- Despite robust enthusiasm for AI’s potential in software development, the technology’s impact has been relatively minimal thus far, according to Google Cloud’s State of DevOps 2023 report, published Thursday. The hyperscaler’s DevOps Research and Assessment team surveyed nearly 3,000 software professionals.
- While AI reduced burnout and improved job satisfaction slightly, respondents reported neutral or moderately negative effects on team and software delivery performance, the 95-page report found.
- “Some analysts and technologists hypothesize that AI will make software teams more performant without negatively affecting professional well-being,” the report said. “So far our survey evidence doesn’t support this.”
As generative AI tool proliferation and iteration mounts in cloud, coding assistants have emerged as one of the more promising use cases.
Coding assistance is a logical application of the technology.
Developers and engineers are apt to have a higher baseline of technical knowledge than many others in the workforce, and understanding the underlying technology may translate to initial ease and competence with generative AI tools.
Also, coding is language, the domain of LLM technologies.
But despite the potential, adoption has lagged, according to a recent GitLab survey, even as the technology’s performance improves.
The mixed results in Google Cloud's report may be a result of early adoption hesitancy.
“Likely, some large enterprises are testing different AI-powered tools on a trial basis before making a decision about whether to use them broadly,” the report said.
There are lessons about enterprise innovation to be learned from cloud. Adoption typically progresses in phases, as teams integrate emergent tools and organizational culture aligns with the technology.
In software development, realigning workflows to get the most from cloud remains a work in progress. Merely “using cloud,” Google found, has either neutral or negative effects on software delivery and operational performance.
“This neutral-to-negative impact is likely the result of practitioners who have taken their first step on their cloud journey and are now faced with working in a new environment, working with new tools and doing some things differently,” the report said.
Cloud, however, had broad benefits for employees, boosting both job satisfaction and productivity.
The report’s authors hypothesize that engineers enjoy the challenges inherent in adopting new technologies. That may bode well for coding assistants.