Salesforce Area Vice President and GM Cecily Ng argues that low code technology will increasingly be a key driver in transforming businesses, reimagining careers, and encouraging the rise of citizen developers.
By Cecily Ng
Over recent months, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic businesses, have had to build online applications and services faster than ever before. We’ve seen banks creating new web portals to meet increased demand for loans, and meal delivery services leveraging automation and self-service to provide customers answers fast. Having to digitally transform their businesses seemingly overnight, it’s easy to see why more organisations are turning to low-code development. Enabling people with no coding skills to build apps, is saving businesses time and resources. More broadly, it’s transforming the future of work and innovation.
Low-code development has grown in prominence over recent years. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), between 2018 – 2023 more than 500 million apps and services will be created. That’s more than the previous 40 years combined. Essentially, it is a “drag and drop” approach to building applications using prewritten building blocks of code.
Whereas companies traditionally relied on hiring computing experts to build apps from scratch, through a combination of clicks and code they’re enabling non-technical employees to do this by using simple visual tools. A bit like using Lego blocks, it’s easy and fast, and you know that the pieces will connect together.
As the digital economy continues to evolve, low-code development can help bridge skills gaps in the workplace. According to global Salesforce research, 82% of business leaders say that coding and web development capabilities are going to be important to them over the next six months. As the speed at which new technologies become available accelerates, low-code development platforms will help employees to learn relevant new skills, develop new apps fast, and to keep up with the latest developing trends.
In this context, the hosting of EU Code Week has never been more important. A grass-roots initiative, between 10-25 October hundreds of events will be held across the globe with the aim of bringing coding and digital literacy to everyone in a fun and engaging way. Ultimately, it’s about equipping people of all ages with the tools and skills they need to succeed in a digital-first world. In 2019, 4.2 million people in over 80 countries took part in EU Code Week.
Beyond driving the digital transformation of businesses, low-code tools are empowering employees to reskill and prepare for the jobs of the future. For our communities, they’re breaking down barriers to careers in the technology industry and success in the digital economy.
Here are three ways this technology is changing the world for the better:
Building resilient businesses
As the way and speed at which we do business continues to accelerate, many companies are realising that traditional development methods must be reconsidered. To introduce new ways of serving customers, they’re going to need fast and flexible digital solutions. To ease the burden from stretched IT teams, low-code can and will enable rapid app development.
These tools also grant organisations greater agility to adapt to changing customer needs. By expanding the pool of employees who can build apps, they’re removing traditional reliance on designated developers who, in turn, will be freed up to focus on more complex projects. At a time when budgets have to stretch further, with low-code businesses can scale with confidence and without sacrificing quality.
With clicks, not code, this technology is redefining what it means to be a developer. The accessibility of these tools is empowering non-technical employees to learn and provide instant solutions for their company and customers. Just as employers are increasingly looking for digital skills, this demand is matched by the workforce’s enthusiasm to upskill. According to global Salesforce research, 57% of employees wish they had better or more up-to-date skill sets. Beyond providing opportunities for workforce reskilling, low-code will continue to democratise innovation and cultivate a culture of continuous learning.
Now more than ever, people need access to the technologies and skills necessary to land the jobs of the future. This why at Salesforce we launched Trailhead in 2014, our free online learning platform, to democratise education and provide an equal pathway into the tech industry. Since the onset of the pandemic we’ve seen a 37% increase in registrations to courses – joining over 2.2 million learners gaining technical, business, partner, and soft skills. Delivering in-demand skills and resume-worthy credentials, we’re addressing the skills imperative and equipping people with the tools they need to succeed.
Breaking down barriers
Just as low-code tools are opening workforce reskilling opportunities, they are also breaking down barriers for communities to succeed in the digital economy. From helping to boost students’ vocabulary skills to enabling them as creators in the digital world, they’re equipping people with programming skills which tomorrow will be just as important as the ability to read and write today. In many ways, given the rising availability of low-code learning opportunities, development in this area is faster and more accessible than traditional methods of professional development. What’s more, apps can be built from anywhere.
As businesses continue to recover from the pandemic and return to growth, the only constant will be change. Low-code technology will increasingly be a key driver in enabling businesses to become more nimble, reimagining careers, and enabling citizen developers. EU Code Week, with its mission to bridge digital skills gaps and train the next generation of coders, is timely indeed. Like its motto to “bring ideas to life”, the speed and agility that these tools offer promises to build more efficient companies and a more resilient society for what the future holds.
(Ed. Featured image by Photographer Christina Morillo.)