With so many jobs changing and developing alongside technology, the need for coding has risen drastically over the past few years. These skills are used by developers to build applications, websites, and software, in order to complete specific tasks on computers, smartphones, or any other device.
By way of addressing this, coding is increasingly taught in schools to grades as young as kindergarten but, according to research, there is still a widening skills gap. Learning to code can be difficult and time-consuming, which isn’t good news for the businesses that need those skills as soon as possible.
This is where low-code alternatives are starting to come in handy. Rather than relying on a team of developers to build and maintain software, entrepreneurs can instead use low-code platforms to do what they would have needed a developer for, quickly. This lets them focus on growing and developing the business, rather than tweaking any software to meet the changing needs of its users, which begs the question: if this option is so useful, how important are coding skills?
The low-code industry is growing
According to research published on Full Scale, who help business owners overcome skills shortages, there are fewer than 30,000 computer science majors graduating every year. This is despite the fact that an estimated one million computer program-related jobs are expected to be left unfulfilled in 2020. But not everyone can, or has the training and experience, to code. This has meant the market for low-code is projected to be worth $27.23 billion by 2022, a rise of nearly $23bn on figures from five years earlier.
Entrepreneurs can capitalize on this growth by implementing more low-code software for businesses, which can eliminate any need for a development team. This ultimately saves money, which can then be injected back into the company.
Business owners can benefit from low-code software
As well as the financial benefits, businesses can enjoy the operational benefits of swapping traditional software for low-code development tools. EASA, for example, allows users the chance to create a custom app, which run on existing company spreadsheets, to “utilize existing models and software workflows”. The platform allows businesses to easily integrate other in-house and legacy systems and databases, creating a perfectly customized application for their needs. Everything from the development to the design and user experience is handled on the platform, ensuring the app blends seamlessly with the business style.
Keeping application development in-house also works to protect a business’s intellectual property. Working with external developers runs the risk of exposing company information, which can leave it vulnerable to hackers due to not being in charge of data storage.
Even if an enterprise has its own IT department, low-code software development means that they won’t have to pause any larger scale projects in order to test and build programs when needed. Instead, managers can pick and choose what software needs to be developed and when. For example, 7-Eleven created an optimization app to allow regional managers the chance to access relevant sales figures, replacing the Excel spreadsheet. Managers could view the data from laptops, smartphones, and tablets in order to get an accurate and real-time idea of figures, allowing them to make immediate decisions regarding prices and product placement.
Low-code brings its own limitations
While going low-code can be incredibly useful for business owners looking to save money on development costs, there are limitations. Any functionality is restricted by what the tool or vendor provides—if a certain design or function isn’t supported, users aren’t able to change it and will have to simply work around the problem. The app will also be locked into the platform or cloud-based environment on which it was built, making it difficult to migrate to other platforms as the business develops.
Low-code options also mean application functions will be limited to what the platform offers. A skilled developer with coding skills, however, will be able to create an application that runs as efficiently as possible, which isn’t always guaranteed with a low-code option. Working with a developer to create an application ultimately means it will do exactly what the business needs, depending on specific requirements.
However, low-code development allows team leaders the chance to focus more on the end product, offering quick solutions to any problems. This makes these programs incredibly useful for smaller enterprises that may not have a large enough budget to work with a development team.