If you haven’t heard of Low-Code, you won’t be alone. This new, and growing sector, is disrupting the IT, App and Web Markets, bringing with it new talent and agencies, and taking the industry by storm.
So what is ‘Low-Code’? To put it at its simplest, Low-Code Development refers to the development of Websites and Applications, using drag-and-drop platforms and enhancing it using a relatively low amount of code.
Fast forward to today, with a new wealth of entrepreneurial self-starters, and a rising demand for more affordable options. Enter in the ‘DIY’ No-Code web platforms such as Squarespace, Shopify and Envato, providing templates and self-serve websites, for everyone. These platforms give full customisation, and an array of basic features to add to a wide selection of drag and drop templates.
Low-Code sits in the middle of these. Optimizing the use of these existing development platforms and using their coding knowledge to enhance the flow and capabilities of the site. Taking this route offers ‘Rapid Application Development’ (RAD) and empowers the developer to provide a website with design and user experience at its focus. Even more surprising to most, is that these developers are everywhere, hidden in plain sight, and being optimized by big names: Think Hasbro, Polaroid, Clarks and Fitbit… All websites created on Shopify using Low-Code.
So what is it that are making big brands choose a low-code option over a fully coded website?
1. Speed and Flexibility
When it comes to development, long gone are the days of marking the land, digging the hole, setting the concrete to install the foundations. The platforms low-code sites are built on provide these ready to go, alongside most the complex internal structures needed, so you can start building the shiny exterior knowing everything else is all taken care of. All of this means that the time it takes to build a low-coded site can be up to 60% faster than a traditional coded site.
2. Lower Cost & High Productivity.
Low-Code means the ability to build more in less time with less people, meaning costs can decrease significantly. With a low-code application, what once took months, now can take minutes, reducing the time barrier to progress and innovation. This also promotes flexibility, to update the website design, create new landing pages and microsites and offshoot apps in a fraction of the time.
3. Less Risk and more Compliance
When you work with a Low-Coder, you work both with them, and the platforms they create with. Most of these platforms are large global companies, with existing and monitored backend features, added security and hosted on the biggest web servers – think Amazon. All this significantly reduces
the risk of being hacked, going down and discovering any major bugs down the line. At the same time, being able to move quickly, means you can easily move and adjust accordingly as new rules, laws and regulations come in place.
So what does this mean for coders?
To assume that ‘No-code’ would mean ‘not for coders’ would be a mistake. Coders moving into this ‘Low-Code’ direction are the secret weapon to its survival. Sounds a bit extreme but bear with me.
When businesses are on tight budgets, they get quickly wooed into the drag-and-drop platforms. Have a look at Wix and be prepared for every advert you see on Youtube to be from them – they are on a mission to grow their customer base. They own a large share of the market and want the mass market of those with tight budgets and limited knowledge. Getting started is easy, but they can quickly run into issues; They can’t integrate to their particular CRM, they require a more comprehensive client portal or want a live feed of all their social platforms in one place.
This is where the coder can swoop in. They take the basic template, and through their coding knowledge, improve and update these templates to functioning and findable sites, with all the bells and whistles the client requires.
When you combine this with a growing ‘API economy’, the requirement of the coder to boost these sites to the next level is obvious.
To translate, API stands for ‘Application Programming Interface’ and is the software that enables two separate software’s to speak to each other. Most people using websites will never even realise they are there, but there is a growing number of software providers rising in the background, specialising to solve individual and niche problems. A great example you’ll find when you browse the internet, is the speech bubble you’ll find in the bottom corner of a lot of websites. This is an API, powered by Intercom, connecting their website, to the Intercom messaging service.
Where developers used to be responsible for creating a full stack of code and integrations, these days there are API apps for everything, and whilst the integrations are sometimes included as part of the initial platform, linking big names such as Instagram and Salesforce, a lot require specific code to install them. Working with these big name integrations, like Stripe and Plaid (tied together in a Zapier bow), is changing the way developers works, swapping heavy lifting building everything from scratch, to being able to focus on creating the core code the business needs to meet it’s specialised unique value proposition.
Where are the roles for Low-Coders?
So where do the roles sit for Low-Coders? In general, everywhere. In reality, where Web-Developers used to sit, those roles are being replaced with Low-Coders, both in-house and agency based.
Web & App Agencies
Web Development companies are popping up and morphing. Agencies that once focused on alternative things such as design, SEO and marketing are expanding their offering. Bringing in a coder, to combine into their no to low code teams, gives them the option of offering web development to their portfolios. Equally, a whole new style of agency is appearing, specialising in short-term projects to enhance existing sites.
In House IT/Web Departments
With the benefit of requiring fewer staff to run a website, businesses are happy to run their websites in house. Particularly with the rise of E-commerce, and Online Services, Web Development has become as crucial as an Accounts department. As mentioned above, big names are hosting their websites on well-known platforms, and are happy to swap their agency budget, for a small, dedicated in house team.
No Code Software Companies
Growing with the market are a huge amount of online platforms, requiring developers to build the No-Code and Low-Code platforms for these new developers. The size of these companies can be anywhere from 2 to 500 employees, and cover such a wide variety of topics in almost every industry.