Can low code really fix the IT skills gap?
The following is a guest article from Clare Grant, general manager of mobile at Red Hat.
In today’s enterprises, skilled mobile app developers are in high demand; however, a recent study found that there there is an increasing talent shortage. In the next 12 months, 18% of CIOs responding to the survey expect it will be difficult to find talent with the appropriate mobile technology skills.
Developer skills are coming at a premium at a time when some organizations need to do more with less budget.
To minimize some of the talent gap, companies can use low-code as a solution. Rapid Mobile App Development (RMAD) tools have made it possible for everyday users to create mobile apps via drag and drop components and other visual tools that can be easily used by non-developers in the business units. This is giving rise to citizen developers.
With the hype around low code increasing, the question now becomes: what impact will it have on the enterprise?
Low code makes enterprise workers more productive
A low code approach minimizes the amount of traditional coding needed to create a software application by providing more graphical or templated elements that can be assembled without the need for coding.
For IT, low code tools mean that the business can create simpler applications without putting a burden on skilled developers who are better utilized on complex coding projects.
In fact, low code environments "can potentially shave 50-90% off development time vs. a coding language," according to 451 Research. By saving time and making simple app creation more efficient developer resources can be better optimized.
Low code tools are particularly useful for building apps that automate manual business processes such as surveys, work orders, order fulfillment and registration forms. The low code capability in mobile app development and business process management (BPM) platforms enables faster creation of mobile apps for workflows that can be configured as needed.
Low code opens doors outside IT
Low code tools can also alleviate the pressure on IT by helping integrate line of business (LOB) employees into the app development process.
In 2016, IDC reported that decisions on what mobile apps and infrastructure initiatives enterprises roll out are increasingly shifting from IT decision makers to LOB leaders and executives.
Because low code is simpler than traditional coding, business people can more easily participate in mobile app development without advanced coding know-how. This can also enable LOBs to configure and adapt their workflows without needing IT and developer assistance.
Low code tools help strengthen the relationship between LOB and IT. This can benefit the enterprise overall as mobile programs become more focused on business outcomes and aligned with overall enterprise goals.
Low code is not a substitute for skilled developers
While low code can help take some of the pressure off IT and developers, employees with coding and IT skills are still necessary. People with traditional business backgrounds are not suddenly going to become integration specialists who are able to develop complex applications.
IT still plays a central role for key aspects of integration, policy management and deployment. Organizations can start finding a balance between what projects can be handled by citizen developers and what requires more skilled developer and IT teams.
Beyond that, low code can help developers complete simple projects faster and enable them to prototype easier, freeing up time for them to work on complex application development projects.
The evolution of low code
Low code alone will not be able to close the skills gap, but it can help reduce the backlog in mobile app development and get apps to market faster by enabling LOB employees to better understand and participate in mobile app development.
This can lessen the demand on IT with every developer request, especially in creating simple mobile apps. Overall, low code offers enterprises many advantages as they look for more efficient and collaborative ways to enable business success.