Presented by Thunkable
The tech industry is going through a mass upheaval, with layoffs happening at an alarming rate. According to Layoffs.fyi, as of mid-November, more than 45,000 workers in the U.S. tech industry, at giants such as Netflix and Twitter, have been laid off this month alone. A New York Times article addresses a cycle of aggressive expansions, corporate excess and wild talent wars to secure the best and brightest. Rapidly expanding headcount, fast growth over profits and being caught in a tech bubble have been cited as some of the causes for the ongoing layoffs.
Unfortunately, the onslaught of layoff news comes with the economic uncertainty felt on a global scale following a worldwide pandemic. Ebbs and flows of the economy are not new, and each generation has experienced several in their lifetimes.
But how can businesses prepare for such uncertain times and reduced workforces — particularly in tech? With the advancement of technology, are there investments or improvements that companies can implement to weather the storm of upcoming uncertainty?
Equipping your team with an effective toolkit
Companies are adding low-code and no-code tools to their tech stack and upskilling their employees. According to a 2021 Gartner report, 70% of new applications built by businesses will rely on low-code or no-code technologies by 2025. In 2020, it was less than 25%. These tools are designed to be accessible by people without a background in software development in order to create software without learning complex languages. While low-code and no-code solutions are not a silver bullet for all situations, they can provide organizations with a faster and more frictionless transition to go from idea to implementation with less headcount and impact on other teams.
By harnessing low-code and no-code tools, companies can prepare for uncertainty by allowing their employees to produce the solutions they need effectively and efficiently. Instead of ramping up new teams or adding resources, the existing team can create or improve products without adding more resources.
Addressing low- and no-code hesitancies
While some companies might be on board, there are still challenges from organizational leaders. CEO of Stack Overflow, Prashanth Chandrasekar, touches on such hesitations of low-code/no-code tools, indicating their limitations along with warnings for engineers and developers.
But while there are plenty of real concerns to acknowledge, as Prashanth does, we should reframe the problem to think about what comes next. If teams have tasks that need to be done but lack the necessary skill set to implement them, what then?
As we have seen with this current landscape of market uncertainty, hiring isn’t an option for most businesses, especially ones already trying to make ends meet. Instead, many are harnessing the creativity and talent of their current teams, equipping them with the tools to solve their own problems and build what they need to make their roles more cross-functionally productive. Resource-constrained teams are already looking for ways to self-serve.
Then comes the worry of, “If the company adopts low-code and no-code tools, will that significantly reduce developers’ workloads or make them obsolete?” Frank Fernandes, Director of Engineering at CreditKarma, had the perfect answer at the VentureBeat Low-Code/No-Code Summit, stating, “You’d think engineers would be apprehensive about using [low-code/no-code] tooling. But we see quite the opposite. Engineers like to build things once, build it in a scalable manner, and then not work on it again. You’re always replacing yourself, working on new and cool tech.” As Frank Fernandes explains, low-code and no-code tools make developers more efficient by allowing them to focus on higher-level tasks.
The reality of low-code and no-code tooling
Non-developers can benefit from low-code and no-code tools by creating solutions or new products without learning complex coding languages. Similarly, developers can focus on larger projects with more impact to advance business goals rather than being bogged down in routine maintenance or simple problems. Thus, low-code and no-code tools are a win-win for businesses and developers alike for the following reasons:
1. Solves the “developer drought”
It’s no secret that we are in the midst of a “developer drought,” and there aren’t enough software engineers to keep up with the demand. With the slowdown in hiring across the tech sector, companies are scrambling to find ways to get the most out of their remaining employees.
Creating a culture of self-service with low-code and no-code tools starts to foster the concept of Citizen Development within the organization. Equipping and empowering employees to create their own solutions for problems they or your customers face allows you to maximize productivity. Upskilling employees with no-code tools can help your organization be more responsive to issues previously stuck in the backlog. And it will help your citizen developer employees with opportunities for career advancement.
Consider the example of one company, Mortgage Educators and Compliance (MEC). In providing online resources for mortgage training and education to professionals looking to get licensed, MEC wanted to offer a companion mobile application to expand reach with their audience. Of course, the app needed to serve their customers more efficiently and innovatively.
The IT department tasked with building the app had never made a mobile app before, so their only solution was turning to no code. With the ease of use of no-code tools, MEC could develop the mobile app quickly and, as a result, increase traffic and revenue. Traffic increased to over a thousand active users a month and welcomed a 50% revenue boost in sales. By upskilling the team with no-code tools, MEC achieved a competitive edge in the industry and increased business sales, all while providing a custom customer experience.
2. Eliminates department silos and speeds up project cycles
Low-code and no-code platforms have emerged as powerful tools that can help eliminate departmental silos and speed up project cycles. By bringing together technical and non-technical employees, no-code app development fosters collaboration between teams and allows projects to be completed more quickly and efficiently.
This is particularly important in today’s rapidly changing business environment, where organizations are constantly pressured to move faster and produce tangible results. At Thunkable, we worked with the founders of an emotional health platform called Wave, which has a mission to make mental healthcare accessible to everyone — but they struggled to develop a mobile app.
There were significant communication roadblocks between the creative and technical teams on what needed to be done to bring this app to life. To bridge the gap, the founding team member and Head of Product Operations turned to no-code mobile app development to create a comprehensive prototype to convey everything that needed to go into the app.
Thanks to no-code tooling, the creative team was able to cut the project timeline down by half and demonstrate the functionality the engineering team needed to develop, create a shareable asset with key stakeholders, troubleshoot testing capabilities and enable easy implementation of feedback.
3. Creates the developer of the future
The blending of skill sets is now a must-have for IT, development, marketing and product teams. While low-code and no-code discussions often revolve around developers and non-developers, instead, we should view these tools as creating the developer of the future. No longer will it be about who knows how to write this programming language versus that programming language. Preparing innovative teams for the future is less a discussion of coders versus non-coders. Instead, the best organizations find that developers of the future are the individuals who have the ideas, skills and access to the necessary tools to implement action and accelerate innovation.
As Chris Wanstrath, the former CEO of the code-sharing repository Github put it, “The future of coding is no coding at all.” GitHub is the way that every software engineer collaborates. If you look at most software engineers, they do not start from square one. They start by visiting GitHub when they want to build something. They look at what else is out there. Going back to the point Frank Fernandes made, for modularized sets of code, if it has already been done once, no one should spend time reinventing the wheel. The vast majority of people are taking simple ideas and combining existing ones in a new format specific to their use case. That is precisely the future of software building, the future of coding, which is no coding at all.
Don’t wait for predictions; prepare and plan
Low-code and no-code tooling allow for an inclusive and blended global workforce. Today, low-code and no-code tools are equipping anyone with an idea to execute and bring that idea to life. No longer is innovation and invention restricted to only the product roadmap and engineering bandwidth. Instead, it belongs to whoever has the idea and the passion for getting it done.
My advice to organizations of all sizes is to focus on planning and preparing for the future, not on predictions. The best way organizations and employees can weather turbulent times is to prepare and equip their teams with the necessary skills and toolkits to pivot and innovate.
Digitally transform your business with an all-in-one solution for building mobile apps for Apple and Android devices, as well as the mobile web. Thunkable is the most powerful no-code platform for mobile app development. Start building mobile apps for free!
Named to Forbes 30 Under 30 and a sought-after thought leader in the no-code space, Arun Saigal is leading the revolution in no-code mobile development. He is the Co-Founder and CEO of Thunkable, the no-code tool that allows anyone to design, develop, and deploy native Android, iOS, and mobile web applications. Through his innovations around app design, development, testing, and publishing processes, he makes it possible for individuals to better their communities, prototype ideas, launch businesses, and solve problems that would otherwise be unaddressed by existing tech providers. Through Thunkable, Arun has empowered more than three million people in 184 countries to build more than seven million apps with his company.
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