Mastering Generative AI: 4 Tips for Software Developers

October 12, 2023

Key Takeaways from Minnesota Developer’s Conference 2023 Expert AI Panel

Eric Carr, AI Managing Partner at Compoze Labs

Questions on every software developer’s mind:

Will AI replace software developers?

Will I still have a job? 

The Compoze Labs team recently attended the Minnesota Developer’s Conference (MDC) 2023, where AI Managing Partner Eric Carr shared his industry expertise on an AI panel alongside other industry leaders: Michelle Mannering, Hackathon Queen and Developer Advocate at GitHub, Mike Benkovich, Azure Cloud Engineer and entrepreneur, and Christopher Crowhurst, former CTO of Novus Media. The discussion revolved around the fast-paced world of Generative AI and its implications for developers.

In this article, Eric shares his takeaways, shedding light on the Generative AI landscape and providing valuable insights for developers eager to navigate this transformative technology.

Generative AI and the Future of Developers

The first burning question on everyone's mind is whether AI will replace software developers. The answer is clear and reassuring: developers need not fear being replaced by AI. While technology is evolving rapidly, developers will continue to have essential roles in the ever-changing landscape.

So how does AI fit into the developer's world?

Developers should view Generative AI tools, such as Microsoft Co-Pilot, as a collaborative partner rather than a replacement. Microsoft Co-Pilot acts as a pair programming assistant, offering suggestions—sometimes good, sometimes not so good. It's necessary to understand the decisions and trade-offs involved in using such helpful assistants.

Eric Carr, Compoze Labs AI Managing Partner, alongside industry leaders on an expert AI panel at Minnesota Developer's Conference 2023.

How Developers Can Begin Their Generative AI Journey

The bar of playing around with these new technologies keeps getting lower and lower, and becoming familiar with Generative AI is imperative for developers.

So, where do developers begin this transformative journey into Generative AI? Here are four tips to get started:

1. Be a User: Try out Gen AI tools like ChatGPT, MidJourney, and a multitude of emerging Generative AI startups. Experience firsthand what these tools can do and identify opportunities and challenges with the technologies.

2. Gain Hands-on Experience with Local Language Models: Download and run a Local Language Model (LLM), such as Meta's Llama 2, or create a chatbot frontend with OpenAI APIs. This enables developers to explore the intricacies of experimenting and operating these models.

3. Dig Into Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG): Developers should get up to speed on RAG and the growing number of frameworks that can help build compelling services (such as LangChain, LLamaIndex, and Pinecone’s vector DB). By using these technologies, developers can build chatbots capable of answering questions and exploring personal content interests.

4. Explore Generative AI Agents for Personal Life: Get familiar with the growing number of Generative AI agents available. Developers can automate personal life workflows using these technologies, potentially saving time and gaining valuable insights.

It can be daunting learning a completely new tech stack and vocabulary, and there may be a steep learning curve. Embracing new technology and giving permission to play, test, and evolve will not only help developers' personal career goals, but those of their clients and organizations.

Compoze Labs is here to educate and guide organizations as they embark on their Generative AI journey. Get in touch to learn more.