Will Web Development Become Obsolete?
The answer to the question – will web development become obsolete? – is NO. That is even if we live in an age of marvelous technological innovations and advancement where codes can be written for you by a program.
Nowadays, you don’t even need coding to build a website. And artificial intelligence can create a website for you based on your specs and inputs. Automation can do all the heavy lifting so that all you need to do is give directions.
In that case, will web developers and web designers be eventually replaced? Will web development be a thing of the past? Have we gotten to the point where human thinking, touch, and intervention are no longer required? We reiterate our negative response to all these questions. Read on to find out why.
Will Web Development Become Obsolete?
What is Web Development?
Before we dive head-on, let’s review what web development is. Essentially, it involves building and implementing websites, interactive web interfaces, web applications, and application databases. It is heavily relied on for the creation of websites, especially in the crucial phases of design and construction.
The words “design” and “construction” conjure images of an architect and engineer, which are personified in our case by the web designer and the web developer. The designer usually takes care of the frontend development of a website such as its design, features, and functionalities. These are the “client-side” or what people see when they visit your website.
What people don’t see is the backend development which is technically termed the “server-side.” That is the purview of web developers, ensuring that the right information and data gets to the user. Without a backend, a website can be compared to a body devoid of a brain. In other words, it won’t function.
Often, because of closely related responsibilities a web developer may also be a web designer and vice versa. However, designing and developing are different disciplines that are done by separate individuals in a team which may include software developers and other IT professionals.
Since they make sure that site elements and features are operational and work accordingly, web developers take on expansive technical responsibilities that include the following:
- Write, test, and optimize codes that power and run website components.
- Create site layout and user interface (normally through HTML/CSS).
- Monitor, manage, and enhance website performance.
- Build, maintain, and manage software documentation.
- Integrate and harmonize data from various databases and backend services.
- Collect and filter requirements and specs according to technical needs.
- Scale, modify, or expand the site or any part of it when required.
- Stay updated with industry advancements and emerging tech and apply these to improve website operations.
- Work with web designers and content specialists to ensure that everyone involved with the website is on the same page.
Web development will involve all of the above and even more such as building web apps for human communication, transportation, business, finance, healthcare, entertainment, etc. These programs, software, and applications – modern manifestations of technology – essentially drive the world we are in.
With so many things we’ve just itemized, we return to the query – will web development become obsolete? You’ll be tempted to say no just like our answer from the start. Below, we’ll present industry particulars and material facts to support our position that web development won’t share the fate of prehistoric creatures.
Why Web Development Won’t Go the Way of the Dinosaurs
There are five areas that back up our assertion that web development won’t go extinct. Let’s check out each of them.
1. Demand for Web Developers is Up
There is a demand for web developers and digital designers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected job outlook for the decade 2020 to 2030 is 13% which is faster than the industry average. That translates to about 25,500 web developer jobs to fill in the demand.
The projected job outlook could have been higher. Industry analysts observed that web developer jobs were affected by the continuing transformative advancements in technology. Now we have no-code platforms, DIY website builders, AI, machine learning, and other tech that lessened the need for web developers.
In spite of the above, the general requirement for humans to take on the job and do the work is much recognized as evidenced by the favorable employment forecast. After all, just like it requires trained humans to take off and land an airplane, not every process and task in web development can be put on autopilot.
2. Not Everything Can Be Automated
Automation is being employed in certain tasks where there are pre-determined processes or outcomes, like in an assembly line or a flight path.
In our example of an airplane in the preceding section, autopilot is actually engaged for 90% of a typical commercial flight. This is made possible because crucial parameters have been preset and the route has already been preplanned and fed into onboard navigational computers.
Unpiloted takeoff and landing are already being done by military drones. However, for passenger planes, taking off and landing are still best left in the hands of skilled, qualified pilots who have logged hours of flight simulation before they ever stepped inside a real cockpit.
The same can be said of web development and design. Yes, a website can now be created by a machine which seems to be a trend nowadays with website builders. You simply input your preferences like the type of business or profession, industry niche, theme design (minimalist, modern, etc.) and the AI will come out with a matching website for you.
Some AI-powered website builders that have gained popularity include:
- Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence)
- Bookmark AiDa
- JimDo Dolphin
- 10Web AI Builder
- B12 Orchestra
AI website builder platforms make things drastically easier for businesses and developers alike. Smart processes and a huge database of knowledge make website building quick and efficient.
But a common shortcoming has been observed – websites lack a persona. Could it be because they were made without human touch or artistic flair? Wouldn’t you want to do certain aspects of website building and not leave it all to automation? In fact, should some things not be automated at all?
An article at checkbox.ai contends that “not everything that can be automated should be automated.” It cites four key factors that must be assessed to see if automation is right for your situation:
- Frequency. How frequent is a task completed and how long does it take each time? Is it worth the money spent on automating the task?
- Talent. Consider the human capital or level of talent that will be involved in the activity. Will it save everyone’s time down the line?
- User feedback. What are people – the users, teams, stakeholders, and others – saying? Is automation beneficial enough to be part of processes?
- Prioritization. The different levels of impact and results on people and businesses uphold the view that not all things that can be done by machines, should be left to machines.
AI has not yet come to the point where it can substitute human creativity and intelligence. The truth is it can’t. We’ll tell you why.
3. AI Won’t Replace Humans
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a monthly labor review and for July 2022 came up with a report on growth trends of certain occupations deemed at risk from automation. Covering the period from 1999 to 2029, the jobs considered high risks and classified as potential AI-affected occupations include the following:
- Personal financial advisors
- Interpreters and translators
- Surgeons (except ophthalmologists)
- Fast food and counter workers
- Janitors and cleaners
- Maids and housekeeping cleaners
- Landscaping and groundskeeping workers
- Heavy and tractor-trailer drivers
- Industrial truck and tractor operators
- Freight, stock, and material moving laborers
Those classified as jobs with pre-AI potential effects are as follows:
- Loan officers
- Tax preparers
- Computer programmers
- Legal assistants
- Reporters and journalists
- Public relations specialists
- Immediate supervisors of retail sales workers
- Counter and rental clerks
- Retails salespersons
- Customer service reps
- Stockers and order fillers
- Reservation/transportation ticket agents
- Farm workers/agricultural equipment operators
What is it trying to show? It’s the reality that some occupations or tasks can be automated for better, more efficient, and productive results. Businesses and companies will always look to streamline work, reduce cost, improve productivity, and maximize efficiency.
So what’s the point of our section title? Yes, AI can’t replace humans, but they can take over jobs like those we’ve listed above. Automation and industrial machines came about because of the need to augment the cognitive and physical abilities of humans.
While some jobs will eventually disappear, others that are AI-specific will be created. In fact, it has been projected that within the decade, there could be as many as 230,000 AI-related jobs around the globe. Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum 2020 Report on the future of jobs foresees that there could be 97 million new jobs and roles resulting from AI disruption by 2025
On another front, humans are still needed in many jobs that require clear communication, personal care and empathy, negotiation and strategy, creative solutions, management and organization, leadership, and emotional connectivity, among others. Thus, AI and machines will be poor substitutes, if ever, for the following:
- Managers and CEOs
- Psychiatrists and Psychologists
- Spiritual Advisers
- Graphic Designers
- Software Developers
The bottom line is that AI will redefine and optimize jobs, not replace humans. People will simply refocus their skills to fill in AI-created jobs. In the meantime, software and web developers will be secure in their niche even as the world transitions to automation.
4. UX/UI Can’t Be Replicated
AI cannot reproduce, copy, or program user experience and user interaction. UX and UI are very personal and subjective activities that are results of how a web developer built and designed a website.
Web developers, especially UX/UI designers, make sure that a website’s design and features can provide the best experience to users and visitors. For that matter, user experience is an important aspect of establishing a credible online reputation.
No one will care to visit your website again if all they remember is how sluggish the pages loaded, how hard it was to find key information, how challenging it was to navigate, and how cluttered it looks, to name a few not-so-encouraging experiences.
There are ways to measure and determine if your UX is effective. Among these are:
- Bounce rate. How many visitors went to your website and left immediately without doing desired actions?
- Page views. Is your website having more visitor page views and are they spending more time spent on the website? If they are, it means your website is optimized to provide a better experience.
- Visitor interaction analysis. Test and examine how visitors interact with your website’s elements like forms, deals, CTAs, etc.
- User feedback. Through a poll or survey on your site, ask your visitors how they feel navigating and exploring your website.
- Site performance. Look at where your visitors went on your website – what items did they click, what content did they look up, what info did they read, etc.
The above and other metrics are vital to knowing if your UX/UI is working or needs tweaking. Keep in mind that the benefits of a good UX/UI are tremendous. Here are some of them:
- A well-designed UI could increase your website’s conversion rate by up to 200% and better designed ones by up to 400%.
- 23% of customers who got a positive experience from your website told 10 or more people about it.
- Eight out of 10 customers are willing to pay more for a better online customer experience.
- A website’s credibility is judged 75% on its overall aesthetics.
The task of UX/UI is best handled by an experienced and proficient web developer if you want optimal ROI for your website. Again, the human touch and thinking will come into play as they should in these instances.
5. Still Evolving to Master AI
In the evolution of humans, it is said that Human 1.0 came about 100,000 years ago after discovering and mastering fire. Some 23,000 years ago, Human 2.0 emerged after mastering agriculture. We are in a transition phase to Human 3.0 where we’ll be able to master artificial intelligence.
AI and machines will not supersede humans like Skynet in the Terminator movies or as Replicants in Blade Runner. No, they will be there as assistive or disruptive technologies with the goal of improving human conditions.
Web development will ride on the new technologies introduced and web developers will still do code to create fully interactive AI-driven websites, design super software, and help build programmable mega machines.
But these are years ahead, although futurists insist we are experiencing these right now and are much nearer to Human 3.0 than we care to admit. Technological maturity will eventually arrive and web development will be there to make it happen.
Obsolescence Is Out of the Picture
The unabated and inevitable advance of technology may see some web development tools, frameworks, and programming languages decline over time. They will eventually be replaced by newer technologies and applications conducive to the needs of a smarter generation and a connected environment.
But the web developer will stay and the task of web development will continue. They will not be substituted by machines and programs that can concoct artwork, compose music, craft code, or create websites. So far, the level of human thinking, decision-making, and creativity has only been approximated and not yet fully duplicated.