Software developers: We're on board with low-code (or even no-code) tools

Do IT professionals see a place for citizen developers, or is this more fantasy than productive reality?
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

The notion of low-code and no-code development solutions often stirs up mixed feelings. The fact that developer and IT departments don't have to tend to every user need -- that they can actually be self-sufficient at some of these things -- is a positive. Yet, there is a concern that so-called "citizen developers" may end up creating messes that IT pros need to end up fixing anyway.

Photo: HubSpot

At the same time, developers themselves are finding low-code tools as big productivity boosts. While rapid application delivery (RAD) tools have been around for decades, the emergence of low-code and no-code solutions represents a potentially promising new phase in the RAD movement.

Yes, there are many ways to cut programming time, especially with cloud services, APIs and pre-built open-source modules. The question is: are low/no-code platforms getting so easy that non-developers can finally go to town with them as well? Do IT pros see a place for citizen developers as well, or is this more fantasy than productive reality?

A recent survey finds 74% of IT professionals see low-code solutions as key to rapid application development. (RAD). Nearly 60% of corporate IT professionals are currently using RAD methodologies in their organizations, the survey, released by PMG, confirms. A majority, 56%, intend to increase their use of low-code and no-code tools.

It's all about productivity, which is critical in an era when enterprises expect software delivered continuously without interruption, in days and hours. A total of 74% of IT professionals identified no-code and low-code capabilities as key when evaluating RAD platforms when seeking productivity solutions. What's the driving business case? Speed, as cited by 63%.

Developers also appear to be accepting the emerging role of citizen developers -- 42% are "interested" in enabling more citizen developers, and 19% already actively use these outside-of-IT resources.

In fact, at least 30% expect their departments will work side-by-side with citizen developers to improve efficiencies, and 25% see citizen developers taking on a more strategic, advisory role in the development process Another 24% of IT departments plan to include more tech-savvy business analysts. In terms of future IT staffing, 34% of IT professionals even expect a greater emphasis on technical resources with business backgrounds over traditional coders.

There's plenty of irony in the fact that as enterprises lean on IT to deliver greater agility, IT pros say their own departments could use healthy doses of more agility. When asked what it is they want to address with low-code or RAD tools, there is a need to clear away the rigidity and confusion that accompanies development projects:

  • Long development cycles 60%
  • Unclear or conflicting business requirements 58%
  • Meeting evolving end user demands 51%
  • Integration challenges with legacy systems 50%
  • Meeting productivity goals and remaining within budget 46%
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