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Do you need a Master’s Degree in Computer Science if ChatGPT can “do it all?”

April 18, 2023

Paulo Fernandes, Program Director for the online MS in Computer Science at Merrimack College explains why we still need good software developers despite software like ChatGPT rising in popularity. 

What is ChatGPT and How Does it Work?

ChatGPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer. Most smartphones have similar software in their messaging platforms and will suggest the next word or phrase based on your previous text, often called predictive text.

“ChatGPT is doing this in a much better way on a much, much, larger scale,”  says Dr. Fernandes,  “so as people log on and feed it information, and the creators continually feed it new findings, the smarter and more accurate the responses will be.”

Dr. Fernandes warns, “ChatGPT may have some very gross mistakes, however, as it does not reason as humans do.” ChatGPT only knows what it has been fed for information so if any of that is incorrect you run the risk of it producing incorrect answers and solutions to issues and questions you present it. 

Is ChatGPT a threat to Software Developers?

While ChatGPT isn’t going away anytime soon, skilled developers will always be in demand. ChatCPT is good at generating code that is commonplace and widely available on the internet. To the novice, ChatGPT will look very intelligent, however, more complex and nuanced code will often be fraught with errors only a trained software developer will see and know how to fix. 

ChatGPT is not human and cannot understand the emotional or practical needs of humans, nor understand what it generates may be inaccurate. “ChatGPT is only a threat when you do not need to be exact, but for exact solutions and information that is not widely available, ChatGPT will not be able to help,” explains Dr. Fernandes. “Only a skilled coder can create nuanced code that understands the complexities of our world.”

ChatGPT Can Save Skilled Coders Time

ChatGPT has value for Software Developers as a starting point or first draft for code. Coders can optimize their workflow and save time and effort by avoiding everyday tasks. Increased productivity could mean more time spent on feature development and quicker releases for companies across all industries.

Dr. Fernandes explains that he even uses ChatGPT to draft well-known code for his lessons in class as a starting point, ultimately saving him time. “However, it is important to keep in mind, that no automated code can be used without proper verification of its accuracy,” cautions Dr. Fernandes.

Become a Skilled Software Developer with an MS in Computer Science, Software Engineering Concentration

The online MS in Computer Science, Software Engineering Concentration degree program at Merrimack College is your path to a career in computer science, software design, and development. The 100% online program teaches students how to deploy efficient, maintainable, and expandable object-oriented software applications. Tuition is less than $20,000 and can be completed in one as little as one year, studying part-time.

Take your mathematical aptitude and interest in computer programming to the next level with Merrimack College’s innovative MS in Computer Science, Software Engineering concentration degree program.