Future-Proofing Development with Low-Code/No-Code Solutions in the Age of AI

Here's how low-code/no-code solutions are addressing the developer shortage and transforming application development.

5 Min Read
2 programmers looking at 2 screens of code

By Scott Willson, Head of Product, xtype

Let's set the scene. You're an entrepreneur, a business owner, or a tech enthusiast with a great idea, and you want to turn that idea into a platform or application. You look to a team of developers, and after they input line after line of code, your dream is realized.

Except it's never that simple. Developers face the mammoth task of meticulously writing and testing code, managing mishaps and errors along the way, and rapidly trying to rectify broken code when your solution is open to customers or users. It's no wonder that coding is considered one of the most complex disciplines, and as a result, the hiring pool for experienced programmers is shrinking.

How Low-Code/No-Code Is Addressing the Talent Shortage

Low-code/no-code (LCNC) solutions have been around for longer than you may expect, with their foundations originating from the development of 4GLs (fourth-generation languages) during the 1970s, '80s, and '90s colliding with Rapid Application Development and Model Driven Development methodologies of the '90s and '00s. LCNC grew steadily in popularity throughout the early 2010s, but this cornerstone of burgeoning tech was not christened until 2014, when Forrester coined the phrase "low-code," referring to development platforms centered around coding without needing to know how to code. Less technical users can simply drag and drop their way to producing a functional app, and the popularization of low-code platforms has given rise to the no-code "citizen developer," meaning users of all skill levels can code without even needing to know a programming language.

Related:AI-Assisted Development Tools vs. Low-Code/No-Code: What to Use When

Since 2014, the demand for low-code (and subsequently no-code) developers has grown exponentially. Low-code applications promise a speed that classic coding simply cannot compete with, especially as these solutions provide immunity to the skills crisis we are seeing not just amongst engineers but throughout the whole of tech. Estimates suggest that LCNC requires 70% fewer resources, making it an attractive and cost-effective way for businesses to develop and update their applications. Low-code/no-code solutions are a hot topic in the world of development, with Forrester predicting the global low-code and no-code market could reach $50 billion by 2028.

A Skyrocketing Ecosystem That Is Worth the Hype

And it's no surprise why. Low-code/no-code is flexible, adaptable, and, above all, scalable. Digital transformation continues to be the name of the game for everyone, from startups to enterprises, and each iteration of digital transformation requires better deployment lifecycles to keep up. Businesses are looking to meet customer expectations and reduce development costs in a hassle-free way, and one of the reasons LCNC has grown to be a beloved tool in the developer's arsenal is that it can do just this while adjusting in line with your workflow needs.

Related:An Enterprise Guide to Low-Code/No-Code Services

LCNC supports the continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) methodology, which is essential to the culture of agile innovation that all businesses must align with should they want to be in it for the long term.

Why Low-Code/No-Code Still Has a Vital Role to Play in the Age of AI

With the rise of generative AI and coding co-pilots, including large language models such as ChatGPT, the power to produce code is more accessible than ever. Rather than rendering low-code/no-code (LCNC) solutions obsolete, these advancements in AI are poised to enhance and enrich LCNC capabilities. Generative AI can quickly generate relevant code from user input, significantly accelerating development processes and reducing the need for extensive manual coding.

A 2023 study highlighted the need for vigilance when using AI tools, as security gaps may exist. However, this presents an opportunity for LCNC platforms to integrate AI to enhance code quality and security. LCNC environments can be the perfect playground for AI, where AI-generated code can be easily validated, tested, and optimized within a controlled, modular system.

Experienced developers and citizen developers alike benefit from this synergy. While AI handles routine coding tasks, developers can focus on more complex, high-value problem-solving. This collaboration drives innovation, with citizen developers leveraging AI to efficiently and visually or verbally assemble components needed for an application. The AI-powered LCNC platforms can boost a company's innovation score, streamline development processes, and maintain the high standards required for secure and effective software solutions.

Think of low-code/no-code as the ultimate assist to prototyping, where AI adds the latest functionalities and features to applications without requiring a time-consuming total overhaul. While LLMs may currently have limitations in producing context-specific code for complex tasks, their integration with LCNC platforms can mitigate these issues. LCNC provides the application and business context that AI might miss, ensuring a consistent and high-quality development lifecycle.

Leveraging Low-Code/No-Code for Future Success

In today's competitive landscape, time is everything, and future-proofing development is a necessity in tech. There is an overwhelming demand for the development process to be streamlined, not only from time-crunched engineers but from the users of platforms and applications who expect a bug-free, high-performance, and engaging experience. This year, almost 70% of the world's applications are expected to be built on LCNC platforms, showing that this democratizing technology has a firm place in the software landscape. Future-proofing your organization's development requires a strategic and intentional approach, and as AI improves in this area, low-code/no-code solutions will continue to provide the proven sustainable, proactive, and results-driven outcomes that we need for future success.

About the author:

Scott Willson has over 20 years of technology experience that spans software development across financial services, manufacturing, government, and tech industries. Professionally, Scott has built software, managed professional services, sold and implemented software, and is currently applying that background to marketing. Scott is passionate about technology and helping businesses achieve value through technology and was leading DevOps at organizations before it was coined DevOps. He has also co-authored papers for the DevOps Enterprise Forum.

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