How To Not Get Replaced By AI

Non-tech Skills every developer should learn


4/1/20244 min read

With the rise of AI tools such as Devin, branded as 'The first AI Software Engineer', many developers fear being replaced by AI 🤖.

So how do you become so great that you can’t be replaced by AI?🤔

If I were to ask you what makes a fantastic programmer, you may say something along the lines of; writing clean and efficient code, solving complex problems, learning new technology quickly, adapting easily, creating scalable and maintainable systems etc.

This is what I initially thought too however, when reading the book "Happy Sexy Millionaire", authored by Steven Barlette, I stumbled upon a chapter that revealed what achieving greatness really involves. The chapter titled "How to Become the Best in the World" explained that to excel, you don’t necessarily need to outpace competitors in traditional metrics (like the ones listed above). The key lies in cultivating a blend of skills that not only set you apart but also render the competition irrelevant. These range of these skills, often referred to as a "skill stack," should complement each other whilst being diverse enough to give you a unique advantage.

Let’s look at Steve Jobs for example. Although Jobs did not have a formal software engineering or CS education, he learnt through self-directed learning and networking. He explored elements of technology which interested him and ultimately, married this with his love for design and a desire to foster innovation. This allowed Apple to create its own lane within the tech industry 🛣️.

So what are some skills you should be looking to adopt to make you irreplaceable by AI?

  1. Creativity: Developers, more often than not, are told what to build and how to build things too. This can lead to atrophy of their creative muscles. One of my favourite things about programming is that you can build almost anything you can think of. But what happens when you can’t think of what to build? Exercising creativity is a must 🎨. Start by identifying everyday challenges you, or an underrepresented community face and brainstorming solutions. Engage in discussions with everyday people to see what they struggle with. Listen to podcasts and interviews with tech founders and understand their journey from beginning to end. Then start building and keep at it.

  2. Speaking: There is a stereotype that developers are geeky, awkward, and introverted people. While I don’t 100% agree with this, compared to my time as a Pharmacist, I have noticed that there are fewer opportunities to exercise speaking, building rapport and storytelling. That’s why I believe that strengthening your verbal delivery can give you a unique advantage. Pick a subject that you are passionate about, or a personal story. Create a speech and perform it. Start with things like webinars (these can be less daunting). Then move on to in-person public speaking. You can join Toastmasters. They are geared to improving people's public speaking abilities and have groups in most cities (including mine which I was surprised to find). You can search on to check your area.

  3. Teaching: People selling online courses are making hundreds and thousands of dollars a month. In fact, with the right marketing, profits can be uncapped. Technology is a growing field. More people want to understand it, more people want to learn it. Being able to share your knowledge and break down these complex concepts into digestible pieces of information will set you apart. How do you get better at teaching?

    1. Make sure you actually know the topic well.

    2. Remove all the jargon and teach in a way that a 10-year-old would understand.

    3. Something that a lot of developers fail at - do not teach to demonstrate your fantastic knowledge, teach so that whatever you communicate is understandable.

    4. Practice and get feedback (Code First Girls are always looking for coding instructors so volunteering here may be a great start!).

  4. Selling/Marketing: What good is building an amazing product if you can’t convince people to buy/use it. Effective marketing and selling is everything in the modern world and is key in the tech world too. Learn the art of selling and marketing to ensure your creations reach their intended audience. You can learn this on Skillshare, YouTube etc

  5. Design: Design plays a big role in human perception and interaction. We are more likely to favour things which are aesthetically pleasing. From our previous example with Steve Jobs, blending an eye for design with technical knowledge can birth innovative solutions. Explore areas like typography, colour theory and visual hierarchy. Understand the psychology which underpins design.

In conclusion, true success isn't about fitting into pre-existing moulds but rather about creating your path—one that is as unique and extraordinary as you are.

Pick additional skills that complement your strengths, so that you not only become the best in your field but also carve a niche that is distinctly yours.

Next steps for you:

  • Choose one skill, either from the list or another you have a particular interest in.

  • Search for a podcast channel, book, skill share course or YouTube channel that provides education on this area.

  • Dedicate 30mins every other day towards developing this skill.

Email me here: to let me know how it's going.

If you enjoyed this post, here are some other posts you might like:

  1. Where Self-Taught Developers Miss The Mark

  2. 8 Goals You Should Be Setting As A Developer

  3. 6 Quick Tips To Help You Learn How To Code

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Until next time,