Software development skills are needed around the world. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand is so high that it is expected to grow 22% through 2029. Comparatively, the average growth rate for all occupations is only around 4%.
Yet, despite the high demand, the supply hasn’t been able to match up as software development has been long seen as a complex and difficult field to master. However, with the introduction of NoCode tools, non-coders have found success in building web applications, making easier integrations and launching websites.
One of the major movers in the NoCode space, Webflow recently reached a $2.1 billion valuation following a successful $140 million Series B funding round. To get a better understanding of the reasons behind such a valuation and what it could mean to the industry at large, we spoke to leaders and practitioners to hear what they had to say.
Growth of the NoCode Industry
The way we think about software development continues to change. The NoCode phenomenon has primarily been seen as a way to empower non-technical personnel to build software without having to hire a developer. According to Rokas Jurkėnas, founder and CEO at Stillwater, MN-based, NoCode development agency Idea Link, “the reason why this industry is growing is because this trend allows people to create fully functional software products even if they have no programming background,” said Jurkėnas.
While non-developers have found fortune by turning to NoCode tools, developers have also been able to benefit from not having to do tedious and repetitive tasks. “NoCode tools allow them to subtract the nitty-gritty details and focus on the main picture, the main logic of the product they are working on,” added Jurkėnas.
NoCode tools provide great promise for those that use them, whether they are non-technical or technical users. However, they seem to be gaining even more attention as a result of the acceleration towards digital transformation.
CEO at Boston, MA.-based, workflow automation company, airSlate Borya Shakhnovich believes that NoCode tools are trying to fill a void caused by the software development talent scarcity. “Now, with this accelerating shift to remote work and business, we are really seeing this perfect storm for NoCode solutions to shine,” said Shakhnovich. Now everyone has the capabilities to make improvements throughout the organization.
The belief that forced digital transformations have been the catalyst for NoCode software is also echoed by co-founder and CEO at San Mateo, CA.-based, Shogun Finbarr Taylor. As more companies have had to adapt their product offerings to the digital landscape, these tools are even more crucial, especially for those dipping their toes into the waters of ecommerce. “The NoCode software market has been integral in helping traditional businesses digitize their in-store experiences on their own without having to hire expensive developers,” said Taylor.
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So where does this growth leave Webflow? Are they the industry leaders finally establishing themselves?
Within the design category of NoCode tools, they may be doing just that. “Webflow is the NoCode industry leader in website design and creation. You can build websites, landing pages and blogs with beautiful designs, without any trouble,” said Jurkėnas.
“Webflow is an amazing tool for designers and professionals who want fine-grained styling control of their site in a robust NoCode tool,” echoed Taylor, highlighting why graphic designers and those with an artistic flair might find interest in its capabilities.
However, Taylor added that there is no clear market leader yet, given the assortment of use cases. Website builders such as Squarespace and Wix have been using the drag and drop concept for some time. Plus there are tools in niches such as landing pages, ecommerce and more.
Players in the Market
Webflow’s valuation will have many considering it as the go-to option for embarking on a NoCode journey, but Jurkėnas believes that for more robust applications there are better alternatives such as Bubble or Zapier.
“If you want to build a No Code Web app, or a fully functional software product, there are better tools,” said Jurkėnas.
He mentions Bubble as a great option for building virtually any software product but it has a steep learning curve when compared to Webflow. Zapier is especially useful for automation and Adalo is a handy tool for building Android or iOS apps using NoCode.
Ultimately, Webflow may only be the market leader in the design category but the attention it receives will be beneficial for the entire NoCode industry. Leaders are still working to establish themselves but while there is no one-size-fits-all solution yet available, there are several depending on each individual’s or company’s requirements.