With the rise of AI, LLMs, ChatGPT and more, a new skill has risen. The skill involves knowing how to construct prompts for the AI software in such a way that you get an optimal result. This has led to a number of people to start saying things like this: prompt engineers is the next big job. I am here to say this is wrong. Let me explain.
I was heavily into AI in the late 20th century, just before the last AI winter. One of the hot jobs at that time was going to be knowledge engineer (KE). A big part of AI then was the development of expert systems, and the job of the KE was to take the the expertise of someone and translate it into rules that the expert system could use to make decisions. Among other things, part of my role was to be a KE.
So what happened? Well, first off, AI winter happened. People stopped developing expert systems and went and took on other roles. Ironically, rules engines (essentially expert systems) did come back, but all the hype surrounding them was gone, and the role of KE was gone too. It wasn’t needed. A business analyst can just as easily determine what the rules are and then have a technical specialist store that in the rules engine.
Assuming tools like ChatGPT were to last, I would expect the creation of prompts for it to be taken on by business analysts and technical specialist. Business as usual, in other words. No need for a “prompt engineer”.
Also, you should not assume things like ChatGPT will last. How these tools work is highly volatile; they are not well structured things like programming languages or SQL queries. The prompts that worked on them last week may result in nothing a week later. Furthermore, there are so many problems with the new AI that I could easily see them falling into a new AI winter in the next few years.
So, no, I don’t think Prompt Engineering is a thing that will last. If you want to update your resume to say Prompt Engineer after you’ve hacked around with one of the current AI tools out there, knock yourself out. Just don’t get too far ahead of yourself and think there is going to be a career path there.