Is AI affecting the programmer job market?

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Sydney Developers Meetup. I wanted to meet up with other programmers in Sydney and get more involved with the Sydney technology scene. Having been in the UK for so long, I feel like I am really out of touch with what is going on in Australia.

It was a nice meetup. There were between 20 and 30 developers sitting at a long table in a pub in Newtown, talking technology.

One of the things that shocked me though, was how many of the developers were currently unemployed. It could have been sampling bias, in that people that aren’t working are more likely to be networking. I have heard from other people that the employment market for technology workers is very slow at the moment. I’m not entirely sure why.

It may be due to the high interest rates at the moment. Potentially companies have higher costs of funds, and so are down-sizing their employees to keep a war chest for interest payments.

It may be that this is a bounce-back from how resilient the technology sector was during the pandemic. As the broader economy slows due to the cost of living crisis, the technology sector is shrinking.

It may also be due to AI. Programmers are much more productive using AI, so potentially you can get by using fewer of them.

Whatever is causing it, it is an interesting situation at the moment. I do believe that we as programmers will get way more productive due to AI. I also think that there are enormous opportunities for coders and technology firms as well. It seems to me that the need for good programmers will only increase for the foreseeable future.