Using ChatGPT throughout the Software Development Life Cycle by Novice Developers

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This study investigates the impact of ChatGPT — a generative AI-based tool — on undergraduate students’ software development experiences. Through a three-month project involving seven undergraduate students, ChatGPT was employed as a supporting tool, and their experiences were systematically surveyed before and after the projects. The research aims to answer four key questions related to ChatGPT’s effectiveness, advantages, limitations, impact on learning, and challenges faced. The findings revealed significant skill gaps among undergraduate students, underscoring the importance of addressing educational deficiencies in software development. ChatGPT was found to have a positive influence on various phases of the software development life cycle, leading to enhanced efficiency, accuracy, and collaboration. ChatGPT also consistently improved participants’ foundational understanding and soft skills in software development. These findings underscore the significance of integrating AI tools like ChatGPT into undergraduate students education, particularly to bridge skill gaps and enhance productivity. However, a nuanced approach to technology reliance is essential, acknowledging the variability in opinions and the need for customization. Future research should explore strategies to optimize ChatGPT’s application across development contexts, ensuring it maximizes learning while addressing specific challenges.

Ryan Watkins