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Low Code/No Code: What Does it Mean for Developers and the IT Job Market?

Low Code/No Code is certainly not a new technology. Products like Salesforce, WordPress and Shopify have been around for years now, letting non-developers create things that at one time would never have been possible without extensive training and experience in multiple coding languages. But the market is seeing a sharp uptick in demand for these solutions. In recent years, more and more low-code platforms have been popping up, providing simple GUIs for programming and developing code faster and easier. For example, a user simply draws a flow chart and code is created... no more line-by-line programming!

As companies around the world compete to deliver the best experiences to their customers, they're constantly developing and enhancing applications. And, as every recruiter, developer and project manager has come to learn, these organizations want it delivered as soon as possible and at the best price. With the increasing IT skills gap being felt world-wide, finding the talent to build such solutions is becoming nearly impossible. Enter Low Code/No Code technology.

A recent report from Creatio laid out results of a survey of more than 1,000 IT, digital and business leaders around the world. To no surprise, it states that digital transformation is a massive priority for all respondents, with 95% stating that they still pushed plans forward through the COVID-19 pandemic. However, nearly half of them said that lack of skilled resources was a core barrier in successful transformation. Naturally, Low-Code/No Code solutions become the logical step, throughout the organization. In fact, the survey found that low-code is being adapted for custom app development in separate business units for both customer-facing and middle/back-office processes. This was especially prevalent in North America, which is the leading region adapting it. 

On the surface, it might seem that a rise in these Low Code/No Code platforms will be the end of Developer contracts, since any Joe Schmoe will soon be able to create whatever they need. As we dig deeper, though, it's definitely not the case. 

Going back to the Creatioreport, of all of the companies who said they're using Low Code solutions, only 6% of the development is being done without any IT involvement. And that makes perfect sense since no out-of-the-box solution could possibly work for a complex organization. As we've seen with the examples listed above (Salesforce, WordPress, Shopify), entire industries and skillsets have been created by these products, with specialists who have the coding expertise to customize the products down to the finest details. Of course, there is obviously also demand for the root developers of the platforms who absolutely need extensive skills to create an avenue where anyone can 'program'.

Even still, while we can expect fewer and fewer apps to be built right from scratch as this decade progresses, there will always be a need for more complex, unique applications and programs. Low-Code/No Code can become inefficient as they get more customized, so will not always be the right answer.

There's an interesting discussion on this topic on DEV.to and experienced programmers have approached the subject from a number of angles. Overall, the consensus among most in the industry is that there's little to worry about and if you are a developer, you will not be out of a job any time soon. 

Like everything in the technology industry, jobs will change but they will not disappear. As an IT professional, and especially a developer, you do need to keep on top of the trends and ensure your skills don't become obsolete. It might be time to learn about the Low Code/No Code products in your specialized industry and become an expert in the leading platforms, ensuring that if your clients do take on more of these solutions, you can still add value by knowing how to implement, customize and manage them.