While marketers have had a keen eye on low-code and no-code platforms for the past few years, hoping they would liberate them, to some degree, from overworked and stretched IT departments in creating apps and implementing updates, business and IT leaders haven’t been as fast on the uptake of the new technology.

That all changed with the COVID-19 pandemic, which, along with the Great Resignation, saw workers shift as businesses struggled to keep up and find skilled programming talent.

In fact, according to Evans Data Corporation, there is a global shortage of software developers. Currently, there are almost 26.9 million developers in the world, with an expected need for 38 million by 2024. The total number of world developers is expected to reach 28.7 million by 2024, leaving a shortfall of more than 9 million engineers.

Suddenly, low-code and no-code platforms that could potentially create citizen developers across an enterprise who can make and launch simple applications without the need for developer support seemed a lot more attractive.

This was only confirmed by a 2022 IDC survey, which found that 48.6% of enterprise respondents are purchasing low-code or no-code platforms to move innovation in-house. And 39.3% of respondents said purchasing these platforms was due to pandemic-related needs.

“Organizations saw value in low- and no-code platforms to help move fast to meet needs brought on by the pandemic,” IDC said.

According to Research and Markets, the global low-code development platform market, which was $12.5 billion in 2020, is predicted to see a 31.3% compound annual growth rate from 2020–2030, reaching $190.8 billion by 2030.

CEOs, CIOs and other members of the C-Suite can no longer ignore low-code and no-code platforms as a potential for cost savings and support for understaffed development departments. And while enabling citizen developers across an enterprise comes with a litany of issues and challenges, C-Suite executives need to pay attention and see how these platforms can be leveraged for business and customer value.

Gartner predicted that by 2025, 70% of new applications developed by enterprises will use low-code or no-code platforms or technology, up from less than 25% in 2020.

The Reality of Low-Code and No-Code

The first thing for C-Suite to do is separate the wheat from the chaff in the low-code and no-code debate.

According to Forrester, while low-code is usually associated with citizen developers like data-driven marketers and business technologists, the reality is about one-third of professional programmers use it to simplify code and speed up build times.

One of the biggest concerns with business technologies using low-code and no-code development tools is a lack of visibility into what people are doing with them, along with a lack of centralized control and planning across the enterprise. This practice is commonly referred to as shadow IT, where small groups or individuals around a company create and launch apps that may not always be aligned with corporate strategy.

Another challenge for IT organizations is figuring out how they will manage and scale those apps for use across the enterprise, as well as contain and track the associative cloud and storage costs for maintaining their new citizen developer apps.

Finally, in general, low-code and no-code solutions are expected to work best for less complex use cases with lower levels of customization.

Related Article: What's Behind the Explosion of Low-Code and No-Code Applications

Digital Transformation Needs Automation

As organizations accelerate their digital transformation plans to deal with shifts in consumer and business user behaviors, employees in these organizations face pressure to be more productive to meet evolving goals. But skilled talent is in high demand, and keeping those talented workers happy and in place is getting more challenging as well.

Learning Opportunities

A Salesforce MuleSoft survey found that 93% of organizations said the “Great Resignation” has made it more difficult for IT teams to retain skilled developers, while 86% said it has become more difficult to recruit them in the last two years.

“The demand for digital solutions was already outpacing the supply of software developers before the pandemic, but now it’s through the roof. Churn caused by the ‘Great Resignation’ is widening this gap even further,” said Matt McLarty, Global Field CTO & VP of the Digital Transformation Office, MuleSoft.

”For organizations to truly transform digitally, they need to do two things: first, give developers user-friendly tools that maximize their productivity, and secondly, give the rest of the knowledge workers in the organization tools that empower them to become engaged in building digital solutions, not just documenting requirements.”

The reality is developers are feeling burnt out from increased workloads and the demands being put on them with accelerated digital transformations. The hope with low-code and no-code platforms is that they will enable more automation to help free up developers to do more valuable work.

Ninety-one percent of organizations said they need solutions that automate key processes for developers so that they can do more with less.

Related Article: How to Be a Digital Transformation Champion

Looking Forward

C-Suite executives need to be aware of the current environment facing development talent in their organizations. There is not only projected to be a major developer shortage in the next few years, but current developers are experiencing record levels of burnout. They must look for alternate solutions to full-time development talent.

Automation technologies like low-code and no-code solutions can help empower a growing breed of business technologists who can play a more active role in digital transformation efforts with IT still maintaining needed oversight and control.

Ninety percent of organizations said that empowering more individuals across the business to integrate apps and data for themselves would significantly reduce pressure on developers and accelerate transformation.

The C-Suite needs to get behind low-code and no-code, and frankly, they probably don't have a choice in the matter.