A glimpse into no-code

No-code 💻 Dec 08, 2020

I want to become a product manager, a builder, maybe an entrepreneur; I know I need to code, at least understand how everything works.

I started to go through the CS50 by Harvard on edX; it had the most positive reviews, and people recommended it for noobies.
I didn't finish it, got stuck, and got through a more rough period at my current job, and then it was harder to get back on the road. But then I discovered no-code, it seemed interesting, I became more curious. I already built WordPress sites with site builders, but to have an app with no code was the next level for me.
For half a year, I am learning slowly about these tools and about the opportunities that they make it now possible.
Here I am trying to summarize my findings and my thoughts on what is now conceivable with these tools and how I perceive they will affect the near-future.

Table of contents:
⏳ Brief history of no-code
🔥 Why all the fuss
🙋 Who is/will benefit
📝 Conclusions

⏳ Brief history of no-code

It is not that new of technology, but it has become more accessible to a broader audience;

No-code or visual programming is an old idea that grew and blossomed in ideal circumstances alongside more opportunities.
No-code is another case of the democratization of technology.
This kind of tools existed since the 90s, from FrontPage or Dreamweaver to WordPress & Drupal in the 00s following Shopify, Wix, Squarespace to nowadays unique tools that enable you to build coherent and outstanding websites, cms & apps few of them .bubble, Webflow, Glide, Zapier, Adalo and many more.

These apps now flourish due to a mature ecosystem of tools and integrations.
No-code allows us to work visually and in ordinary human language to create the applications that the modern world demands, all in a faster and more cost-effective way than ever before.

Anyone can become a developer in no-code by letting their eyes and simple logic guide them to translate the small ideas into real apps.


🔥Why all the fuss

The sexiness of no-code and the product-market fit;

Gartner forecasts that low-code & no-code application platforms will account for 65 percent of all app development by 2024.
There is a developer shortage out there, as no-code will not replace their tasks but will let them focus on the important stuff.
There is now a massive demand for computer scientists skilled in mobile app development, game development, data science, machine learning… Part of the ambition of no-code is to reduce the gap.

No-code can save operational costs in two ways. Development time and developers. As I said, recruiting developers in a scared market is challenging. Also, developers' standards are continually changing. Still, no-code offers an easy-to-use approach for more and more tasks with minimal knowledge as full-fledged code developers can focus on the high-priority & deep tasks.

But time is what nowadays everyone is running for or from. With no-code, what task can take weeks is now possible in minutes or a few hours with a shorter development and testing period. The productivity increases, and your overhead costs go down.
No-code can boost up the search for innovation. With some existing modules and templates to choose from, all projects are given access for faster prototyping. This enables quicker testing to cycle through different projects faster, becoming lean to the next level.

You can become more agile with no code. Native coding is not easy to modify.
It usually takes up time and has to follow strict policies before it is even made possible. The very decisions to make changes take time. No-code allows for quick modifications that don't halt the development of the overall app.

At the tip of the iceberg, no-code breaks down one of the most crucial barriers of starting a new business these days, the development of technical expertise, as it diminishes most of its friction.


🙋 Who is/will benefit

Or the use-cases;

Big companies

For the big behemoths, no code offers more agility or room for failing with reduced costs. No-code is a solution to allow non-tech people to build MVPs, internal dashboards, or automation workflow processes in big companies. So they can accelerate the digital transformation with fewer costs through no-code. Limited budget, no problem, no-code is your solution.


It can also help develop new tech solutions for each department within companies, creating & owning solutions without any engineer involved.
Product departments can integrate no-code how they wish through their process: build & test hypotheses on the go.
The Marketing department can adapt & automate workflows on their own.
HR one can build & manage internal or external dashboards and automation with minimum knowledge, and so on.

Small-medium enterprises(SMEs)

No-code allows SMEs to gain extra independence. You still got an offline business you have to take it online? You can do it cheaper & faster now. Do you have a restaurant that needs its own delivery platform? Rather than paying the high fees to the mainstream delivery platforms.

Shopify is already part of this mass digitalization but for online stores. No-code creates opportunities for all businesses out there. Until now, you had to pay for everything developers, designers, project managers, and so on.
Canva, for example, enables SMEs to build great visual content for their audience without having a designer. They could also develop their website alone in Carrd or Webflow for less the bucks, even if they hire someone else to build with no-code. Or automate that daily mail directly with Zapier to gain that most important thing, time.

Entrepreneurs/ builders

It helps to enhance the time-to-market acceleration, which is a critical factor for success. It enables fast iteration on products and ship more quickly than competitors. It eases up a little the hunt for product-market-fit and lets you focus on finding ways to gain traction.
No-code gives you a faster path to an excellent feedback loop.

Designers & Developers

Now a team, but in various contexts, it can become a one-man show. No-code expands each of their capabilities beyond their core expertise, with less effort. Each role removes the friction of the other member.
They can be more independent if they want.

Individuals

The rise of the new section on your CV: real-life projects. Every employee requires experience, but you can always build up the experience with no-code when that is not available.
You can start a side project easier either as a hobby or side-gig for more money.
We currently have a pool of people who want to become influencers, and maybe the next thing is to have a lot of people who wish to become no-code builders.


📝 Conclusions

1️⃣ Abundance of software

Most of the new businesses and existing businesses that may need no-code services are/will be within the small business category.

The long tail of software of Chris Anderson will become flatter and longer with the help of no-code solutions as more people will build businesses for hyper niches.
The cost of development is lower and more people want to participate in wealth creation, share their ideas, or build an audience.

2️⃣Enable the become a creator ambition

Expression of creativity is one of the most important traits we got as human species. As the Internet is shown in the last years an abundance of creativity in writing, music, and video due to the Internet, no code will be the next.
Another thing I see is personalization at its finest. Do you want a simple expense app track without paying a subscription for one? Build it fast on your own for you and your family and maybe some friends.
The small learning curve to master no-code for basic stuff than learning programming from scratch.
Learning code is hard, takes time, which many people don't have to invest in acquiring new skills and value from it.
More people can acquire the basics of no-code to build stuff that developers don't want to waste time on.

3️⃣New CV requirement or new employment opportunities either as a no-code expert or as a side-gig freelancer.

As no-code opportunities will crystallize, companies will look to hire talents that can also handle some no-coding. Having this skill on your resume in the future can improve your chances of getting a better or desired job.
Or take part in the gig economy.
AirDev, a no-code software agency, has a big database of collaborators worldwide that can take projects, while AirDev becomes the middle man.
More no-code agencies will raise taking care of their local clients than needing various solutions FAST & CHEAP. At the same time, no-code offer also reliable ones. You can do this part-time or from time to time when you need more money.

4️⃣No code, only on the way forward

A new technology of any kind tends to grow & emerge in waves, following an S Curve.
A video primer on S curves here by a16z and a must-read here from Benedict Evans.

The shoulder of giants presentation by Benedict Evans


In the first phase of the S curve, the new technology is small, unfriendly, and slow. The second phase is where everything starts to accelerate because improvements are made in usability and performance, and the adoption skyrockets.
That's a period of very rapid change, innovation, and feature expansion.

Example of mobile S-curve by a16z

No code seems to be in the creation phase; as any technology follows this framework, you may want to get ready for the next stage, understand what this does mean for you or how you can make this useful for you.

6️⃣Co-creation


Another significant aspect of no-code is that it can enable better collaboration in the future between departments and people.


As we witnessed the year of collaboration tools boom, we see that it is possible to work together even if we are not present in the same room.
Similarly, we will be able to co-create with no-code, towards efficiency and faster scaling.

7️⃣No code education


As the demand for no-code will increase, more boot camps and educators will rise.
Even now, there are some no-code boot camps, but more to aid the adoption barriers of no-code or to reduce the shortage of no-code developers for themselves.
AirDev Bootcamp
Bubble Bootcamp
Buildcamp.io

And so on, I had the chance to be in AirDev bootcamp and I did learn a lot and had all the support down the way.


⌛️The end

No-code makes our lives easier and opens up a world of opportunities for those who can't code. It's the natural step in our evolution.
We can't wish to get on mars with the same tools we are using today or yesterday.
No-code is a public access key to a set of tools to solves everyday problems. Most of the no-code tools are currently expanding their educational content, reducing the friction in adopting these tools.
With little effort and a smaller learning curve than coding, you can become a visual developer or enhance that coding knowledge to speed out through things with no-code, make no-code part of your stack.

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