Pair Programming with Artificial Intelligence 

Aug 1, 2023 | Automation, Camunda, Development

Companies that need to accelerate their digital transformation are always looking for ways to make this process even faster. There is no time to waste; every delay in launching a product or solving an urgent problem might result in significant losses of business opportunities and money

One of the biggest challenges is building digital solutions faster without losing quality. For this, a widely used alternative is the pair programming model instead of the traditional software development method. 

Pair programming means two people working together on the same code–but it can also consist of a developer working in pairs with an artificial intelligence tool. This article explores why companies are using this approach. The remaining questions are: Is investing in this model better than the conventional method? What are the advantages? What is the potential of this way of working? 

What is Pair Programming? 

Pair programming, as already mentioned, is a software development practice in which two people work together on a task or project. In this approach, one of the developers is the “driver,” while the other assumes the role of “observer” or “navigator.” 

One of the developers is responsible for coding. Meanwhile, the observer/navigator focuses on continuously reviewing the code, discussing solutions, and maintaining a broader view of the project. Roles can be rotated regularly to promote collaboration and mutual involvement

It is important to remember that pair programming is not something new–many years ago, several methodologies already predicted this model, and its efficiency has already been proven in the market. The issue is that this practice has always been considered an expensive investment; after all, the organizations needed to pay two developers to work on one code. The ROI tended to be high due to the quality obtained, but the fear about the cost of initiatives like this was always difficult to overcome. Today, however, pair programming can consist of a developer working together with artificial intelligence; that is: you have the efficiency and quality of pair programming with a minimized impact on costs, given the recent popularization of AI technologies. 

Pair Programming with Artificial Intelligence 

As we understand the real power of artificial intelligence, well-justified concerns arise about how they will fit into our lives, especially our work. All it takes is a quick search to find articles, videos, and insights on if, when, and how AI will take people’s jobs and which ones are most at risk right now. 

But in this dense fog, co-programming code with AI can mean a bright beacon on the horizon of possibilities, giving a glimpse of the future of collaboration between humans and artificial intelligence. One is not replacing the other; people and AI work together to accelerate results

In addition to improving code quality by applying pair programming with artificial intelligence, the efficiency gain is noticeable throughout the project. A study by GitHub Copilot (an artificial intelligence tool developed by GitHub in conjunction with OpenAI) took 95 developers and randomly divided them into two groups, timed against how long it took them to write an HTTP server in JavaScript. One group used GitHub Copilot to complete the task, the other did not. All developers were already familiar with JavaScript and received the same instructions. The image below illustrates the results. 

Study by GitHub Copilot - Pair Programming

The group that used the AI tool took one hour and eleven minutes to complete the task, while the other team took two hours and forty-one minutes. Of course, here we are only evaluating the development time factor, but there are several other advantages that we will discuss in this article. It is worth noting that these benefits are not limited to GitHub Copilot alone, but other artificial intelligence tools can be used. See some benefits below. 

Process Automation by NTConsult

Advantages of Pair Programming with Artificial Intelligence Tools 

Pair programming with AI is most commonly used when improving code quality and shortening development time are priorities. Below, we separate some of the advantages of using pair programming with artificial intelligence tools: 

1. Code Quality Improvement 

The collaborative effort between developers and AI increases the likelihood of identifying and fixing errors, bugs, and vulnerabilities in code. Artificial intelligence tools provide automated analysis, helping to detect potential problems. As a result, code quality is significantly improved, providing a more reliable and robust system

2. More Speed in Development and Reduction of Rework 

Early identification of errors and real-time collaboration when pairing programming with AI help shorten development time and reduce the need for rework. This can result in significant savings in hours and resources. That is, you can accelerate the launch of your software/product and still save money in this process

3. Continuous Learning 

Pair programming with AI makes it easy for people to share knowledge and experience. The combination of artificial intelligence can provide automated suggestions, code analysis, and access to best practices, promoting a continuous learning environment for the team.

4. Increased Efficiency and Productivity 

Artificial intelligence tools contribute to efficiency, automating specific tasks, providing code suggestions, and assisting in the search for solutions to specific problems. As we know, much of the time spent on software development is mainly due to the issues that arise suddenly and are difficult to solve, which leads to a long series of searches for solutions. By implementing AI, this type of challenge tends to be overcome quickly. The result is that development becomes more agile and cost-effective overall

5. Improved Code Maintenance  

Identifying bugs early in the development process reduces the likelihood of finding bugs in later stages. By adopting pair programming with artificial intelligence tools, organizations can minimize the software maintenance effort and costs associated with fixing problems in the production environment. This leads to improved code maintainability and reduces the risk of critical failures. 

6. Effective Collaboration and Communication 

Pair programming promotes close collaboration and active communication between developers. The presence of AI tools adds an additional layer of support and feedback during collaboration. This results in a more collaborative work environment where developers can share knowledge, ideas, and solutions effectively and without bureaucracy

Conclusion: Is it worth it?

It is no coincidence that investments in artificial intelligence have only increased in recent years. Pair programming with AI is very worthwhile, as it brings benefits such as improved code quality, increased productivity, continuous learning, early error detection, reduced rework, and effective collaboration, among many others. These combined advantages can lead to greater efficiency in software development, faster deliveries, and higher-end product quality

Choose the right IT partner for your business 

At NTConsult, we build and engage teams of seasoned IT professionals in various technologies, knowledgeable about different artificial intelligence tools and able to use them in pair programming to accelerate our clients’ results

We have been in the industry for 20 years, working with the allocation and engagement of teams of IT professionals who are experts in software development and hyperautomation (process automation, AI, RPA, and process mining). Our experience encompasses the most varied industries, such as financial and banking, media and communication, health, industrial sector, and insurance companies, among many others. 

Contact us today and learn how we can help your company take the next step in digital transformation toward your business goals

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Author: Philippe Alencar

About: copywriter and marketing analyst, graduated in Business Administration with specializations in Marketing and IT Governance, has been working in the digital solutions market for the last 11 years.

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