In this article, we will walk you through what low-code development is and how it can combat the tech talent shortage. We will present the most crucial benefits of low-code platforms and how they translate to a better organized and productive workplace.
Today, the need for digital transformation exceeds the capacity of the labor market, which means we need more IT workers than there currently are. In Germany, it is estimated that there are 86,000 vacancies in the tech sector, which results in slower progress in digital transformation in companies and leaves businesses needing qualified specialists.
Low-code and no-code development has been on the rise for some time and is considered one of the remedies to the tech talent shortage. It is estimated that by 2024, 65% of enterprise applications will be built using low-code development.
What is low-code development?
Low-code development is a software development approach that uses a visual interface to develop mobile apps, web apps, internal tools, integrations, or task automation. It uses building blocks that abstract the code behind commands and actions to minimize the need for “hard coding.”
On the other hand, no-code development does not require coding at all, so anyone can turn a concept into a working application. With a no-code platform, you can get a web or mobile app in front of the target audience without the developer on board.
The main difference between low-code and no-code solutions is that no-code platforms are usually focused on delivering a specific type of product, for example, a website. Meanwhile, low-code solutions are more complex but offer multiple third-party integrations, giving more room for customization. For this reason, low-code solutions are suitable for companies that want to integrate new applications with existing systems rather to replace them with one simple solution.
Also, low-code platforms stand as an entire environment for the company to work in, and they need proper implementation and management by an IT department.
There are two main areas where low-code development comes in useful. First, low-code allows professional developers to increase productivity and focus more on business-critical problems.
Second, people without coding knowledge can build software with a specific business model in mind or a solution that can benefit their organization. These people are called citizen developers. They are employees who create technology or analytics capabilities but exist outside of IT departments. Citizen developers create apps based on their knowledge of internal processes and business logic, while IT specialists supervise the app deployment and manage the low-code environment.
Some popular low-code platforms include Microsoft Power Platform, Salesforce’s Lightning Platform, Mendix, OutSystems, and ServiceNow. These tools automate the application life cycle using a visual drag-and-drop interface, pre-built templates, and integrated security and analytics. They can also offer integration with other tools and systems, such as CRM and ERP systems, data sources, AI, or machine learning.
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How can low-code platforms help with the tech worker shortage?
Low-code platforms can alleviate the tech talent shortage by making it easier for organizations to create and manage applications without the hiring manager having to find a whole team of highly skilled developers.
For example, you wouldn’t need to hire a developer to create or integrate a software application for collecting and paying invoices. You could hire a tech-savvy accountant who knows the low-code environment. This way, the developed solution will respond to the business needs without requiring help from a developer.
With the proper tools such as low-code platforms, organizations can tap into the expertise of employees that want to facilitate in-house processes. Citizen developers contributing to the development process can significantly reduce the effects of the tech talent shortage. Otherwise, some business apps could never exist because they’re not a priority for the business.
Low-code tools can free developers to focus on more complex and high-value tasks and can improve efficiency and productivity in developer teams. Increasing agility helps to accelerate the time to market for apps and reduce costs caused by shorter development processes.
Three benefits of using low-code platforms
Speeding up development lifecycles
Development teams are expected to deliver ever more complex applications in increasingly shorter timelines. Speeding up the development process can save developers time so they can go to other projects quickly or go back and forth between several projects.
With low-code development platforms, developers can focus on critical tasks and make changes much faster. Low-code platforms provide dedicated wizards, multiple pre-built templates, and integrations to accelerate app development.
These tools also provide visualization and run tests so that any mistakes can be immediately fixed.
Little programming training needed
Because the capacity of the tech talent pool doesn’t meet the growing need for apps, companies have to do more with fewer resources.
While there’s still a need for veteran software developers to handle business-critical tasks, there are problems that low-code developers can solve without robust technical skills.
Now, tech-savvy employees can use their expertise to develop creative solutions. With the right training in low-code environments, citizen developers can easily fulfill the needs of their departments and create apps that will automate processes and boost productivity.
Lower costs of app development
Low-code development is much more cost-efficient in terms of developing business apps. Because of the rise of remote work in companies worldwide, there is high demand for software that accommodates it.
However, developers cannot fulfill this need, because traditional app development requires much more time, and as a result, costs of hiring rise. On the other hand, off-the-shelf commercial solutions, with a “one size fits all” approach, often do not meet the specific requirements of the company and are difficult to customize.
That’s why many companies choose low-code platforms to fill the need for workplace digitization and process automation. Low-code tools allow for the creation of business apps without developers and for a lower cost.
Potential risks of low-code development
Although low-code platforms seem like the perfect solution for the lack of tech workers, there are several potential risks to consider.
Without proper management and supervision by IT professionals, there is a potential risk of creating “shadow IT” apps that are out of the company’s control. For example, an employee creates an app for their department that only they manage—when this person leaves the job, there’s no one to take over the app.
Many low-code applications rely on storing data either in managed cloud storage provided by the platform or in another platform through a connector. In such a situation, the data exists outside of the company’s ecosystem that can be controlled, which creates the risk of a data leak.
The supervision of low-code users by developers experienced in information security can alleviate these risks. Another solution to these problems can be training low-code users to be sensitive to potential security problems.
A great approach would be to create centers of excellence that provide guidelines and teach safety policies. Such a center would help avoid the uncontrolled development of multiple apps and reduce operational and security risks.
Low-code solutions can fill the growing need for new apps and help mitigate the problem of tech talent shortage. Low-code applications allow for faster delivery of products and new features using fewer resources.
However, there are concerns about security, data storage, and lack of control in low-code applications that need to be considered. Yet, providing comprehensive training and supervising citizen developers can significantly reduce these risks.
If you implement these safety measures, you can create an environment supported by low-code development to boost efficiency and productivity.