Why Skills and Culture Matter Most in the Age of AI

Discover AI's impact on software developers' skills, vision, and culture. With the right environment, teams can partner with AI to innovate the culture.

Andrea Jonker
June 21, 2023
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As artificial intelligence increasingly takes on mundane technical tasks, the success of software development teams will depend on complex skills and a culture of collaboration, not just tools. Leveraging AI to develop solutions with meaningful impact requires human judgment, creativity, problem-solving, communication, and customer insight. By focusing on skills and environments, teams can create a vision for AI-powered progress instead of fearing disruption. Concentrating on what technology cannot replace ensures that development remains human-centered and forward-looking.

Invest in Skills

For software developers to thrive with AI, they need to strengthen skills that AI itself does not possess. Critical thinking, interpersonal communication, creative thinking, and emotional intelligence are essential for AI innovation. Teams should provide ongoing training in these areas to expand the possibilities of collaboration and the design of customer experiences with the help of AI. Software developers also have a retraining program to become dedicated “AI engineers” who can use and integrate AI to ensure that the technical expertise critical to AI success remains within the organization as tools change. However, most early adopters face an AI skills gap and are looking for expertise to boost their capabilities. In fact, 68% of executives surveyed report a moderate-to-extreme skills gap, and more than a quarter (27%) rate their skills gap as “major” or “extreme.” The gap is evident across all countries surveyed, ranging from 51 percent reporting moderate-to-extreme gaps in China to 73 percent reporting the same in the United Kingdom. 

Build a Collaborative Culture

Development teams that want to compete with AI must create an environment that fosters innovation. An open and collaborative culture with diverse perspectives fosters creativity. Cross-functional collaboration allows for the combination of domain knowledge, technical skills, customer insights, and design know-how necessary to develop solutions that fully exploit the potential of AI. Teams should foster collaboration through shared workspaces, integrated workflows, rewards for collaboration, and leadership that fosters interdependence between groups. Agile approaches, where software developers regularly work in integrated teams with data scientists, UX designers, and business analysts, generate new ideas at the intersection of disciplines. 

Attracting Top Talent

Attracting and retaining top AI talent is a major challenge in a highly competitive AI environment. Executives revealed a strong inclination to bring in new talent to plug the gap. In fact, leaders are 3.1 times more likely to prefer replacing employees with new AI-ready talent than keeping and retraining their existing workforce. Offering competitive compensation packages and career advancement opportunities is key. Additionally, companies must create an environment that fosters innovation, provides access to cutting-edge technology, and supports a healthy work-life balance. To further illustrate the point, trends on job search sites indicate strong demand for AI talent. A LinkedIn search for AI-based jobs yields more than 64,000 US openings and over 230,000 worldwide openings. 

Encourage Continuous Learning

Staying ahead of trends in what companies can achieve with AI and the new tools and technologies that emerge will drive continued progress. But for software developers, learning technical skills is not enough. Your team should be interested in the latest applications of AI to customer experience, business operations, product development, security, and IT infrastructure. By regularly addressing innovative use cases, there is still potential for software developers to achieve with the help of AI. Continuous learning also helps identify challenges to prepare for and experts the leadership team wants to follow. 

Define Your Vision and Values

AI increases productivity and opens up new possibilities, but its impact depends entirely on how teams use it. Leaders need to define a vision of how AI will drive business goals and enable software developers to do interesting and meaningful work. We need to establish values ​​that guide the use of AI and incorporate practices of transparency, accountability, privacy, security, and ethics. A clear, purposeful, and principled approach is key to building trust and ensuring long-term, human-centered progress with AI. Vision empowers AI to become sustainable. 

With a constant focus on skills, learning, collaboration, and vision, software development teams can create a culture where AI accelerates innovation, not destroys it. The future of work will depend on people whose judgment, creativity, empathy, and ethics cannot be matched by technology alone. But by creating environments for human-machine partnerships, developers are opening up new ways for the two to enrich each other. Success depends more on the heart, values, and integrity of the team that chooses to lead than on the AI ​​itself. Because purposeful progress, skills, and culture are the starting points for the future of AI. The vision starts with what we build within ourselves, and then we get the technology.

As seen on FOX, Digital journal, NCN, Market Watch, Bezinga and more

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