How low-code solutions can help good developers become even better

The more experienced the developer, the less likely they are to use low-code and no-code solutions. This could be a bug.

Image: Inspirational Art/Adobe Stock

The more experienced a developer is, the less likely they are to use low-code/no-code tools. But that’s the point, right? Or is that it?

Get smart with low code or no code

According to a recent SlashData survey of 16,045 developers, developers use low-code and no-code tools for 20% of their coding. If you’re a professional developer, that number drops to 19%, versus 21% for hobbyists. That’s not a huge change, and it suggests developers won’t rely on LCNC tools for their most critical workloads.

“When it comes to reducing development overhead, addressing the challenge of finding qualified developers, and accelerating software to market, LCNC tools are becoming increasingly attractive,” the report says.

And while LCNC tools are rapidly increasing in sophistication, it remains true that approximately 54% of developers do not use LCNC tools at all. That is the glass half empty view of things. The glass-half-full view, however, points to 45% of developers using LCNC tools, which is an increase from just a trace not many years ago.

SEE: 10 ways to prevent developer burnout (Free PDF) (TechRepublic)

According to the survey, experienced developers, especially those with more than 10 years of experience, are the least likely cohort to use LCNC tools. As experience increases, developers are less likely to use LCNC tools. This is particularly true among those with more than ten years of experience.

Interestingly, the SlashData survey reveals that developers with three to ten years of experience are more likely to make the most use (25% to 75% of their coding) of LCNC tools. This could indicate that they are experienced enough to recognize the value of LCNC, but not experienced enough to be “too good” for such tools.

Use cases for low-code and 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 gap. But the most interesting opportunity seems to be at LCNC to take on heavy and undifferentiated development for experienced coders to increase their productivity.

These tools are often framed as best suited for simple programming tasks, so the complexity of development work assigned to more experienced developers may be less appropriate for LCNC approaches. Furthermore, experienced developers are likely to master the simplest coding tasks, leaving little room for the efficiency gains that are often heralded with LCNC tools.

It’s a shame, as this is the group that could actually benefit the most.

LCNC: The Takeaway

SEE: Business leaders as developers: The rise of no-code and low-code software (Free PDF) (TechRepublic)

I’m not going to quibble that the LCNC tools aren’t well-equipped to take on the complex coding that our best developers do, but there are still a lot of “boilerplate” elements involved that the LCNC tools can remove.

While not exactly LCNC, for example, things like GitHub Copilot promise to help take the banal “crunch” out of coding so developers of all experience levels can focus on the most important code.

LCNC provider Unqork advertises a future “no code architecture” and argues that it is similar to serverless architecture. It doesn’t do everything serverless, necessarily, but it can be a great way to supplement your development with discrete services.

In other words: no, LCNC tools are not a magic bullet for developers in a box. They will not turn newbies into so-called “10X developers”. But could they turn 10X developers into 11X developers? It definitely can be.

Disclosure: I work for MongoDB, but the opinions expressed here are my own.

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