Generative AI Speeds Up Software Development: Compass UOL Study

New generative artificial intelligence models cut in half the time to complete a typical software project, the first in-depth study in the field shows. In the report, digital services company Compass UOL said it takes professional software developers twice as long to do the same work.

Software projects are organized around use cases explaining how people will interact with a new system to achieve a specific outcome. The Compass UOL study broke down the twelve tasks needed to complete a single use case into five categories: analysis, design, implementation, testing, and deployment.

Compass UOL then asked experienced developers how long it took to perform those tasks in three different periods: before AI, with the AI tools available until 2022, and with new generative AI tools like ChatGPT.

The study shows that, on average, software developers completed these tasks in 78 hours before AI; in 56 hours with the AI used through 2022, and it will soon take them 36 hours with Generative AI—a reduction of 114% in all.

“That is less than half the time that writing software took in 2018, not that long ago,” said Alexis Rockenbach, CEO of Compass UOL. “It will be a huge shift in how we build digital platforms.”

Rockenbach explained that generative AI has helped speed up all software development tasks. Developers are using the new tools to jumpstart the most laborious parts of their work, like writing new code from scratch, and to dramatically shorten rote tasks like monitoring performance after software is deployed.

In the study, deployment of a single use case that took 9 hours will now take 3, developers said.

Even with these gains in efficiency, Rockenbach said that software developers are needed more than ever. He plans to automate the things that take the longest and his team enjoys the least, like writing manuals, and spend their time creating the new applications that their customers need to grow their business.

After years of excess, he said that technology is finally ready for “efficient growth.”

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