How Pro-Coders and Low-Coders Can Find Common Ground
Pro-coders and low-coders can work together if each recognizes the unique talents and skills the other brings to enterprises.
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The Search for Faster, More Affordable App Development
In my work within the mobile app development industry, I've witnessed a significant evolution in recent years. More line of business professionals are building apps than IT teams. Everyone across the business is now seeing the potential of building an app to streamline their work and respond to market threats and opportunities faster. They want to use low-code solutions to collect, share and analyze more business data on mobile devices.
While low-code app development can deliver the efficiency and savings these business leaders hope for, it's important leaders realize the ongoing need for traditional coding and experienced developers within their organizations. Traditional coding remains important in modern organizations.
The Democratization of App Development
There’s a generational shift going on right now between traditional, professional coders and those who use low-code/no-code platforms to get work done. Low-code/no-code is the new kid in town and becoming ascendant. Gartner estimates that by 2025, 70% of all applications will be written using low-code or no-code, up from less than 25% in 2020.
The truth is, though, traditional coding and go hand in hand. There is a need for both methods of developing apps in modern business. But finding the right balance and establishing a healthy team culture within your business can be challenging. That often has less to do with technology than with cultural differences and experience levels between professional coders and those who use new app development tools.
One Low-Code Developer's Story
In the Forbes article “Why Pro-Coders And Low-Coders Should Be Friends,” Earl Duque, Why Pro-Coders And Low-Coders Should Be Friends,” offers lessons from his own experience in how the two sides can find common ground. Duque has always been used. He writes about the cultural problems that cropped up between him and a professional developer in his workplace – and how they were transcended.
Both he and the professional developer, he says, arrogantly believed their way of coding was the only proper way. He felt that the professional developer was wedded to the past and was not a “people person” – a loner who had problems working with others. The professional developer held the position that “real men don’t use low-code” and felt it was little more than a toy.
On the other hand, Duque explains that as a low-code developer, he spent less time writing code and more time in strategic meetings where he considered solutions that addressed customer needs and implemented best practices.
The two of them, however, managed to find a way to work together by better understanding the point of view of the other. And others can do it as well, Duque believes, by following his advice.
Professional coders, he says, need to recognize that it’s important to write apps with low-code because it’s easier to fix low-code apps than it is trying to debug spaghetti code. They also need to recognize that “You will have more time to be creative writing the pro-code exceptions while letting the low-code platform address everything that is repeatable and standard.” And pro-coders need to keep in mind that onboarding will be faster and development time cut by using low-code.
Can't Low-Code Can't Solve Every Problem?
Low-code software solutions can enable workers across organizations to digitize paper processes, improve field service dispatch, speed scheduling, and more. However, low-code advocates must recognize that not all problems can be solved with low-code and no-code development.
In certain cases, writing complex code may be necessary to customize apps, integrate them and secure them to meet business requirements. Many enterprises still rely on legacy applications written with complex code. These applications, such as the thousands of Microsoft Access applications still used at many organizations, are often still driving business activity. They will need to be updated and maintained by professional developers for some time.
Important Low-Code Software Considerations
In addition to creating a healthy culture between pro-developers and low-code or no-code developers, companies must carefully introduce low-code software into their organizations, or they risk frustration from both sets of users. When apps fail to meet security requirements, proper data governance, best practices for usability, or fail to update properly, that reflects poorly on the entire organization.
As more emerged in modern organizations, it's important to find low-code solutions that encourage best practices for app development while also giving professional developers the ability to code. For example, while many no-code, drag-and-drop app builders create apps quickly, they lack the flexibility needed by professional developers looking to access and integrate securely with corporate databases or web services, establish role-based security or add robust offline functionality.
Helping Developers of All Skill Levels Find Common Ground
With a flexible and sophisticated low-code software solution and a culture of respect and collaboration, companies can dramatically increase their app creation pipeline while improving app quality and business performance.
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