Corporate demand for new applications is booming, accelerated by key business initiatives like process automation and business transformation. Overwhelmed by new app requests, most IT and development teams simply can’t keep up.

Professional developers are in short supply, with backlogs bottlenecking business initiatives. These circumstances have created a severe app shortfall, with 77% of app requests going unmet.

The no-code movement can help fill the gap between app demand and supply.

With no code tools, non-programmer employees can build the apps they need without writing a single line of code or sending a support ticket to IT.

But what does this mean for software developers?

Will they have a place in this new business environment? One where everyday employees have the power to build custom applications with ease?

The truth is that software developers are in for some changes.

What Is the No-Code Movement?

At a very high level, the no-code movement democratizes application development. It empowers non-IT employees to create custom applications and integrations.

For a while, IT and professional programmers have been solely responsible for application development. Now, employees with no coding skills can build custom applications.

By distributing development capabilities, the no-code movement allows businesses to create more business apps without overworking their IT departments.

No-code also speeds up app development while significantly lowering costs. This allows businesses to tackle backlogs without burning through more resources.

With no-code tools, business-unit employees can create apps to improve their workflows without over-relying on IT. Plus, they can use their direct experience to build apps that better meet their needs.

Businesses can also transform their workflows with no-code apps that automate manual processes and integrate disparate data systems. IT backlog drops. Workflows become streamlined. Employees can do more with less.

While no-code platforms depend on a simple drag-and-drop interface, specialized no-code tools really shine for specific use cases.

Notable no-code tools include Shopify for eCommerce, Bubble for desktop and mobile apps, Glide for data-intensive web apps, and Webflow for custom websites.

You can easily find the right no-code tool that meets your business needs.

Who Are Citizen Developers? (and Why You Need Them)

Citizen developers are non-IT employees who use a low-code or no-code platform to develop applications that solve problems in their everyday jobs.

Unlike professional developers, they are business unit employees first and developers second.

Their hands-on employee perspective makes them uniquely qualified to apply technology to improve their everyday processes and workflows. Low-code/no-code tools give them the power to make those improvements directly.

Citizen developers support IT and complement scarce IT resources.

Many organizations need citizen development to keep pace with increasing application demand. Done properly, they can leverage citizen developers for competitive advantage.

The No-Code Movement’s Increasing Popularity

The increasing need for new business apps combined with persistent IT backlogs increasingly drives employees to take control.

Employees want smarter ways of working. They don’t want to drown in menial, time-consuming, repetitive tasks. They find them soul-draining and unrewarding.

And with increasing pressures to perform in their jobs, they need solutions that reduce these monotonous tasks so they can focus more on strategic projects.

Employers also feel the pressure of shrinking bottom lines and the push to stay agile. Cost reduction and increased productivity are constant concerns.

Ultimately, employees who waste time on administrative tasks that don’t move the needle have less time to focus on meeting customer needs and business goals.

No-code offers a solution to all these problems.

These tools allow anyone in the organization to develop apps that help them do their jobs better.

The no-code moment continues to increase in popularity. By 2023, businesses will use low-code or no-code technologies to build 70% of new applications.

In the process, no-code will continue to democratize software development and empower employees to develop their own apps.

No-Code vs. Low-Code Apps

No-code vs. low-code platforms share similarities but are not the same. In practice, no-code and low-code serve different users building different types of applications.

Attribute Low-Code No-code
Primary Users Professional Developers + Citizen Developers Citizen Developers
Key Rapid Development Ease-of-Use
Coding Required Low/Minimal None Needed
App Complexity Moderate to High Simple
Customization Capabilities Total Limited/Pre-Built Templates Only
Locked Platform? Unlocked, Applications Are Portable Dependent on Platform

Despite these differences, the impact no-code and low-code will have on businesses and software development are similar.

9 Ways the No-Code Apps Will Change Software Development

Organizations need more apps to meet urgent business goals and satisfy customer demands.

However, scarce IT resources create a development bottleneck that interferes with new app production.

No-code is a disruptive solution that empowers employees to pick up the slack in application development. The benefits are immense.

Here are 9 ways no-code apps impact software development.

1. Faster Application Development + Launch

No-code apps are faster to develop and launch than apps created using traditional methods and tools. Whereas a conventional development cycle can take months (or years!), no-code apps can launch in days or weeks.

No-code platforms don't require a steep learning curve, either. They are as simple to use as any drag-and-drop interface. Intended for non-technical employees, most come with easy-to-understand documentation and accessible training materials.

This means your organization can implement a no-code solution quickly. And you need to be prepared for the impact it will have on software development.

2. Reduced App Development Costs

Traditional development costs are high. Ongoing costs can be steep, too. If IT maintains an app, they typically impose chargebacks that continue for its entire service life.

A conventional app development team may include several highly-paid professional programmers making an average salary of $132k.

Additionally, teams often have one or more project managers, UI designers, and DBMS administrators and incur IT resource chargebacks.

On the other hand, a no-code “development team” may consist of only one or two part-time employees. Labor costs are minimal. It also reduces IT overhead as organizations won’t have to hire more developers.

As a result, IT teams may see an increase in the budget for addressing more critical issues.

3. No Programming Knowledge Needed

Unlike traditional programming languages and tools, no-code platforms require no coding knowledge or skills. Anyone within an organization can build an app. All they need to do is drag and drop pre-built modules to assemble desired workflows or processes.

Users without technical knowledge become citizen developers and create great apps themselves. No-code gives them the power to create meaningful change.

And they can do it without writing a single programming script or line of code.

For organizations with backlogs of support tickets, developers can delegate many of these minor issues back to the employee they impact. With a no-code platform, they’ll be better positioned to address the issue.

4. Improved Project Management

No-code projects have fewer moving parts and people than conventional development. This makes project management less complicated.

There are fewer tasks and people to track and (typically) fewer mistakes.

In some ways, project management becomes “self-serve.” The no-code developer can often manage a project independently.

While you still need to provide oversight and guardrails, developers can again delegate tasks.

This frees them up to focus on challenges that require a higher level of programming knowledge to solve.

Unlike rigid turnkey solutions, no-code enables you to build a customized app tailored to your business requirements.

Rather than being constrained by the limitations and workflows of a turnkey app, you start with a clean slate.

Turnkey solutions are generic by nature. Most take a swiss army knife approach to app design that is rarely a precise fit for any given use case. Customization is often difficult or impossible.

No-code adapts to your processes and workflows. You don’t have to force your business to fit the tool.

Inspired by this level of customization, businesses may turn to their software developers to create more custom solutions

6. Inspires Creativity, Ingenuity, and Autonomy

Traditionally, technology like app development completely depended on IT. Non-IT employees made suggestions or requests.

However, they had little autonomy. Instead, they were stuck with what IT created.

No-code gives these employees new autonomy. This autonomy can spur creativity and reward ingenuity. The democratization of app development encourages employees to think outside the box and take positive action.

They can also apply their expertise directly rather than see IT as gatekeepers.

With more people building applications in your organization, there are more collaboration opportunities. Software and citizen developers can work closer together, gaining new appreciation and understanding of the demands each group faces.

7. Shrinks IT Backlog + Demand

Competing priorities and projects often overwhelm most IT departments.

Rising demand for new business apps has only made life more difficult for IT departments, and 64% report a backlog of application development requests.

As many as 77% of IT teams admitted that new app requests often go met. And 88% of developers expect their workloads to increase in the next year.

Software developers often feel pulled in many differing directions. No-code eases that chaos and helps make the workload more manageable.

8. Empowers IT

The no-code movement supports IT by taking the lead on new business app development. Instead, they can focus on aligning business strategy and technology.

They can also provide oversight, guidance, and guardrails for citizen developers. This ensures any applications your team creates support business goals and remain compliant.

9. Increases Competitiveness

With more than 87% of companies pursuing digital solutions, competition is fierce. Any competitive edge technology that can give your business is worth considering.

The no-code movement can help your business get ahead of the competition. It can enable you to develop critical apps that offer unique value without burning your IT budget.

When your business wins, your team wins. Developers can see increased budgets, reduced stress, and a better work environment resulting from reaching business goals.

Downsides of the No-Code Apps

No-code isn’t perfect.

There are some downsides compared to low-code or traditional application development. In fact, no code may not be a good fit for some projects or use cases.

Businesses and IT departments need to be aware of its shortcomings.

Minimal App Customization

No-code enables only limited customization. It uses pre-built, modular components that work well for their designed purpose. But you can’t usually customize or modify these.

Not Turnkey

No-code isn’t a turnkey or ready-made solution that you simply purchase and deploy. It doesn’t start working out of the box. To realize its value, you must design and build an application.

Vendor Lock

Some no-code platforms closely tie developed applications to the underlying, generated code. As a result, they lack portability. And it can be difficult or impossible for those platforms to migrate your finished app to another tool.

No-Code Movement: Fears and Objections

The no-code movement can be scary for the IT and developer communities. Many of these fears and objectives reflect a simple aversion to change. However, some concerns are relevant.

IT concerns often result from a perceived loss of control over app development. And these concerns are often legitimate as low-quality no-code apps could lead to security vulnerabilities, integration problems, or shadow IT.

Establishing a citizen development framework to govern no-code development can alleviate these concerns.

Professional developers may perceive no-code development as a potential threat to their jobs. While no-code tools grow more advanced, they are only suited for creating simple apps.

Professional programmers are still the go-to resource for complex apps for the foreseeable future.

The No-Code Movement and the Future of IT

The no-code movement isn’t going to replace IT, traditional application development, or software engineers any time soon.

But it will have a significant impact on all three.

No-code tools enable citizen developers to take the lead in application development. IT staff can focus on enterprise systems, security, and administration. And professional programmers can concentrate on complex applications and problem resolution.

No-code doesn’t solve every problem. However, it is a powerful automation tool that innovative companies can use to create a competitive advantage.