As a digital product development company, we definitely have an opinion about No Code and Low Code platforms and development. Our opinion is simply that these platforms have their place in the development world, and that they are becoming increasingly popular with businesspeople, development companies and developers for good reasons.
No Code platforms (also known as No Code Builders) have become incredibly popular over the last couple of years, and I expect their popularity to increase in the future. According to Gartner, by 2025, 70 percent of companies will use low-code platforms to build some aspect of their websites.
This is a wild estimation that on the surface has shaken the development world, but like these kinds of statements, the reality is much more complex. Are developers going to be disrupted by automation? That is the $1 trillion dollar question.
In this article, we are going to focus on the business and industry effects of No Code and Low Code technology solutions, and what it means for developers in the future.
What Are No-Code Platforms?
No-Code and Low-Code platforms are tools that allow non-tech individuals and companies to develop web applications without the use of programming languages. These are usually drag-and-drop tools. Users have some sort of canvas where they display the items, functions, fonts, colors, and layouts they want for their website. Some popular no-code platforms include Wix and Webflow.
The difference between Low-Code and No-Code platforms is that while No-Code requires few to zero programming skills, Low-Code leaves some room for personalization with coding and requires more of an understanding of programming logic.
You can also get a deeper understanding of No Code platforms by listening to our ScreamingBox Technology and Business Rundown podcast episode on No Code with our guest, Jen Kramer.
Will No-Code Tools Replace Developers?
On the surface, No-code tools seem to be a risk for most developers’ work loads. Since, if companies will use No-Code tools to build their websites, does it mean they don’t need developers at all?
No-code builders and tools have automated certain tasks and optimized the development process, but they haven’t replaced developers. While they don’t have to worry about those basic tasks, they will have to deal with the programming and workflow logic, UX and work on other advanced and more personalized queries for clients.
No-Code is a somewhat deceptive term in the sense that most of these tools take a long time to learn how to fully use them to handle many of the development tasks. Linking everything together and overcoming any limitations that these tools bring to a complex development project will, in fact, require a very skilled and experienced developer to make No-Code tools develop at this level.
There’s another key factor to consider: a No-Code/Low-Code platform only works smoothly in the right hands. While non-technical people think their website looks amazing and works perfectly, they don’t know a lot about functionality and digital design. In the end, this usually forces them to hire a web developer to optimize their project and deal with the requirements that the No-Code tools don’t solve.
No-Code and Low-Code is really about price. They take common development tasks like creating a User Logon Screen, and make it quick and easy to put that into a website. How many times does a developer need to write a User Logon Screen from scratch? Most developers welcome using No-Code and Low-Code tools to do this common work, so they can focus their time working on the complex business and workflow solutions. Clients like that they don’t pay as much for having this common and repetitive work done from scratch.
Help For Beginners and Start-ups
One of the major benefits of No-Code and Low-Code tools is quick and low-cost website start-ups. This means that they allow business people, entrepreneurs and agencies to quickly and cost-effectively produce website concepts, prototypes and even MVPs quickly and without having to get developers involved.
For an agency like us, if a client spends their time on putting together a basic website concept, or MVP concept in a No-Code and Low-Code platform, then comes to us and says here is what I got so far. It is a big help in communicating what they really want. If what they built is not running into limitations of the platform, a developer can continue to work on refining it on that platform. If it really has other business requirements, then developers can use that work as a template, or even use some of the No-Code raw code to develop it in a more flexible and robust development coding technology such as React or Flutter.
Either way, using No-Code this way will save time and money for these situations. It will put entrepreneurs and start-ups in a position to get things started, and later hire developers to take it to the next level. A win-win for companies and developers.
Risks of No-Code Applications
No-code applications seem to be a great opportunity for people to build their own projects without depending on developers at first. It seems to be fun, practical, and cost-effective. However, no-code and low-code platforms have quite a few limitations that you may want to consider before jumping right into them.
Automation has a cost: you’re limited to what’s available. Platforms like Wix or Webflow have multiple templates and functions, but you only have what’s offered there. Not all businesses have the same needs and aspirations in terms of design and functionality. Eventually, as your business scales, you will want to change them to provide a more functional, appealing, and efficient interface.
With No-Code and Low-Code tools, you’re building your site from another platform. This means that their vulnerabilities are yours as well, and if the company (no-code builder) faces a data breach, all your information is also at risk.
Code ownership might not sound like a big deal when you’re starting off your business. However, it could eventually bring limitations and costs in the future. With no-code applications, you’re not the owner of the code and your product entirely. You can’t easily change from one provider to another in case you need it.
This dependency gets you stuck with that, vendor regardless of the quality of their services.
The Threat Vs. the Opportunity
Not everything’s dark in the end. In the past, we have seen multiple situations in which technology seems to display humans’ jobs. However, we always seem to be relevant at some point. Technology is here to provide us with tools and optimize processes, it’s not here to replace us.
Developers and development agencies can leverage No-Code and Low-Code platforms. These tools automate repetitive and redundant tasks, so developers can focus on more relevant activities, including interface, databases, and other backend processes. This can provide for quicker and more profitable development for both the clients and developers.
Developers who stay current with all development technologies, and focus on increasing their knowledge and experience with all the development tools for their discipline, will become more relevant and valuable. Experienced developers with No-Code and Low-Code platform skils will always have a lot of work opportunities.
Benefits of Hiring Software Developers
Regardless of your choice, you might eventually have to hire a software developer as your business grows and your needs change, so it’s up to you when you’re going to do it. At the moment, no-code builders are still limited, dependent, and vulnerable to cyber-attacks. That’s why you may want to consider the following benefits of hiring a software developer.
More freedom: With a developer, you’re not limited to templates, fonts, and functionalities. You have endless possibilities to express your ideas.
Expertise: A developer understands the nature of code and what you can realistically do with your project. He’ll advise you on the best steps and how you can achieve your development and business goals.
Holistic outcomes: One of the best aspects of hiring a developer is that you have a holistic view of your project. Developers usually have more than one expertise in their skills set, including graphic design, marketing, SEO, or writing.
No-code builders and tools can be a significant starting point for a business or entrepreneur, especially if there is little technical background or understanding. It is a quick and cost effective way to get something started and/or prove out ideas and concepts. If the need is straightforward and not too complex, No-Code platforms can allow a non-technical person to develop a fairly solid website for initial release.
However, it is more than likely than not that businesses will eventually need a developer to optimize such websites and digital products in the future as your business grows.
For high-level businesses, it is more advisable to hire a developer that can handle their needs, large databases, etc. This could also be the case if you’d like to have more freedom and independence in your project.
No-Code and Low-Code tools, builders and platforms are going to continue to grow in use, but they may replace developers who work on simplistic development. Developers who focus on using No-Code and Low-Code tools to reduce redundant tasks, and use more advanced development technologies and languages to “glue” the components together, will have a bright future. In addition, No-Code developers who learn to write code to solve advanced problems or code for larger, more complex business requirements will grow their development opportunities.
Mid-level and Senior level developers will probably not be affected much by No-Code and Low-Code technologies due to the limits of those platforms. Those developers who work and understand No-Code and Low-Code solutions will also be able to expand their development opportunities.
For Start-up and businesses, No-Code and Low-Code technologies will offer the advantages of lower costs, quick start up and conceptual idea development, MVP launches and cost effective way to test business ideas and concepts.
No matter how you look at it, No-Code and Low-Code technology offer everyone more opportunity in the future.
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