Main image of article CIOs Discuss the Impact of AI on Technology Jobs

There has been no shortage of predictions in recent years about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on technology jobs, fueling fears about job security and major investments in upskilling initiatives.

But now that 92 percent of developers have started using a variety of AI-powered tools, and we’re starting to see widespread adoption of AI by businesses, a clearer picture of the effect that AI will have on technology jobs and careers is starting to emerge.

To help you manage your career trajectory, we asked CIOs to predict the potential impact from AI and to share their advice for navigating change in a shifting job market.

AI Will Reshape Far More Jobs Than It Eliminates

Rather than replacing all human tech workers, generative AI tools will help most highly skilled workers automate repetitive tasks and reach new levels of efficiency over time. In fact, there’s no need to panic, at least not yet.

For example, Dan Stuart, senior VP and CIO for Southwire Company, says that leveraging AI tools will free up the enterprise project management office (EPMO) to spend more time on high-impact tasks and responsibilities like change management.

Generative AI has the potential to review previous projects and find similar plans that can be adapted for new clients freeing up the money, time and resources, Stuart explained.

To his point, Gartner’s research predicts that 80 percent of project management tasks will be run by AI, powered by Big Data, machine learning (ML) and natural language processing by 2030. Ultimately, AI should be able to predict whether a project will be successful or not from the outset, which would benefit, not eliminate, the need for project managers.

Other roles will be redefined by AI, as well. For instance, software development is already being impacted, noted Jonathan Feldman, CIO for Wake County, N.C.

While AI tools have the potential to revolutionize various aspects of software development, we aren’t there yet, he added.

For instance, Feldman’s team is spending a great deal of time correcting the bugs produced by AI-generated code. “Developers who are smart about their craft, see AI as the assistant that it is,” Feldman said.

Feldman is cautiously optimistic that any gains in efficiency from AI tools or the implementation of self-service chatbots can be leveraged to maintain superior service for members of the local community. “It really depends on the organization’s profit motives,” he conceded.

But if the business or investors see greater profitability by reducing headcount, then some technology jobs will be lost, especially if generative AI becomes smarter and learns how to apply judgement and empathy to decision-making.

“Will that happen and when? We don’t really know,” Feldman said.

AI Will Create Multidimensional Roles and New Organizational Structures

As companies implement AI tools or enter the planning phase, many are shifting their organizational structure to focus more on AI. CIOs also expect AI to create multidimensional roles that will still require mastery of technology but also interpersonal skills.

For example, Stuart foresees the possibility of an AI team tied to a business intelligence (BI) team as machine learning algorithms take over tasks related to data cleaning, mining and analysis.

The integration of AI into BI may create new career fields that you can jump into, Stuart said. Examples include roles focused on data quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC).

Companies could also move away from siloed or segmented BI and analytics teams as AI becomes integrated into processes through business intelligence and data becomes easily accessible by different departments. When that happens, we may see responsibility for data governance assigned to anyone and everyone who consumes data within the organization.

In manufacturing, process engineers are increasingly using AI tools and data analytics on the shop floor to optimize manufacturing processes, ensure on time deliveries and so forth.

It depends on the industry you’re in, but you should assume that your  job will become more multidimensional and prepare by adding complementary hard and soft skills that will allow you to carry out broader responsibilities in areas regarding data analysis, decision making in gray areas, communication with stakeholders, and so on.

3 Ways to Keep Your Career Moving Forward

Given what CIOs know (and don’t know) about the impact of AI, how can you keep your career moving forward?

Get Involved

Anticipate the impact on your career by staying abreast of your company’s plans to implement AI and the changes that are coming.

For instance, if your company has established an AI/ML advisory council or an AI governance and ethics committee, volunteer to be a representative or monitor their activities, Stuart advised. Or volunteer to be part of a pilot project or head one up.

Embracing AI-powered tools and processes requires a cultural shift and change management strategies. Figure out how you can help your organization get there, he suggests.

Learn As Much as You Can as Fast as You Can

Focus on improving your soft skills, especially in areas where AI has limitations such as creativity, emotional intelligence, judgment, common sense, stakeholder management and communication, relationship building and contextual understanding.

“There will be more opportunities to move up the ladder, if you have the ability to lead and succeed in gray areas,” Feldman said.

Be Open to New Opportunities

AI will be taking away some technology jobs, but it will also create new fields of work and lead to expansion in others such as cybersecurity, data science and engineering. In fact, in a recent report, nearly three-quarters of surveyed executives said the pace of technological change surpassed their company’s capacity to incorporate it into operations.

The more open you are to embracing new skills and emerging career opportunities, the better your job security as AI continues to advance.