Software engineers must embrace generative AI or risk job progression, Gartner says

Brain hovering above a chip on a motherboard, denoting AI and hardware
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Enterprises are expected to require increased understanding and oversight of generative AI tools among software engineering leaders in the coming years, according to research from Gartner. 

By 2025, the consultancy predicts that “more than half” of all software engineering leader role descriptions will include explicit requirements for oversight of generative AI as firms increase their use of the burgeoning technology. 

Gartner said the study highlights both the increased adoption of tools among enterprises as well as the evolving requirements of senior practitioners in effectively harnessing generative AI to deliver value. 

Haritha Khandabattu, senior director analyst at Gartner, noted that the emergence of generative AI will have a profound effect on future managerial role requirements. 

“Outside of generative AI’s impact on technology implementation, it also changes the managerial responsibilities of software engineering leaders,” he said. 

In the long term, the consultancy said firms will expect software engineering leaders to consider a range of variables when deploying and effectively harnessing generative AI. 

This includes more finely curated team management based on relevant skills, as well as an innate understanding of the ethical considerations of using generative AI tools. 

Gartner said that software engineering leaders (SWELs) “should be cautious” when using generative AI technology, and suggested that senior practitioners should become more deeply involved in developing and fine-tuning ethical guidelines at their respective firms. 

“SWELs must work with, or form, an AI ethics committee to create policy guidelines that help teams responsibly use generative AI tools for design and development,” Gartner said. 


What does ChatGPT mean for business?

(Image credit: IBM)

Driving disruptive value with Generative AI

Discover how your business can responsibly leverage generative AI solutions at scale.


“SWELs play a key role in identifying and helping to mitigate the ethical risks of any generative AI products that are developed in-house or purchased from third-party vendors.”

With an increase in businesses considering the adoption of generative AI, Gartner said software engineering leaders will be forced to showcase the value proposition of tools to senior executives too.

This will require senior practitioners to “build a compelling business case for ongoing investment in their teams” and will necessitate more up-front and candid communication with teams over the potential implications of adoption. 

With this in mind, leaders must be “transparent with their teams” and focus conversations on how generative AI will enhance developer productivity, rather than how it could potentially replace staff or render positions obsolete.

“Generative AI will not replace developers in the near future,” said Khandabattu. “While it has the ability to automate certain aspects of software engineering, it cannot replicate the creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities that humans possess.

“Leaders should reinforce the value of their teams by demonstrating how generative AI is a force multiplier that can enhance efficiency.”

Long-term, Khandabattu warned that leaders who fail to adapt to these changing requirements could find themselves losing out on senior positions.

“Software engineering leaders will find themselves at a significant disadvantage if they do not recognize and adapt to these changes – facing the risk of being replaced by those who embrace this disruptive technology.”

Ross Kelly
News and Analysis Editor

Ross Kelly is ITPro's News & Analysis Editor, responsible for leading the brand's news output and in-depth reporting on the latest stories from across the business technology landscape. Ross was previously a Staff Writer, during which time he developed a keen interest in cyber security, business leadership, and emerging technologies.

He graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in 2016 with a BA (Hons) in Journalism, and joined ITPro in 2022 after four years working in technology conference research.

For news pitches, you can contact Ross at, or on Twitter and LinkedIn.