Low-code solutions have been touted as the quick fix for the developer shortage, but organizations should be aware of the risks that come with it.
Low-code application development has the opportunity to free up developers by allowing more non-technical staff to work on the development and production of applications, however, without proper management of permissions, it can present risks to operations and security.
The industry for low-code is expected to increase rapidly over the next few years. According to Gartner, up to 65 percent of application development will come from low-code platforms by 2024. This includes low-code, intelligent business process management, multi experience platforms, and robotic process automation solutions.
“With budget freezes on new hiring, low-code enables the existing workforce to deliver complex projects successfully,” said Brian Sathianathan, co-founder of Iterate. “Low-code also enables the organization to bring digital projects to life 17x faster, saving much needed time and money for the organization in a downturn. In a downturn it becomes even more important to deliver these initiatives with a lot more constraints. Low-code enables us to balance the risk via reuse, rapid development, upskilling, and extensibility.”
Organizations may be looking to scale back technical positions, which are typically some of the highest paid, if they perceive that low-code or no-code solutions can take their place. We have seen a similar shift in the creative industry over the past 20 years, with solutions like Canva, Squarespace, and Zapier removing the need to hire for specific creative roles.
However, if an organization dives in head first to low-code without proper planning and management, they may find that non-technical staff overwhelmed by the changes they are expected to make and that the solution chosen does not provide the flexibility or customization required.
Organizations may also find that without a programmer, best practices for coding are not adhered to, which can lead to further issues down the line. If the lead non-technical for a project leaves the company, it may be more difficult to teach a new staff member the various intricacies picked up.
Speaking to Tech Monitor on some of the teething issues with a low-code solution, Alta Technologies president, Corey Donovan, said: “One learning lesson happened after we’d gotten to nearly 10,000 product listings. A staff merchandiser tried to do a bulk update via a CSV import, but matched its columns to the wrong fields. Thousands of listings were overwritten with incorrect data and we had to restore to an overnight back-up, losing half a day’s listing work.”
As the low-code industry grows, it is expected that the sophistication of these solutions will with the introduction of more failsafe features designed to prevent unintentional damage or cybersecurity issues. It seems unlikely that larger scale projects will not require a developer of some merit to lead the project though, and organizations will find themselves struggling to meet project goals if any issues arise outside of the non-technical staff know-how.