Does Low/No Code Spell Doom for Developers?
February 14, 2022
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by Stephen Kanyi

The rise of low code and no-code platforms have had many developers fear for their jobs. The common notion among low/no-code platform creators is that they are meant to eventually render developers obsolete.

While that prediction is debatable platforms like Webflow and Bubble are certainly taking some work from some front-end and also back-end developers. These platforms make it possible to build websites and apps without a single line of code.

The question, therefore, is whether low/no-code platforms may eventually (if they already haven’t) displace a lot of developers.

Well, some developers seem not to think so and in fact, welcome the arrival of these platforms, they make their work easier. This in itself is a debatable statement.

Take Excel, for example, perhaps the first example of a low code platform in history. I think many might concur with me that it has certainly not made work easier for them. Many engineers and data specialists can recount the numerous spent behind a screen trying to figure out how to make the sheet work for them. And yet, Excel has also precipitated the demand for software demand skills while also normalizing digital technologies in our everyday work life.

The same can be said of more recent tools like Tableau which has been instrumental in lowering the barrier entry into the complex world of data analytics.

It could be said that these tools are enabling many organizations despite their talent shortcomings expand their digital capabilities. Most companies would be lost without that all-important head-scratching Excel sheet. These tools have also opened up opportunities for many job seekers who now specialize in data entry and processing.

It is also worth noting that tools like Excel were not introduced as no-code/low code tools when first released in the market. And thus, they didn’t receive coverage and with it, scepticism as such, they were just tools that made work easier for people who had little to no skills as developers.

And it is this scepticism towards such tools that is the crux of the matter. If marketed not as low/no-code tools “that don’t require a single line of code” then they certainly wouldn’t attract such criticism who view them as a threat.

Global head of technology at the tech consultancy Thoughtworks explains this undue scepticism saying “A lot of low-code tools are being promoted with this kind of naive starting point that code is somehow bad, and that rankles a lot with programmers.”

In fact, in other corners low/no code is being seen to increase work for programmers. While these platforms automate the simple tasks that go into creating websites and apps, the complex tasks still remain the purview of professional programmers.

Talking about this Marcus Torres, GM of IntegrationHub and VP of Platform Product says to TechRepublic “Similar to the low-code question of before, we want automation—automation is a good thing, automate the simple tasks, allow the people that we have doing their function to focus on the critical value for their customers. We’re all going to be better off, customers will have better experiences, you’ll probably increase your overall revenue and it’ll drive success and satisfaction for everyone.”

CEO of Bubble Emmanuel Straschkov also points to the ‘notion of freeing developers to tackle more creative tasks.”

Low code “is definitely going to make the work of engineers more interesting,” he said. “They’re going to stop spending time redoing the same thing again and again and again.

Emmanuel is quite optimistic about the potential of low code to free engineers to focus on more sophisticated work, “more algorithms that create value with code.”

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