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Generative AI (gen AI) is having a surprising impact on the IT community by democratizing data science and management functions. Instead of creating a boom in data science, gen AI is simplifying tasks such as data labeling and analysis, allowing average workers and executives to access and analyze data without the need for data scientists. This democratization of data science is shifting the function out into the business, reducing the need for large data science teams and potentially leading to a decrease in the demand for data science skills and a drop in compensation in the future.

Gen AI is also creating a new job category called prompt engineering, drawing on similar skills as data science and providing a career path for those with data science training. While disrupting existing roles and careers, gen AI is creating new opportunities in prompt engineering and other emerging fields. In coding development, specialized gen AI tools are enhancing the productivity of programming and engineering teams by automating tasks such as writing code, testing, and debugging. However, higher-level skills in architecture and design will still be needed and likely increase in demand.

There is a debate surrounding whether companies will need fewer engineers as gen AI matures and is adopted. Some argue that with increased productivity, fewer engineers will be needed, potentially leading to a surplus of skilled labor, lower wages, and fewer job opportunities. On the other hand, others believe that the demand for programming and engineering will increase as the cost of engineering drops, resulting in rising wages and an expansion of the market. History suggests that as technology becomes more accessible and cheaper, companies will invest more in technology, increasing the need for programming and engineering talent.

The impact on consulting, Systems Integration, and outsourcing firms may be more nuanced, as the lowered cost of engineering could disrupt their existing models and pricing structures. Managed services may need to be reestablished, and companies may consolidate workloads to fewer service providers. Despite these challenges, the likely increase in demand for information technology is expected to offset these headwinds, creating new opportunities for more lucrative services and business models. As gen AI continues to evolve and be adopted across industries, the IT community will need to adapt to the changing landscape and opportunities presented by this innovative technology.

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