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CircleCI 2024 Predictions: Software Development


Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2024.  Read them in this 16th annual series exclusive.

2024 Predictions for Software Development

In the ever-evolving landscape of software development, 2024 is poised to be a transformative year. As organizations continue to experiment with AI to solve end-to-end problems and automate routine tasks in software delivery, organizations will grapple with harnessing AI models to create commercially viable products, the false paradox of safety vs. speed when it comes to deploying these AI applications, and face the need to redefine the roles of junior engineers. In the age of AI, here are predictions from leaders at CircleCI, the leading CI/CD platform for software innovation at scale.

Jim Rose, CircleCI CEO, Predictions

Major AI models will become commodities and the teams that can build the apps on top of these models will take all.

When models like OpenAI became mainstream in early 2023, the focus around Generative was experimentation; we discovered a new tool that unleashed a wave of new apps and use cases to the market. In the second half of 2023, we shifted to solving end-to-end problems. Rather than building the foundational model - companies used AI as a piece to a more comprehensive solution. In 2024, as developers become more comfortable working with ML models and consolidating on the best tools to do so, the race will shift to figuring out how to build AI-enabled software into commercially viable products that provide immediate value to customers. 

AI will force organizations to rethink how they train and develop their junior engineers / prepare their career paths.

AI will force engineering leaders to redefine the role of junior engineers as AI automates the basic tasks they perform. A few months ago, proficient developers wrote perfect code, and now AI does. Therefore, developers must become experts in areas like prompt engineering, testing and training large language models, and knowing how to deal with non-deterministic outcomes - a skill even more experienced engineers wouldn't have had to touch just last year. The industry must prepare for this upcoming crunch by investing in educational initiatives, upskilling programs, and fostering an environment that nurtures talent and promotes continuous learning. 

Rob Zuber, CircleCI CTO, Predictions

Progressive delivery will become even more essential with the rise of AI

Just as software teams have begun to hone practices for getting reliable, observable, available applications running at scale, generative AI is changing everything we know about these methods thanks to its non-deterministic nature. In other words, 1+1 can equal infinity. Therefore, next year, we'll see developers start to account for infinite change when building, testing, training, retesting, and delivering new features built on AI/ML models. This will make the practice of progressive delivery even more essential for success when delivering applications at scale. 

The false paradox of safety vs. speed when it comes to deploying AI applications

The United States has long fostered a culture of innovation, and that's why we saw a hotbed of AI-focused companies popping up across the US in 2023. However, in 2024, we'll continue to see legislation like Biden's October Executive Order, aiming to provide suitable safeguards for the responsible development of AI-enabled software. However, this only fuels what I see as the false paradox of safety vs. speed. A few years ago, moving fast and breaking things was our central focus in software development. By investing in CI/CD pipelines at the core of software development and shipping small changes frequently, we reached a place where speed enabled safety, not compromised it. We are facing the same challenge with AI: it's crucial that we get to a place where we aren't focused on balancing the need for speed and safety but rather forging a path where moving quickly actually lowers risk. 



Jim Rose 

CircleCI's CEO, Jim Rose, is a six-time founder of category-defining companies. Jim's leadership is defined by his resilience, relentless focus on customers, and sharp knack for identifying product-market fit. In 2014 Jim co-founded and led Distiller, which was acquired by CircleCI. Prior to that, he was the co-founder and CEO of top companies, including Copious, Vamoose, and MobShop, whose IP was acquired by Groupon.

Rob Zuber 

Rob Zuber is a 20-year veteran of software startups; a three-time founder, and five-time CTO. Since joining CircleCI, Rob has seen the company through multiple rounds of fundings and acquisitions and delivered on product innovation at scale while leading a team of 300+ engineers distributed worldwide. Before CircleCI, Rob was the CTO and Co-founder of Distiller, a Continuous Integration and Deployment platform for mobile applications, which was acquired by CircleCI in 2014. Before that, he co-founded Copious, an online social marketplace. Rob was the CTO and Co-founder of Yoohoot, a technology company that enabled local businesses to connect with nearby consumers acquired by Appconomy in 2011.

Published Monday, November 27, 2023 7:40 AM by David Marshall
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