Low-code and no-code are making developers' jobs better in two ways

Low-code and no-code means faster software development and deployment, as well as turning developers into facilitators.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer
A man and woman share a laptop, at which the woman points.

Low-code and no-code development is often seen as the realm of citizen developers, but the segment of the enterprise where low-code and no-code has gained significant traction is among professional developers themselves. And, importantly, it's making their jobs better in two ways: providing tools for faster software development and deployment, as well as elevating their roles in enterprises to that of teachers and facilitators for potential citizen developers.

A recent survey of 860 developers by OutSystems finds a majority of low-code users -- most of whom also use traditional coding languages alongside low-code -- report that they are "very satisfied" with their team productivity (59%), compared to 41% of traditional developers. Most low-coders, 57%, are also very satisfied with the quality of tools at their disposal to complete their work, compared to 36% of their traditional coding counterparts.

In addition, 71% of low-code users said they were able to stick to the typical 40-hour work week, compared to only 44% of traditional developers. Additionally, 63% of low-code developers indicate they are happy with their salary and benefits compared to 40% of traditional developers.

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"Low-code and no-code development solutions have been the subject of some debate and confusion within the software community," the OutSystems survey authors relate. "Our survey suggests that the debate may be overblown, as it is common for low-code users to also use traditional coding languages. In fact, more than half of low-code users (65%) acknowledged they use at least one traditional language such as PHP, JavaScript, Python, HTML/ CSS and C / C# / C++."

Not only is low-code and no-code making things easier, it is also elevating the roles of technology professionals within their enterprises, to facilitator, educators, and consultants. Industry observers agree. "The professional's role is now to customize and connect the low-code solution to the organization's resources," relates Moses Guttmann, CEO and co-founder of ClearML. Their roles "shift towards mainly automation and orchestration, taking a low-code process and helping the low-code infrastructure gain access to different resources within the organization. Think of it as abstracting the databases and providing access to the orchestration -- such as cloud infrastructure to execute the low-code application."

This can only mean more Agile development for the next generation of applications, with business-savvy developers and tech-savvy business users working side by side. "Citizen developers are typically growth-minded, innovative problem solvers with an active understanding of the business' overarching  goals," says Aaron White, CTO and co-founder of Vendr. "In tandem with overseeing the work completed in a low-code or no-code environment, professional developers -- especially those leading teams -- should strive to recognize these employees' talents, actively enabling them to contribute to the development process." 

This means more strategic roles and tasks for developers as well, agrees Om Vyas, co-founder and chief product officer for oak9. "It takes away a lot of the day-to-day implementation-related tasks and allows developers to focus on more architectural and strategic concerns. It puts them in a position to have a greater business impact. But also, with low-code and no-code approaches, when the one-size-fits-all pattern does not work for you, it will create work for these professionals to amend or customize to add their own implementations."

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In many cases, "a low-code/no-code approach may operate as a complete solution. That said, IT and engineering may need to step in from time to time, to fine-tune the details," White adds. 

Not every application is ready for low-code or no-code approaches, of course. "Low-code or no-code isn't suitable for complex use cases," Vyas cautions. "It's easy to do basic things in low-code and no-code. But as soon as you get into more complex business logic, complex processes, or complex problem solving, it becomes really hard to continue to use low-code or no-code. And the exposure to security and compliance risks becomes greater."

This is especially the case with complex use cases, "when your data grows and business use cases grows in complexity, when processing mass amounts of unstructured data, that requires complex heuristics, complex configurations, policies that depend on other policies, or rules that depend on other systems," he adds. "Here, coding is required."

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