Design will change a lot in the next few years, and designers need to be ready.

More portions of the craft can be automated through design systems. User interfaces are converging towards a "global preference," and apps look like each other. Many software companies have tackled problems for various use cases in the past decades, creating a library of common design patterns. Designing today comes down to reusing what other people have done, except for a few bleeding-edge examples.

As the practice of designing software matures, the work becomes more streamlined and automated. Anything repeatable can be automated, and software design is not immune to that trend.

Where does that leave designers, and what value can we bring to the table?

As practitioners, the majority of our time is spent on how to solve a given problem. Almost always, it is a problem someone else defined. The future of the design profession relies on us becoming inventors. Creating the brief, not just following it. The best designers do it instinctively. Call it "being strategic," "providing a vision," and "being creative" – it doesn't matter. It all comes down to inventing things and ensuring they’re valuable to others.

The ones who do it don't even have to think about a seat at the table. They might even own the table.

Craft is not out yet, but its automation is inevitable. Good enough will suffice for most people. It's happening with graphic design (e.g. Canva), and it's unavoidable for software design.

The ability to invent things – whether they’re starting their own company or innovating within one – will set designers apart in the future.