Can Low-Code Tools End the Developer Shortage?

Low-code tools help development teams do more with less.

Written by Jason Beres
Published on Nov. 02, 2022
Can Low-Code Tools End the Developer Shortage?
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With more companies investing in digital transformation, artificial intelligence, big data and other tech-focused initiatives, the need for development talent has grown to an all-time high. 

More than half (58 percent) of IT executives say that they already have increased, or are planning on increasing, emerging technology investments. And while these initiatives are critical to moving the business forward, they’re stretching existing teams thin. 

4 Benefits of Low-Code Tools

  1. They can eliminate the need to hand-code HTML and CSS
  2. They remove the complexity and time involved in writing data-binding and access code.
  3. They help designers and developers work together more efficiently.
  4. They help make design systems easier to manage.

Companies can’t hire fast enough, or at all, so they’re forced to use existing talent for these bigger initiatives while still tasking them with legacy projects. This is not sustainable in the long term and will end up negatively impacting revenue and growth as fewer projects are started and completed — and delayed altogether.

The developer shortage isn’t going away anytime soon, with the United States expected to have a shortage of 1.2 million developers by 2026. If companies can’t hire more people, how can they successfully drive new innovation while keeping existing projects running?

It’s time to look at low-code tools. 

Low-code tools help development teams do more with less. In fact, low-code developers are growing at a compounded annual rate of more than 40 percent, but it’s not fast enough.

Only 26 percent of developers currently work with a design team, leaving nearly three out of four developers to also act as UI designers, according to research from Infragistics’ App Builder. This splits their time to focus on developer-specific tasks and also relegates much of their time to design-specific tasks. 

If these development teams can get even a third of their time back through low-code tools — or even more in many cases — they’ll have the time to execute on tech-focused corporate initiatives, for instance digital transformation or moving to the cloud,  that drive revenue for their companies.

Here are three ways that companies can embrace a low-code development culture to accelerate app delivery and achieve strategic corporate goals without overburdening teams.

More Reading on Low-Code ToolsThese 20 Low-Code Platforms Will Streamline Your Development Process

 

Stop Hand-Coding HTML and CSS

Developers continue to spend time on tasks such as screen design, layout and hand-crafted HTML and CSS. For example, nearly half of developers say HTML/CSS slows them down the most. Another 27 percent saying that screen design and layout slows them down the most. With the state of low-code tools and the efficiency, accuracy and quality they can produce in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) tool, no developer or development team should be hand-coding HTML and CSS.

Almost one-third of developers note that writing data-binding code is the biggest drag on their time. Building Web APIs and using a low-code tool with point-and-click data binding can all but remove the complexity and time-consuming nature of writing data-binding and data-access code. Again, this frees developers to spend time on initiatives that move the needle for their business. 

At Infragistics, we build application templates for App Builder, Infragistics’ low-code tool. The application templates have multiple screens, include rich interactions and are visually stunning. Our lead designer on App Builder can deliver an app in a single day this way, compared with well over a week using hand coding. 

 

Unite the Design and Development Tools Stack

Designers typically do their tooling in one corner, while developers use their own suite of tooling in another. This creates today’s biggest app development challenge: streamlining app creation from design to code. 

The designer-to-developer handoff has consistently been a big challenge and a source of frustration for design and development teams. It can also drain time and productivity among teams, meaning less time for developers to work on other projects. 

To drive efficiency, teams must find connection points with design-to-code low-code tools, where design is handed off to development with usable HTML, CSS and Code. This means tooling that delivers maintainable, updatable, production-ready code, not the black-box spaghetti code developers fear. 

Further Reading on DevelopersNo-Code Platforms Are Creating a New (Better?) Class of Developers

 

Make Low-Code Tools Part of a Bigger Design System

Design systems work. Effective use of a design system creates a consistent set of rules for the look, feel, behavior and accessibility of an application. They also get design, development, product management and delivery managers all speaking the same language, using the same terms, delivering faster with reduced defects while sticking with brand compliance. 

It’s easier to manage the design process if everyone on the team uses the same tool, and that tool includes user tests, analytics and reporting from those tests, interactive prototypes and actual code to build an application. Collaboration is seamless and efficient when low-code tools are part of this design system.

Working together and using a design system with low-code and design-to-code tools, digital product teams can see benefits of up to 70 percent in time savings. While low-code tools are not a replacement for people, they can automate repetitive tasks and drive efficiencies in teams that can free developers up for new initiatives that will drive revenue and growth for businesses.

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