No-code and the future of coding skills

With the rise of no-code and low-code technologies, do you really need to learn to code?

IDGConnect_coding_lowcode_shutterstock_1445888471_1200x800
Shutterstock

This is a contributed article by Chetan Dube, CEO and founder of Amelia.

 

A recent report found that more than half of non-tech workers are contemplating moving into tech-based careers in the UK. With technology investment growing across industries including healthcare, finance, law and education, it’s not surprising that more people are exploring what their place could be in the world of tech. Rather than being seen as a growth sector a few years ago, it is now difficult to imagine an organisation or industry not being influenced or changed by technology.

Yet while this research suggests we might see an increase in non-tech workers wanting to learn and develop their technical skills – this may not be entirely necessary. The rise of new no-code and low-code technologies may mean that rather than having to start from scratch and retrain entirely, those looking to start in tech without the technical know-how may well have opportunities to do so.

What does this mean for the role of the developer going forward? Could we see a future where our children will not have to learn to code?

While no-code and low-code hold lots of potential for companies of all backgrounds looking to rapidly implement and scale technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI)-powered assistants, we also need to think about the wider implications of such platforms – taking their benefits and challenges into consideration.

Democratisation of sophisticated technologies will open many doors 

The most significant benefit of no/low code platforms will be to allow organisations without dedicated IT teams to run and implement tailored solutions into their organisation, more rapidly and in an integrated way that will see the technology directly benefit a particular function.

Rather than relying on developers, no/low-code will democratise the use of applications by significantly lowering the technical barrier to adoption. While there will be an initial cost involved, in the longer term, the solution will also be a cheaper option for many businesses who may not have a dedicated DevOps team.

In an AI-use case scenario, no/low code will essentially allow for the democratisation of AI for many businesses. AI development platforms which offer pre-built algorithms and simple drag and drop workflows will allow a range of non-technical individuals to implement the technology – opening doors for business partners, executives and salespeople to develop intelligent solutions to improve their working practices, as well as assisting application developers and IT operations professionals.

Enter a ‘hybrid workforce’

But what’s the impact of rapidly running and scaling AI applications through low code platforms? For organisations looking to grow their operational side without a dedicated DevOps team – it could be huge.

For example, low-code platforms that develop AI solutions allow businesses to easily design, deploy and implement conversational AI that can support with day-to-day tasks. The easy-to-use platform will enable organisations that don’t have the extensive AI expertise internally to quickly and easily design, deploy and implement conversational AI agents in roles such as a Customer Service Representative, an IT Help Desk Engineer, or a HR specialist.

Use of AI in this way can have a transformational impact on customer-based industries, such as finance, healthcare and law, by creating a hybrid workforce to share the load of customer enquiries across channels. With human and digital employees working together, humans will be able to focus their energies on marketing, project management and more sophisticated customer enquiries, while the AI will constantly improve its responses through automated learning capabilities.

The changing role of the developer

We can see how low-code solutions will increase accessibility and empower subject matter experts to act as ‘citizen developers’, who are able to drive intelligent automation across businesses. While this has huge potential for many businesses who want to benefit from new technologies, lowering the barrier to entry could also have an impact on developers and their skillset.

However, rather than making coding skills redundant, on the contrary no/low code platforms show that being able to write and understand code is still important. Even though low code applications are among the easiest solutions for their users to understand, once the applications are built they may uncover new opportunities where more complex refining will drive even greater efficiencies or improve outcomes. Being able to edit code in this instance will be vital. Moreover, having a disconnect between low-code users and ‘high-code’ software, could also be detrimental in the long term – resulting in systems that don’t align and can prevent collaboration.

Coding is here to stay – but it’s become more accessible

Overall, while no/low code solutions and tools are making it possible to create powerful applications running on a small amount of code, its increased accessibility should by no means call for the end of coding.

What no/low code does mean, however, is that a range of businesses – of all sizes and at various stages of their journey with technology – can consider implementing new applications across AI and ML that could truly revolutionise how their teams operate. While no code may not mean the demise of the developer, it’s certainly helping to pave the road to more sophisticated deployment and use of intelligent technologies in our everyday lives.

Chetan Dube has been the Chief Executive Officer and President of Amelia, an IPsoft Company, since 1998 and also serves as its Director. He has over twenty years of experience with large-scale, high-performance internet infrastructure. Prior to Amelia, Dube served as an Assistant Professor at New York University, where he began exploring artificial intelligence principles and philosophies while researching deterministic finite-state computing engines.