Is prompt engineer the new developer role?

The art of asking the right questions

Fernando Villalba
4 min readApr 9


Prompt engineering is the art of asking very effective questions to an AI to get the best possible response. They are popping up worldwide, some paying over $300K already.

What does this mean?

AI is automation on steroids. The way that most people will use ChatGPT is as a dynamic template generator.

To create great templates, you must be good at asking the right questions. This will determine how much work you must do after receiving a response.

The irony is that we all thought we would lose our jobs, but like every other automation before, new jobs will be created. Learning how to write effectively will become more fashionable because the way you ask ChatGPT effective questions is a bit like how an ideal Jira ticket would look like.

Anatomy of a good ChatGPT prompt

Just like a good Jira ticket, a good ChatGPT prompt should look something like this:

As a [persona]

I want this thing

For x target audience and this reason or objective.

In this way, format, with these characteristics.

In this length, for this time, etc.

Your prompts must always contain the who (persona), what, how, when, why and for whom with as much detail as possible!

Never forget to write a persona, always start with “Act as X” because it opens a whole range of possibilities, if you need some ideas check this out:

The prompt anatomy given here may change based on the persona, but the gist is that you must always remember to provide as much detail as possible.

Example of bad prompt

Teach me how to learn golang

Will give a run-of-the-mill answer (complete answer):

Example of great prompt

I want you to act as my instructor:
- teach me how to learn to code golang assuming I know nothing about coding. Focus the course on DevOps use cases and designing 12-factor applications.
- Give me a step-by-step content course with links where I can learn each section. I prefer to learn with fun project challenges, so ensure each section has some of that. I also like succinct explanations with plenty of practice materials. I also need a list of things I need to get started.
- I want to learn Golang in about 3 weeks, so break down each section by how long it should take me to learn it and how long I need to dedicate each day.
- Ensure you use bullet points and clear sections in your output.

Look at the difference (I trunkated the output, it was much larger than this):

This yielded 4 pages of output which I am not including for brevity

Like being the CEO and having a PA or an intern

Using ChatGPT is a bit like being a CEO and having a CEO or having an intern, the key difference is that when outsourcing a job to a person, you should expect them to have some autonomy and leeway with creative license. Giving overly specific instructions — especially explaining how exactly a task must be done — can demoralize any human being, people have egos and don’t like to be micromanaged. With AI, you must take the opposite approach and be as detailed as possible.

Humans are not going away, sorry bots

AI makes for a great assistant, but you need a human who can ask the right questions and understand and improve the output afterward. If the prompts are great, it will minimize the work you need to do later. That’s why learning the basics of this art is so important.

Chatbots may democratize the way we talk to computers by providing us with a natural language gateway to communicate with them in a path that looks like this, from lowest level to highest level:

Assembly → C → Python → Natural Language

Philosophers have been telling us for millennia that asking the right questions was as important or more than having the right answers, and it looks like now it’s becoming more true than ever!

Stop fearing that AI will take your job away, instead embrace your humanity and learn to be creative!