put pressure on some IT jobs in the short term. However, smart, savvy, IT candidates will evolve new skills over time and grasp the opportunities presented by the environment that they operate in, look at the amount of GDPR consultancies that are out there now!

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Crimson is an IT consultancy, an IT solutions provider, an IT recruitment agency, and a Microsoft Gold Partner operating across the UK.