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If you’ve ever wanted to build an app but lack the coding expertise to do so, then you’ll probably be thrilled to learn about the existence of no-code/low-code platforms. No-code/low-code is almost exactly what it sounds like: it’s an approach to software development that requires little to no prior coding knowledge or experience.

With an increasing demand for app-building and web development, no-code platforms have surged in popularity not only due to their ease of access, but also because of their time and cost-saving abilities. However, this doesn’t mean that the web developer skill set is no longer needed! In fact, the rise of no-code/low-code is likely attributed to a shortage of traditional developers in the first place. Developers and their extensive coding knowledge are still very much an asset in any industry; at the same time, the simplicity and efficiency of no-code/low-code cannot be denied.

So, how do we reconcile these two seemingly opposing sides? Well, you’ve come to the right place. This article will explore how traditional web development can be integrated together with no-code platforms, and how developers can adapt and thrive amidst emerging no-code/low-code platforms. Integrating coding with no-code will in turn enhance collaboration and innovation in the tech industry, and will create opportunities for building, maintaining, and updating these tools.

The rise of no-code platforms

As you can probably tell by their name, no-code and low-code platforms do not rely on conventional coding languages; while traditional software programming requires developers to write code line by line, no-code and low-code platforms leverage visual elements like reusable drag-and-drop components to streamline the process into a workflow chart.

For some historical context, the transition to no-code/low-code solutions can be traced back to the early 2000s, when rapid application development (RAD) tools began to emerge. One of the driving forces behind this evolution can be attributed to an increasing shift towards the notion of the ‘citizen developer’.

As companies struggle to fill tech roles, there has been a need for non-technical employees to be able to develop websites and apps, tasks that, in the past, were typically handled by IT professionals. No-code and low-code platforms have practically revolutionized resource management in this case, allowing employees from other departments (dubbed ‘citizen developers’) to quickly, easily and efficiently build and test websites and apps.

The evolving role of web development

As noted earlier, the advent of no-code and low-code does not necessarily imply that developers are out of a job: after all, front-end, back-end and full-stack developers alike put in so much time, effort, and money into their education, learning essential skills and perfecting their craft. They also have to constantly upskill to stay up-to-date with emerging trends, typically done through online courses and bootcamps like those offered at Lighthouse Labs.

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The value of this hard-earned expertise is undeniable, as traditional web developers are still crucial for building complex and custom solutions. There are many tasks, including custom function development in WordPress, that cannot be replicated through no-code/low-code and indeed require traditional coding skills. Considering this interplay of no code vs. traditional coding, it seems that the role of developers will need to focus on more complex and value-added activities, while simple and repetitive tasks can be done by non-tech professionals in no-code or low-code platforms.

Not sure if web development is right for you? Learn more about what web development is here, and then learn more about what the career path looks like.

Enhancing collaboration with no-code platforms

It’s clear that both traditional web development and no-code platforms are here to stay, so the best way forward is to foster collaboration between technical developers and non-technical team members. Think of the partnership in the same way that we leverage artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT nowadays: although AI can certainly help us brainstorm ideas and get the ball rolling, the nuances of the human touch are still needed. By working together and integrating the two, the outcomes can be incredible.

One example of a successful collaboration between developers and non-developers can be seen in Dividend Finance, a company that offers financing solutions for eco-friendly home improvements like solar panels. Dividend Finance used the no-code platform Bubble.io to create a user-friendly and intuitive app for their customers, and while the initial workflows were created with no-code, the company brought in skilled developers to help with complex final touches like data management and backend integrations. In combining the power of no-code development with traditional coding, the app was a success: Dividend Finance saw a surge in customer acquisition and satisfaction, as well as “a remarkable uptick in productivity” internally.

Collaborative projects like that of Dividend Finance prove that skilled developers are still crucial, while also highlighting the benefits of involving non-tech team members in web projects. As we look to the future of the developer’s role, part of the evolution will be to empower ‘citizen developers’ to take the lead and contribute to tech projects using no-code platforms. This will not only foster a more inclusive and collaborative team environment within companies, but it will also help to alleviate the developer’s workload so they can focus on the more rigorous tasks like customization.

The impact of no-code on the job market

As no-code and low-code continue to gain popularity, you may be wondering about the future of web development jobs. The good news is that web developer roles are still highly in demand: in fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that web developer jobs are projected to grow by 16% from 2022 to 2032 in the United States. While developers will not be rendered obsolete, the relevant skills and varying needs of companies will definitely change.

One of the major trends in the developer job market right now is a high demand in industries where security, compliance and data governance is top priority. Although no-code platforms definitely have secure functionalities, apps and websites that deal with highly sensitive information (e.g. government resources) will require skilled developers to ensure that all data is kept safe and is resilient from hacks. For this reason, there will likely be an increase in back-end developer job postings and heightened demand for developers who specialize in security.

Another trend we will be seeing in the future of web development jobs is a spike in postings for managerial or senior developer roles, as opposed to more junior individual contributors. With the rise of no-code and the ‘citizen developer’, the evolving developer skill set will include having experience managing people as well as working cross-functionally in larger projects. As more companies leverage their ‘citizen developers’, traditional developers may be given more responsibility to lead projects and ensure that non-technical team members are on-track and progressing with their work.

Traditional developers will also need to adapt to the changing times and will need to focus on no-code upskilling. As we discussed earlier in terms of collaboration, developer roles will need to be familiar with no-code/low-code going forward, as part of the evolving requirements may involve training non-tech team members on how to use these platforms. Check out this LinkedIn article to learn more about how developers can integrate with no-code.

Since the tech landscape changes rapidly, upskilling is an inevitable part of the developer career; for this reason, requirements for developer roles will also begin to shift their focus towards important soft skills like communication, adaptability, problem-solving, and a passion for life-long learning. Due to the increase in collaboration with other teams, businesses will begin placing more emphasis on hiring developers who are patient team-players that will be willing to work cooperatively alongside non-technical team members.

If that sounds like you, learn more about other sought-after web development skills that you can pick up in your spare time.

Maximizing no-code platforms

It’s clear that no-code and low-code platforms are the key to enabling rapid development and innovation, so there are a variety of ways that businesses can leverage such tools. For one, the ease of no-code allows businesses to play around and experiment with different models before committing to full-scale development. This is not only a great cost-saving feature, but it is also something that allows for improved agility and flexibility, as the simplicity of no-code platforms allow for quick changes and updates to be made. This in turn speeds up the development cycle process as a whole, reducing the time it takes to launch a web solution to the public.

When it comes to more complex customization and integration, however, this is where businesses should bring in a developer. Skilled web developers can implement custom coding within no-code platforms, and can overall provide enhancements to no-code solutions by applying their expertise.

On another note, it’s also important for businesses to implement the right no-code platform for their needs, so companies should be very intentional with their no-code platform selection. There are many different tools out there to choose from that also range in price, so check out the list below to learn about each one and their unique features:

  • Bubble.io: Bubble.io is a highly collaborative app-building platform ideal for start-ups and businesses looking to prototype, launch and iterate quickly. You can start with a free plan to learn how to use the platform, but pricing upgrades range from $29/month to $349/month for a team with high usage.

  • WordPress: WordPress is a website-building tool and content-managing system (CMS) that is perfect for blogs and e-commerce websites. They have a great customer service and community support program, and also offer lots of different third-party plugins that you can connect to your domain. Pricing ranges from $5/month to $90/month, but you can also begin with the free plan to try it out.

  • Squarespace: Squarespace is another platform used to build websites. They offer visually appealing and professionally designed templates with simple drag-and-drop features that are intuitive to even the most inexperienced user. Great for small-business owners and entrepreneurs looking for a stylish and aesthetically pleasing online presence. Pricing ranges from $16-49 a month depending on the plan.

  • Wix Studio: Wix is a website creation tool with an embedded low-code program called Wix Studio. The platform leverages artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities and offers thousands of custom templates to choose from. Wix is a great platform for hosting creative portfolios and e-commerce websites, as the platform is very SEO-focused. Creating an account is free, but pricing can range from $17/month to $149/month.

  • Caspio: Caspio is a “point-and-click” low-code app-building tool that focuses on database integration and automation. The platform has unlimited user access and is a bit more code-dependent than the others: this can be great for integrating developers, but it also drives up the pricing (starts at $117/month).

  • Webflow: Webflow is an app and website-building platform that combines visual design with traditional coding. It allows users to take on a more creative role while the platform generates production-ready code in HTML, CSS and JavaScript that can then be handed to developers. Webflow has a free starter plan but also offers other pricing packages ranging from $14/month to $39/month.

No matter which no-code platform you end up choosing, keep in mind that this technology will never be able to fully replace the valuable skills of a developer. As you can tell by now, one of the major themes in the future of coding will be the vital collaboration between developers and non-developers. The success of your app or website will be dependent on creating a harmonious relationship between the two that will eventually become a model for enhancing innovation and efficiency.

Are you interested in becoming a web developer? Lighthouse Labs can help you unlock your potential in the evolving tech landscape. Check out this step-by-step guide on beginning your journey, including the option to enroll in our Web Development Bootcamp or our Intro to Web Development course. Make sure to also sign up for our newsletter to stay ahead in the no-code evolution.