“No-code is a technology that allows anyone to create custom apps and workflows, regardless of their technical ability, using a visual interface.” – National Today
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – March 11, 2022, marks the inaugural celebration of National No-Code Day. The term “no-code” is shorthand for a style of software development that does not require coding.
“No code just means you’re not writing code,” said Atrin Assa, who is responsible for Low-Code Machine Learning at SAS. “It’s taking work that could be done in a programmatic way and letting people do it in a drag-and-drop, intuitive way, that more people can do. So it’s the market democratizing the process of creating applications and doing analytics.”
The No-Code Boom
The new National No-Code Day marks a boom in no-code development.
“It’s a concept and a term that’s really gotten a lot of hype,” said Brian Reale, founder and CEO of ProcessMaker, a multi-national automation software company headquartered in Durham. “It’s been around for a while, but, the last 12-15 months, it’s sort of exploded.”
According to research firm Gartner, no-code tools and similar “low-code” tools will account for an estimated 65% of all application development by 2024.
“When we say ‘low code’, we’re talking about technologies that possibly require a little bit of coding involvement, but not necessarily a lot of technical knowledge about what is happening behind the scenes,” said Assa. “No code, you’re using drag and drop UIs, you are working with things in a very intuitive way… building applications or websites, or reports and dashboards, or models for other people to use and consume.”
“Eventually, everything will be no-code, low-code,” said Reale. “In another five years, people won’t use that term because it’ll just be an expectation. It’s like, you don’t call your phone a digital phone anymore. It’s just a phone—it is digital, but the novelty of that has worn off, everyone knows you’re not talking about a rotary dial phone anymore.”
The Impact of No-Code and Low-Code on Talent Shortage
Writing for WRAL TechWire, Tom Snyder, executive director of RIoT, commented on the effect that the no-code movement could have on the current software development labor shortage.
“No-code and low-code software tools are proliferating, lowering the educational barrier to entry to high-paying jobs,” writes Snyder. “A tremendous number of technology positions exist that do not require a four-year college degree, making them accessible to those for which college was out of reach, or who are in mid-career transition.”
The no-code movement empowers professionals with domain expertise to overcome the coding barrier, allowing almost anyone to solve business problems with software solutions—no code required.
“A lot of companies and organizations right now are experiencing pretty severe labor shortages when it comes to data scientists, people with analytical expertise,” said Assa. “So what we are looking at, and something that we’ve been looking at for a long time at SAS, has been delivering drag and drop, user-friendly, intuitive interfaces for people to be able to do some of this heavy lifting in analytics without having to learn how to write code or to have that developer expertise.”
No-Code and Low-Code Means Faster Development
Companies may also use no-code and low-code tools to iterate faster.
“It’s not just for people who don’t want to program code,” said Assa. “One of the really cool things that it lets you do is it lets you prototype your ideas or get ideas down on the page really quickly. So even if you’re a fully experienced, world-class developer, you might actually use low-code, no-code tools to help accelerate your work, to help you generate ideas, possibly take those ideas to completion.”
For domain experts who want to solve a business problem, but who do not have a technical background, no-code and low-code tools could be the key to developing a prototype without hiring a development team.
“People are taking ideas and using a low-code framework,” said Reale, “and so now, you could be less technical, and you could have a startup, and go to a market without developing something from scratch.”
Zapier Launches No Code Contest
A common example of a no-code tool is Zapier, a no-code automation tool that is also the brand behind National No Code Day. The new holiday will be celebrated annually on March 11.
Zapier is also launching a No-Code Contest, with a $25,000 grand prize for the most innovative use of no-code tools. Entries are due by April 13.