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Embracing low-code

For our pest detection project, we knew right from the start that we needed fast experimentation and maximized learning. Therefore, low-code development became the obvious choice, with its capability of enabling rapid prototyping and its offer of a broad range of pre-built templates. Does low-code have its constraints? Of course, and we were well aware of them. However, our Itility Data/AI Factory is a powerful data enabler, which made these constraints much less of a concern for our project.

And speed is not the only reason behind our choice. As low-code tools can abstract most of the underlying complications away, it enables everyone on the team – from UX designer to data scientist – to have a strong focus on the what, instead of the how.
This change of focus is anything but subtle: we were able to consistently put the user’s perspective at the core of our development process. And believe me, this user-centric approach is a crucial part of making real progress on the path to productizing AI or any emerging technology.

Low-code is the new common denominator
Right from the beginning, our Dev team embraced low-code. And speaking of team: an ideal low-code Dev team consists of T-shaped individuals – possessing overlapping low-code skills with one additional specialty area (UX design, business analytics, data science, architecture). Since low-code is easier to learn than high-code, everyone on a typical Dev team can be cross-trained as a low-code developer within weeks. I predict that low-code competency will soon be the new common denominator for a Dev team.

Low-code gives rise to the new breed of “citizen developers”
Let’s also take a quick look at the business side. Thanks to the rise of low-code tools, we will see an increase of business users playing a more active role in app development, and maybe eventually building ones themselves.  

These are the people who primarily come from the business operations side – greenhouse growers, pizza factory operators, or maintenance engineers – with little to zero knowledge of coding. At the same time, they have impeccable knowledge of how an ideal process in their business should work. Low-code platforms make creating new applications more a matter of drag-and-drop. This breaks down the barrier to entry and enables these individuals to build simple applications. This new breed of developers is also known as citizen developers.

This really does matter: demand for trained software developers and data scientists is stronger than ever. However, there are simply not enough of them around. For businesses that are keen to transform and innovate, that spells trouble. Low-code development might hold the key to addressing the big skill gap to a certain extent. The low-code tools make app development accessible to a great population of professionals who may have no prior programming knowledge but can take on a certain amount of simple developer duties, therefore allowing organizations to reserve their limited core data and development capabilities for the most demanding tasks.

A final note to the developer community
Low-code development is more than just a trend – it’s going to redefine how we approach software/application development in the years to come. To my fellow developers, it’s time to get a good familiarity with various low-code tools and add this knowledge to your repertoire. Having that said, I believe the future belongs to both low-code and high-code. The winning Dev teams will be those who can creatively leverage the advantages of each tool (be it low-code, high-code, or no-code) to deliver the best business outcomes.

Developing new software is complex. Speak to any product owner and you will hear about timeline delays and budget overruns as the two biggest factors that keep them awake at night.

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