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27 October 2023 - 6 minutes

Competition in Web Development: How Has AI Changed it?

Learn how AI is impacting the web development industry and how you can utilize these new systems

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Regardless of how you feel about artificial intelligence, you can’t deny that it’s significantly transformed the web development market. Many in your field have likely integrated AI into their workflows already and while these innovations are impressive, web developers with little to no knowledge of AI might feel overwhelmed. To avoid misconceptions, let’s dive into AI’s impact on web development instead of trusting rumors.

How AI Is Used in Web Development

The AI race introduced the most sophisticated, disruptive large language models (LLMs) and natural language processing (NLP) systems that we know of. They comprehend and mimic human language almost perfectly, allowing you to generate images, write full-length articles, summarize books, and research topics just by inputting prompts.

AI has already impacted various industries and web development is no exception. Many professionals are worried about how more consumers are using AI-driven site builders instead of hiring them. And at this rate, they might end up running out of work.

Although AI presents risks, some of the rumors are baseless and outrageous. And most web developers who believe them merely misunderstand artificial and machine learning models. 

AI won’t replace you, but the competition will leave you behind if you don’t adapt.

Let’s review the ways AI assists professionals and non-professionals in building websites:

Content creation

Sophisticated LLMs like GPT 3.5 and 4, Llama, and BERT can produce a coherent, grammatically correct 1,000-word article in under 20 seconds. They use NLP to understand requests and pull information from their datasets and you could even train them to mimic your preferred tone and writing style by including sample text in your prompt.

That said, proper grammar doesn’t automatically make a good article. It must provide helpful information, capture the reader’s attention, and guide them through different sections; unfortunately, AI chatbots can’t do that yet. They often produce generic content because they’re limited to their datasets—they lack critical thinking and creativity.

Image generation

Text-to-image generators significantly improved during the AI race. Sophisticated models like DALL-E, Muse, Imagen, and Stable Diffusion can produce natural-looking, lifelike images within seconds. 

Their output becomes indistinguishable from human art after a few touch-ups. With basic graphic designing skills, you can quickly correct skewed elements, poor orientation, and unnatural poses, among other errors. Take these AI-generated images of dream homes. At a glance, most would assume they’re regular designs by artists, architects, and designers.

Warning: Only take inspiration from AI art when designing. Copyright laws don’t apply to AI-generated images—you should neither claim ownership of them nor publish them commercially.

Coding and programming

Advanced AI models can write code snippets for websites, apps, and mobile games, among other platforms. They’ll produce code snippets based on your stated elements and you could also refractor and simplify the code snippets that misuse multiple conflicting styles.

Just note that AI only pulls codes from third parties. You’ll often end up with generic codes that have already been used in several templates and layouts.

Data research

AI helps cut your research time. Instead of going through dozens of journals, articles, and news reports individually, use AI chatbots to highlight their focal points. Sophisticated NLP models can analyze, interpret, and paraphrase text. Feed your preferred chatbot a chunk of text, 3,000 words at most, then ask it to organize the most crucial sections in bullet points. 

However, Andrew Pierce, the CEO at LLC Attorney, warns users that AI doesn’t always provide factual information. He says, “Make sure you double-check AI-generated content for inaccuracies before publishing them. AI merely presents information from its datasets. Since it lacks fact-checking processes, you might receive incorrect, misleading, or harmful output at times.”

How AI Is Impacting the Web Development Industry

The proliferation of AI-driven web development tools comes with several positive and negative impacts on the industry. 

AI Is lowering the barriers to entry for web developers

AI lowered the barriers to entry for aspiring web developers. AI can write, refractor, and simplify codes for various online entities, including websites. With correct prompts, even ChatGPT could write an entire site’s code; all users have to do is fine-tune the snippets before launching and hosting their domains.

Although the proliferation of new programmers is exciting, too many newbies neglect proper coding lessons and solely rely on chatbots. AI-generated code is almost always imperfect. Yes, it gives you a decent starting point, but your career will progress further if you actually study programming languages.

Site builders are adopting AI

Almost every site builder uses AI nowadays. They’ve adopted LLMs that automatically generate text, text-to-image generators that help with visuals, and easy-to-use editors. Even newbies with no tech experience can utilize these systems.

It’s great that AI makes site builders more accessible, but developers should also help users understand the limitations of these systems. Otherwise, they’ll carelessly use AI content on their sites.

AI-generated art Is used carelessly

More site owners are relying on AI images nowadays. They use text-to-image generators to create visuals for their websites, articles, emails, social media profiles, and ad campaigns. Using AI images costs far less than hiring graphic designers, after all.

But Javier Muniz, the CTO at LLC Attorney, discourages site owners and web developers from publishing AI images online. He says, “Although you can take inspiration from AI art, publishing them for editorial and commercial purposes might violate certain copyright laws. Again, AI only scrapes elements from its datasets—you can’t claim ownership of its output. If you happen to use AI art that bears semblance to another person’s work, you’d get into legal trouble.”

Generic content floods SERPs

The rise of ChatGPT led to an influx of AI-generated content. Students, content creators, and site owners abuse AI chatbots to generate thousands of words without actually writing anything. Try pasting some articles online onto AI text detectors. You’ll find that many of them are almost entirely written by AI. 

Note: Granted, detectors aren’t always accurate, but they at least do a decent job spotting suspicious content. 

Ryan Hammill, the co-founder and executive director of the Ancient Language Institute, encourages writers to use AI responsibly. He says, “It’s tempting to publish AI content. But considering the low-quality, inaccurate fluff they contain, claiming ownership of them will inadvertently hurt your reputation. You can use AI for fact-checking, proofreading, and editing. However, only publish and submit articles you wrote and researched yourself.”

Web developers are growing anxious

Web developers fear that AI will eventually steal their jobs. No human can compete with the speed at which AI models generate content, code snippets, and images—it’s humanly impossible.

That said, most of these fears stem from misunderstandings. Yes, AI is ridiculously fast, but skilled professionals are more capable of providing custom sites suited to the client’s needs and demands. On the contrary, AI relies on pre-made templates and layouts.

Some professionals resort to low-ball offers

With the accessibility of site builders, many clients feel they can haggle for lower rates with web developers. They’re under the impression that AI can do everything programmers do, hence the discounted fees. 

This misconception couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only does AI scrape content and image elements from third parties, but it lacks the creativity and critical thinking to accomplish complex projects. At best, AI chatbots can only build generic three-page websites.

Anthony Martin, the founder and CEO of Choice Mutual, discourages web developers from engaging with low-balling clients. He says, “Accepting low-ball gigs merely perpetuates lower industry fees. As a skilled, trained professional, you should understand the worth of your services—they’re not something newbies can imitate just by using some AI tool.”

The importance of professional web development is overlooked

Too many people underestimate web development nowadays. Although AI hastens specific processes, automating entire projects will leave you with buggy sites loaded with errors. 

Remember: site building goes beyond creating web pages. You must create engaging copy, create attention-grabbing visuals, organize content properly, and test for malfunctioning code. Otherwise, your site won’t convey your brand’s message to visitors.

Instead of using AI to take shortcuts, learn web development properly. Sign up for intensive bootcamps that’ll equip you with the necessary skills to build, launch, and maintain a professional website.

How Can Web Developers Compete With AI?

Overall, rest assured that AI won’t replace humans entirely. It merely automates rote work—tasks that require critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity will still need skilled professionals. 

What you should worry about, however, are tech-savvy individuals who can already maximize AI’s web development capabilities. AI is evolving at a rapid pace; its impact on the web development industry will only grow, and stubbornly relying on legacy systems might impede your career growth. 

Start testing various AI tools that suit your business model. Research how the purpose, core functions, variations, nuances, and limitations of AI affect web development. Work tools alone won’t produce quality output unless you use them properly.

Also, upskill on online bootcamp sites like Ironhack to learn new web development techniques. Ensure that you can bring out the full potential of your new systems.

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