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How No-Code and Low-Code Tools Democratize Software Development and Create Business Value

According to Gartner, low-code tools and application development will be responsible for more than 65% of application development activity by 2024.

The COVID-19 crisis has created a need to quickly build new software applications to handle distressed customers, monitor employee health, support social distancing, build contract tracing apps, and many more. Alongside these needs, the business “wish list” of digital transformation products seems to be ever-growing.

Here’s where no-code and low-code tools come in. These tools allow non-programmers, AKA ‘citizen developers,’ to create web or mobile applications without writing any (or very little) custom code. Shortly put, these platforms are digital lego blocks for software.

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No-code and low-code tool or platforms accelerate digital transformation in established enterprises by allowing business users or SMEs to build enterprise-ready applications. And for startups, MVPs can be made live with a quick turnaround time.

According to Gartner, low-code tools and application development will be responsible for more than 65% of application development activity by 2024.

While it might be tempting to think of these tools as a replacement for developers—and a potential solution to the programmer shortage—that’s not the case. There will always be a need for skilled programmers to complete the ideative and complex task of building new products. Rather than be replaced by no-code and low-code platforms, developers can use them to their advantage to democratize software development and drive business value. Here’s how.

No-Code and Low-Code Tools up the Speed Limit for Developers

No-code and low-code tools can help developers build 60-70% of an enterprise application, right off the bat, freeing up their time to focus on mission-critical activities. For example, no-code solutions have out-of-the-box modules to deploy authentication, data transformation, visual drill-downs, cache management, and reporting capabilities. By accessing these services out-of-the-box, developers are also less likely to make mistakes and will see fewer errors in the code. 

Ultimately, developers are able to generate more functionality in less time than before. This means having the time to both addresses more pressing and challenging needs and also to work on projects which are more stimulating and creative.

No-Code Tools Allow Non-Technical People to Build Applications

No-code platforms allow business users or SMEs to build applications that meet their needs through a guide graphical user interface (GUI).

They don’t have to understand the underlying code that is created in order to build the application – saving developers’ on time that they’d usually spend on these applications. For example, rather than a developer building a sales reporting dashboard from scratch, a member of the sales team could use a no-code tool to quickly form the data pipeline, create standard metrics charts, and even generate data visualizations.

A new, innovative example of this is GTP-3, Open AI’s newest language model. GTP-3 is a series of autocomplete tools that have been trained on mammoth amounts of text data and can create human-like text and write code on demand. One example use case points to a tool can generate code from simple text demands. This takes the onus off developer teams of creating simple applications and allows them to dedicate themselves to the more complex and demanding tasks.

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When it comes to businesses in their earlier stages, non-technical founders can use no-code app builders like Airflow, Bubble, or Glide to create early versions of their MVP mobile app and test their offering in the market. They can hire experienced developers to scale their offering once they establish this market, allowing any new developers that come in to work on a solid product with significant business potential.

Read More: DigitalOcean Launches App Platform to Simplify Application Development in the Cloud

Getting Started With a No-Code or Low-Code Tool

Whether you’re at the beginning of your career or an experienced programmer, it’s worth looking into the value of no-code and low-code tools to both boost your own skills development and drive business objectives. If your team has the resources to invest in such a tool and is prepared to leverage it to its full potential, it has the power to deliver serious ROI. 

In the same sense, whether your company is an SMB or enterprise with thousands of employees, you can make use of these tools for different business functions. For example, if you’re already operating with Microsoft Azure products, you could use the Power BI platform to create BI data visualizations without writing code.

To get started, it’s vital to understand how the solution will interact with the internal infrastructure that you use to build applications. You also need to cement the reason why you’re seeking a no-code or low-code tool. Is it to eliminate the need for programmers on certain projects?

Or is it to expedite current projects within the data science team?

Once you have established the goal, you should assess the kind of functionality you need that’s in line with the team’s objectives.

Will you use the tool for small components or large-scale enterprise apps?

Is speed the priority, or is it more about management capacity?

When it comes to choosing a vendor, many major cloud providers and tech platforms have no-code or low-code offerings, such as Amazon Honeycode, IBM’s low-code platform, and Salesforce’s platform, which allows users to build in functionality with minimum code. It’s important to conduct a feature and cost comparison analysis at this stage to get a full picture of how each offering matches your specific needs.

Lastly, it’s a good idea to run an application that you have already built through the no-code platform you’re considering investing in. In doing this, you can use the platform to solve an existing problem that you have already coded for to compare the final output and spot any gaps. 

No-code and low-code tools aren’t going to be a magic bullet to solve the developer shortage, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the power to cause serious disruption. When incorporated into a business as a way to boost efficiency in application development, developers have more time to advance their own skillset while driving business goals in the process.

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