Since 2017, the market for low-code development platforms began to increase dramatically, starting from $3.8 billion in 2017. According to the latest reports, the market will rise to $45.5 billion by 2025. A 2019 report from Gartner suggests that 65 percent of global applications will involve low-code development by 2024.
What Is Low-Code Software Development?
These numbers may seem mind-blowing but how do they stack up against the old-school software development market?
- According to Gartner, the IT industry will spend $4.5 trillion on sophisticated enterprise software globally in 2022. This is 5.5 percent more than in 2021.
- The last two years have seen a rapid rise in software automation development. This expansion reaches from healthcare to transportation to retail — even to manufacturing industries. Computer Weekly attributes this rapid growth to factors stemming from Covid-19 work-from-home policies.
- Evans Data Corporation says there are 26.9 million software developers worldwide, and this number will increase to 27.7 million in 2023 and 28.7 million by 2024.
So, what does this mean in the long run? Does low-code development replace high-code development? The short answer is no. Rather, both will coexist in the rapidly changing technology market.
As a co-founder and CEO of a software development company, I can’t stress this enough: The demand for developers grows by the day; the tech job market is hot. We witness just how hot every day when working with our clients to provide software development outsourcing services.
Because of the demand for developers, more corporations are looking into democratizing development processes. Low-code and no-code solutions serve as a helping hand for those who can’t afford (or wait) to hire a professional development team.
What Is Low-Code Development?
Let me briefly explain no-code development and then share a bit more about its low-code counterpart.
No-code development means that you don’t need to know how to code at all to build a website or app. Anyone can create a product or service using no-code software. Squarespace is an excellent example of a no-code solution that allows you to build a website from scratch using drag-and-drop wizards.
Low-code development means you only need to have a basic grasp of coding fundamentals because you’re making use of a graphical user interface (GUI) rather than diving into traditional hand-coding. Developers who are just entering the market use low-code to build simple apps or enhance their existing apps with additional functionality. Also, low-code development can reduce the amount of code needed and make it easier and faster to deliver a piece of software.
When Should I Use Low-Code Development?
- When you’re building an MVP
- When you’re automating a manual process
- When you’re entering new platforms
- When you’re migrating legacy apps
Low-Code Development: The Pros and Cons
As with any development process, low-code has its pros and cons.
Pros of Low-Code Development
Less Time to Develop an MVP
No doubt, a low-code solution takes much less time to develop the final product. It’s also a great way to create a minimum viable product (MVP) and see what needs to be changed and improved. In contrast, developing complex software takes months to deliver and won’t be a great solution if speed is your priority.
Low-code development is cheap and fast, while a complex development project takes major investments of time and money. Again, priorities should dictate which solution is better for a particular project, especially for this reason.
There’s limited need for testing low-code solutions. Most critical nodes pass testing out of the box. However, when it comes to usability, accessibility and finding inconsistencies in the overall workflow, the process is pretty much the same as with custom-built software.
Cons of Low-Code Development
Lack of Security
Even children can build decent software with a low-code solution; the barriers to entry are as low as they can be. However, the easier a software development process, the greater the chance of bugs in your code. This means your software may have security loopholes or systemic risks to data protection.
Difficult to Scale
A low-code platform is easy to use and allows for project delivery relatively fast. But what if you want to scale it, add third-party integrations or ship new composite features? Time-wise, complex development will cost less than changing platforms and hiring a development team in the middle of your process.
Lack of Customization
Because low-code development tools focus on a general audience, they lack personalization but frankly speaking, it’s impossible to build something that precisely fits every use case anyway. However, when a developer has a specific audience in mind and a business case outlined, the higher their chances are of building something unique and outstanding.
When Do Low-Code Solutions Work?
Here are four cases when low- and no-code platforms are worth a shot.
1. Use Low-Code Development When You’re Building an MVP
When you’re developing a minimum viable product, you need to do it fast. In this case, speed is the real advantage of a low-code platform.
2. Use Low-Code Development When You’re Automating a Manual Process
It’s clear that if your goal is to lower costs by automating manual processes, low-code or no-code solutions are your best options.
3. Use Low-Code Development When You’re Entering New Platforms
Suppose a company wants to introduce its users to VR or AR (augmented reality), but the platforms are completely new to the business. In that case, a low-code platform can help the company attract new users and increase the chances of satisfying critical key performance indicators (KPIs) such as retention and satisfaction.
4. Use Low-Code Development When You’re Migrating Legacy Apps
A low-code platform is an excellent option for migrating a legacy app to provide its current users with better UI/UX.
Can Low-Code Software Replace Developers?
One of our regular fintech clients contacted us. They wanted to launch a startup and needed to build an MVP that:
- clearly demonstrated the product (to shareholders) for which they wished to receive funding
- established a proof of concept
Intellectsoft allocated a small team from R&D and created a working MVP in three months. During this stage, our team used only low- and no-code instruments. Such an approach helped us make a functional tool quickly, so decision makers could see and touch the future product. Then, we ran extensive tests and collected initial feedback from the first round of customers we tested.
We picked up on specific business details during the MVP stage which allowed us to significantly reduce the time of business analysis and create the completed version sooner. When all was said and done, the product passed the budget committee and received total funding. The roadmap for the next year was approved shortly after that and it already included a fully fledged development.
Having a team of developers allows you to add more in-depth functionality to your solution as well as easily maintain it so you never have to worry about major outages. Sharing the responsibility and letting the professionals do what they do best is an efficient way for your business to grow.
Also, implementing requested functionality is far easier with a dedicated development team. Low-code platforms, unfortunately, can’t provide the high level of flexibility needed to create complex software solutions.
There really isn’t any platform out there capable of covering all possible needs. For example, some solutions work great for online stores while others are best for process automation.
Low-code and no-code solutions will undoubtedly democratize the development market, thereby allowing more people to enter SaaS and try their hand at software development. Even though software may be eating the world, developers are still running it.