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LLMs in My Engineering Workflow

Posted on:October 13, 2023 at 10:37 AM

Many senior developers I’ve interacted with are hesitant about integrating GPT and LLMs into their engineering workflows. They may have tried Github Copilot or maybe even use it regularly. But at the same time, they voice concerns ranging from reliability issues and hallucinations to usability and cost. These are all valid points! Yet, I often sense that many, especially the veterans, stick to their known methods, finding it challenging to envision the benefits of these new tools.

Below, I’ve compiled various real-world instances of how I’ve leveraged LLMs in my engineering work over the past 6 months. These aren’t just theoretical scenarios. They reflect actual moments where these tools helped me save time, enhance efficiency, and deliver added value to my clients. The versatility of this technology still baffles me, and the long list below clearly shows that versatility.

Human and robot pair programming

In my own work, I’ve used LLMs to:

It’s hard to pick my favorite use-case from the list. I employ most of them regularly, even daily. What continually surprises me is ChatGPT’s adeptness at articulating the thoughts of more experienced developers — especially when their insights elude my initial understanding. I felt very proud realizing that I no longer needed to seek further clarifications. I could get to work directly because ChatGPT explained something that was hidden from me initially, due of my lack of experience or context.

The potential applications of this technology extend far beyond my personal use-cases. A similar list can probably be created for other domains and other jobs. Again, it is the versatility of this new tool that is truly mesmerizing. I even hesitate to call it simply “a tool”. What is it really? A new framework? A compute platform? Maybe an operating system? We are still trying to figure it out.

Of course, neither GPT nor any LLM is a silver bullet that will replace good engineering skills or proper design decisions. You need to be extra careful not to grow overly dependent on them or blindly trust the outputs. But, if properly applied, they give you a huge leverage. I’ve noticed a significant performance boost in my own work, and I believe with more strategies and tools, there’s potential for even greater advancements.