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Low-code is Booming: Should Developers Start to Worry?

by Ant Sh
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Low-code is Booming: Should Developers Start to Worry?

Liam Tung, one of the contributing writers at ZDNet, recently shared its analysis on whether the rise of the low-code tools poses a real threat to the professional developers. Here is a digest of his article.

According to the author, Gartner estimates that spending on low-code* development technologies will grow 19.6% year-on-year to $26.9 billion in 2023. The research firm also sees the even lower-code “citizen developer” category growing faster than the rest of the low-code market. Another prediction is that Gartner reckons 80% of people using low-code development tools, including RPA tools, won’t be within formal IT departments by 2026. That’s up from 60% in 2021.

Then, Liam Tung puts the question point-blank: Is this trend really the end for developers?

According to Jon Collins, a VP of research at analyst GigaOm, low-code technology doesn’t entirely cut out the need for full developers. The spectrum of low-code ranges from simple drag-and-drop interfaces on various tools to complex technical platforms with a low-code way of working.

“Low code can only do so much to hide the complexity beneath, which makes it great for simpler environments, for integrating multiple sources, or for getting going with a new application, but sooner or later you’re going to need the deeper engineering skills.”

Jon Collins, VP of Research, GigaOm

One more argument is that a recent survey by software firm Capterra found that IT professionals are the main users of low-code/no-code platforms, even though they’re often positioned as a tool for citizen developers.

Finally, another survey by low-code platform vendor OutSystems found that the majority of low-code users also use traditional coding languages. Some 65% of low-code users reported using at least one traditional language, such as PHP, JavaScript, Python, HTML/CSS, and C/C#/C++. The firm argued that low-code has transformed developers roles in enterprises to teachers and facilitators for potential citizen developers.

*Gartner notes that it defines “no-code” application platforms as an LCAP (low-code application platforms) that only require text entry for formulae or simple expressions. The research firm includes no-code platforms in LCAP. However, it notes “no-code” isn’t suitable for citizen development because many complex tooling configuration tasks are no-code but still require specialist skills.