The more experienced a developer you are, the less likely you are to use low-code, no-code tools. But that’s sort of the point, right? Or… is it?
Getting smart about low-code and no-code
According to a recent SlashData survey of 16,045 developers, developers use low-code, no-code tools for 20% of their coding. If you’re a professional developer, that number drops to 19% versus 21% of hobbyists. That’s hardly a big swing and suggests that developers won’t entrust LCNC tools for their more critical workloads.
“When it comes to reducing development overheads, addressing the challenge of finding skilled developers, and accelerating taking software to market, LCNC tools are becoming increasingly attractive,” the report said.
And though low-code, no-code tools are rapidly increasing in their sophistication, it’s still the case that roughly 54% of developers don’t use LCNC tools at all. That’s the glass half-empty view of things. The glass half-full view, however, notes that 45% of developers do use low-code, no-code tools, which is up from just a trace not many years ago.
According to the survey, experienced developers, especially those with more than 10 years of experience, are the cohort least likely to use low-code, no-code tools. As experience increases, developers are less likely to use low-code, no-code tools at all. This is particularly true among those with more than ten years of experience.
Interestingly, the SlashData survey reveals that developers with three to 10 years of experience are most likely to make heavier use (between 25% to 75% of their coding) of low-code, no-code tools. This could indicate that they’re experienced enough to recognize the value of LCNC but not so experienced that they’re “too good” for such tools.
Use cases for low-code, no-code tools
LCNC tools can be great for less-experienced developers and also offer non-developers a way to help fill some of the developer supply shortfall. But the more interesting opportunity seems to be in low-code, no-code for taking over the undifferentiated, heavy development for experienced coders to boost their productivity.
These tools are often framed as being best suited for simple programming tasks, hence the complexity of development work assigned to more experienced developers may be less appropriate for LCNC approaches. Furthermore, experienced developers are likely to have mastery over simpler coding tasks, which leaves little room for the efficiency gains that low-code, no-code tools are often heralded for.
That’s a shame, as these are the group that might actually benefit the most.
The takeaway about low-code, no-code tools
I won’t quibble that low-code, no-code tooling is ill-equipped to take on the complex coding our best developers do, but there’s still plenty of boilerplate involved that LCNC tools can remove.
Though not exactly LCNC, for example, things like GitHub Copilot promise to help remove the banal “cruft” of coding so that developers of all experience levels can focus on the most important code.
SEE: 10 ways to prevent developer burnout (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
LCNC provider Unqork heralds a future of “codeless architecture,” and argues that it’s similar to serverless. You don’t do everything serverless, necessarily, but it can be a great way to complement your development with discrete services.
In other words: No, low-code, no-code tools aren’t a magical developer-in-a-box panacea. They won’t turn newbies into so-called “10X developers.” But could they turn 10X developers into 11X developers? Definitely maybe.
Disclosure: I work for MongoDB, but the views expressed herein are mine alone.
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