A look at whether software engineers should be concerned about the growth in automation and AI enhancement, which allows people with no coding background, to create a program, application or website.
There is no bro-code when it comes to using no-code, low-code or full code. Only the passcode to new opportunities for everyone, including engineers.
This may be a bold statement coming from a team of engineers and designers whose careers and livelihoods rely on custom and personalised services. With most design and development tasks automated by today’s technology, businesses and individuals with no development background, have full capability to create their own applications with the drag-and-drop functionality.
With this in mind, it feels like the middleman is being cut out and with that, the middleman’s job. However, we do not view ourselves as the middleman. In retrospect, being an engineer or developer in the modern business world (not just the tech industry) is to be in a position of opportunity and power. Find out why…
The no-code and low-code revolution
Before we dive into why engineers don’t need to feel threatened by no-code or low-code development solutions, let’s quickly look at what exactly these terms mean?
No-code tools give the end-user the lay of the land, allowing them to simply pick the most suitable pre-developed template for their business and drag and drop as they choose, creating their no-code web app without ever writing a line of code.
Low-code is similar but it gives the end-user a bit more freedom to roam with coding capabilities added in the backend to further develop a website or app.
Looks good, works well and covers the basics. This is beneficial when a business doesn’t require a complex platform, time and money is limited, or to quickly create digital presence when it’s needed most.
So, it’s a very beneficial option for businesses to invest in building intuitive apps, websites, and software solutions using these tech-savvy, AI-driven and pre-design/developed platforms. However, the devil is in the detail, and there are limitations to these platforms that give engineers like us, the purpose to expose the pitfalls and present solutions.
Is it a problem for engineers?
There’s no need to go into panic mode when you hear no-code or low-code. The COVID-19 pandemic shined a bright light on the fragility of society’s dependence on being connected to each other and keeping businesses going and growing, no matter the disruption.
Imagine a business’s digital presence or functionality was built on a no-code framework, but now the business is expanding or had to close their brick-and-mortar shop to continue trading online. Now they require an online store with a secure database and functional e-commerce platform… and their drag-and-drop template is not compatible… yikes.
Enter the engineer. New technology may have provided the everyday enterprise and entrepreneur with the tools to create their own thing, but the engineer’s job is not at risk.
New tech is helping everyone
20 years ago, most engineers were writing shell scripts in UNIX. They had to set up a physical server to run their code on and a lot of C and C++ code; the list can go on and on. Present-day, we’re still writing mobile and web applications, it’s just the underlying technology that has changed. From static HTML and CSS, into CGI scripts, classic asp and PHP rails, NET MVC, Laravel, Spring, Vuetify and so many more advanced frameworks to work with.
As technology develops and enhances with more smart components being added to our toolboxes, so do engineers’ ways of working.
New developments are helping us work faster and smarter. Which, in return, helps us offer a leaner service that doesn’t break the bank or take a year to build.
Therefore, new technology, automation and AI are not at all a problem for engineers, it’s about staying curious and finding out how to adapt the new features and functionalities to benefit engineers to produce better products and be more effective, thus more successful.
Adaptation was and is key.
To conclude, it comes down to customisation, security and personalisation
Potential clients may be tempted by the no-or-low-code template solution, but still, they keep peering over the digital wall looking at their competitor’s custom solutions. Eyeballing the impressive and personalised UI and UX journey, the comfortable functionality and on top of it all, the security in place that puts any user at ease.
Engineers can be seen as business solution strategists who look at the bigger picture and offer long-and-short term solutions that anticipate growth, considers the probability of a volatile environment (especially with the rise in cybercrime) and offer new business developments through the projection of the platforms’ capability.
As long as there is a need for any and all businesses, organisations, governments, individuals – anyone and anything – to adapt to a new environment or new human behaviours or structures, there will be a need for engineers to develop unique, practical and effective solutions.
To engineers who are not afraid, the future will probably comprise of no-code or low-code solutions which will provide integrated solutions to clients. It looks promising!