How GitHub Copilot Will Shape The Future of Development

Aida Pandur

We have previously discussed Microsoft Copilot in great detail – it’s a new emerging tool that is bound to make changes within the Microsoft environment by making everyone’s work easier and their important information at their fingertips. There is, however, one more feature that we haven’t covered yet, and while not directly related to the Microsoft environment, it’s still equally important.

In this article, we will examine GitHub Copilot and what it can do for you.

What is GitHub Copilot?

As developers ourselves, we are always looking for ways to streamline what we do, and furthermore automate boring tasks if we need to execute them more than once. The coding experience does consist of a lot of research on top of writing code, which can sometimes be more time consuming than the actual writing part. GitHub Copilot is here to change that.

GitHub Copilot, developed by GitHub in collaboration with OpenAI, is an AI-powered code completion tool built directly into code editors such as Visual Studio or Visual Studio Code. Now here’s the neat part: Copilot assists developers by providing contextual code suggestions as they write. It’s generated on-the-fly based on the developer’s intent and project context! Say goodbye to copy pasting someone else’s solution to your problems.

GitHub Copilot Key Features

  • Natural Language Understanding: GitHub Copilot understands natural language queries and translates them into functional code. The dream! Developers can describe their intentions in plain English, and Copilot generates corresponding code.
  • Contextual Code Suggestions: As we already mentioned, by analysing the surrounding code and project context, Copilot generates relevant code suggestions specific to the developer’s needs. This contextual awareness enables Copilot to offer accurate and appropriate code snippets, making all of us more productive.
  • Code Synthesis: GitHub Copilot can synthesize entire functions, classes, and even complex algorithms based on the provided specifications. From simple utility functions to intricate machine learning models, Copilot generates code on a wide spectrum of complexity, allowing developers to focus on high level requirements, rather than wasting time on details.
  • Language Support: GitHub Copilot supports multiple programming languages, including Python, JavaScript, TypeScript, Ruby, Go, and more. Whether you're building web applications, mobile apps, or machine learning models, Copilot offers language-specific code suggestions.
  • Continuous Learning: GitHub Copilot learns from the collective knowledge embedded within millions of publicly available code repositories on GitHub. As developers interact with Copilot and provide feedback, the system continuously refines its understanding and improves the quality of its code suggestions over time.

GitHub Copilot Implications

There are obviously implications to such a powerful tool gaining traction and becoming mainstream, namely for developers and the industry itself.

We should see an increase in productivity; by automating routine tasks Copilot accelerates the whole process of development. Not to mention not having to look outside your chosen program, rather than spending hours searching for the solution! Who doesn’t want to be more efficient?

It will also become a lot easier to learn to program as Copilot lowers the barrier for beginner programmers. You can get guidance and assistance whilst trying to learn – something that can be very frustrating when you’re just starting out. However, this doesn’t apply to just beginners – developers of all skill levels can tackle more complex projects more easily.

GitHub Copilot also promotes collaboration. No more need for lengthy handovers; Copilot will do its best to explain and summarise the code for you! It can point you in the right direction by sharing best practices, code snippets and even design patterns.

The Future of IT With GitHub Copilot

GitHub Copilot represents a significant leap forward in coding and developer productivity. The age of AI is fast approaching, and it would be wise if we embrace the benefits sooner rather than later – especially if it enables us to be faster, better and more efficient in our work. As for the wider effect it will have on the industry as a whole, that remains to be seen as it’s still relatively new, however we can already tell it will be on a significant scale. We can’t wait to see what’s in store.

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