Gone are the times when you needed a specialist to create a slide presentation for you.
With over 500 million PowerPoint users delivering about 30 million presentations daily, the massive democratization of graphic design and visual communication has enabled anybody and everybody to create a presentation.
And today, the same phenomenon is happening with software development.
The no-code platforms allow users to create things that previously only specialized professionals could build.
Websites, apps, workflows, chatbots, integrations, databases, and whatnot – you can create it all without writing a single line of code.
The no-code movement has opened the doors for freelancers, bootstrappers, small business owners, and others with limited resources to build their software programs and see their dreams become a reality!
Does it sound like something you've wanted to do for your business? Wondering how to cash in on this no-code movement?
Read further as we talk about the no-code movement -- why it is gaining momentum, what it means for you, and how you can unleash your true growth potential.
A Quick Overview of What Is No-Code
Before we talk about the no-code movement, let us take a glimpse of what is no-code.
"No-code development" refers to the method of developing apps, websites, workflow automation, and software programs, in general, without using coding. With no-code platforms, users may create products without learning to write a single line of code. No-code platforms like Adalo, Bubble, Glide, Webflow, and Zapier are a handful of the most well-known.
These no-code platforms make it possible for non-programmers or non-coders to create CMS-based websites, build mobile applications, and automate tedious, repetitive operations, among other things that were previously only possible for experts. Therefore, in addition to saving time and money, these platforms greatly facilitate the democratization of software development.
What Is This No-Code Movement All About?
The no-code movement is the growing acceptance, adoption, and promotion of tools that enable programmers and non-programmers to develop, modify, update, or integrate a software like online sites, applications, and databases without writing a single line of code.
The no-code movement, which is in itself a revolution, aims to increase workflow productivity and efficiency by opening up software development to a broader audience.
It has also given birth to a new class of innovators known as citizen developers.
Who are Citizen Developers?
The term "citizen developers" refers to general business users who can create new (or modify existing) websites, apps, databases, and business tools without seeking any assistance from programmers or IT teams.
Here's a TikTok Musical Analogy:
- Think of Tiktok, a creator platform. It allows ideas to be tried quickly and cheaply. The ideas can be utilized to build MVPs (minimum viable products) to experiment. Although most experiments fail, the cost of testing is low. If an experiment looks promising, it can be further refined.
- While high-quality production might seem challenging now, the no-code tools are quickly improving and moving from "low-end products" to "high-end products" using Christensen's pattern of disruptive innovation.
- Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical is a great example. Emily Jacobsen's post went viral, dozens of creators joined for performances and songs, and the hashtag #RatatouilleMusical exploded with 200 million clicks.
- There were several quick iterations between Emily's TikTok ode to Remy and the live-streamed production with actors on New Year's Day.
- It shows how easy it is for anyone to create something big without having to put a lot of resources, unlike the times when a small idea was thought of hundreds of times before its implementation.
Why Is This No-Code Movement Gaining Momentum?
The no-code movement has been gaining popularity recently as more individuals have started to invest in no-code platforms to transform their businesses. Below are some of the critical reasons for the same:
Super low production costs
No-code tools allow users to reduce production costs as these replace the need to hire IT, professionals or developers. This is particularly beneficial in the case of bootstrappers who lack the resources. With no-code tools, you can build a website, app, database, workflow, and a lot more that can benefit you in the long run.
Super fast product development cycles
Using traditional coding, it takes months to develop a full-fledged website, app, or other software program. Project backlogs and long queues are other significant challenges with it. No-code tools can potentially reduce the app development time by up to 90%. It barely takes a couple of hours to a week to develop something from scratch using no-code tools. Faster development can further boost productivity and workflows.
Super low dependencies
With no-code tools, you don't just save time and costs but also reduce dependencies. You don't need to look for a vast team of professional developers or wait for them to start working on your project. With no-code tools, an individual can build it all alone.
Super simple prototyping (MVP build)
No-code tools make innovation everyone's job. You can experiment with your ideas without much of a hassle (and resources) using no-code tools that are quick and simple to use. For example, you can create an online marketplace and start your own business without employing an IT team. Once you launch your business on a small scale and feel like it's going well, you can continue making iterations and improvising it.
No-code tools provide you the freedom to adjust the look and functionality of the software as it advances. Since you are well-versed with your target audience and business, it would be best if you create an MVP that is tailored to their demands rather than focusing on hiring programmers or developers for every new update.
Democratization of tech development in the truest sense
Remember the times when you had to look for professional developers, pay them a hefty fee, and coordinate with them on every aspect just because you lacked coding skills? Times have changed now. Literally, anybody can build software solutions with no-code tools. So, irrespective of your academic qualification and skills, no-code platforms can enable you to make the most out of technology to ace your business.
Also read: Our in-depth guide to No-Code App Development
How Is No-Code Transforming Every Creative User Into a 'Maker'?
Citizen developers will likely play an increasingly larger role in developing business applications. As per a report by Gartner, by 2023, the number of active citizen developers at large enterprises will be at least 4X the number of professional developers.
Below are some of the key reasons why every creative user is transforming into a maker using no-code tools:
- Citizen development gives an edge when it comes to costs. It involves much lesser costs as you don't need to hire an IT team to get your website, app, database, or any other software made.
- Even if you have the resources to invest in an IT team, you might prefer to go with a citizen developer. This is because, due to their scarcity, professional developers work through backlogs. This leads to slow fulfilling of programming requests and further delays in developments. With no-code tools, you build it independently.
- There has been a significant shift from corporate economy to creator economy since COVID. The creator economy has enabled anybody and everybody to launch their businesses, create content and build their own apps, websites, and programs. No barriers to entry and quick & easy development have allowed every creative person to become a maker.
- You don't need to be a pro at using these tools, but your output may still be of a "pro" level.
Who are these no-code makers, and what are they up to?
If you are curious to know who are the people in the no-code community, why and how they use these tools for their businesses, the No-Code Census 2020 Report answers all your questions.
Below are some of the key highlights from the survey conducted by Bubble to help you understand the same better.
- 30% of no-coders worked at startups
- 29% of no coders were self-employed
- 17% of no-coders worked at small businesses
- 6% worked at an enterprise
- The remaining 16% worked at app freelancer, app agency, schools/universities, NGOs, and others.
The top-most reasons why users preferred no-code over traditional programming were:
- Faster to build (71%)
- Build without engineers (66%)
- Easier to use (55%)
- Control over my product (46%)
- More affordable (45%)
Below are the top no-code tools, along with the % of people who preferred to use them:
- Bubble (76%)
- Airtable (47%)
- Zapier (57%)
- Shopify (49%)
- WordPress (57%)
From the above, we can conclude that most of the no-code makers work at startups or are self-employed folks. Only a few no-code makers work at enterprises. Most of the no-coders prefer using it due to its ability to build programs faster, without engineers, and with greater ease. Some also prefer it for better control over their product and find these tools more affordable.
How marketers, in particular, are embracing the No-Code Movement?
No-code has been witnessing increasing adoption among marketers. In a survey conducted by Chiefmartec, the following about marketers' no-code usage were discovered:
- Zapier was found to be the most popular tool used by this audience, followed by IFTTT and Airtable.
- 40% of the marketers identified as marketing ops/marketing tech, 25% as tech-savvy marketers, and 15% as non-tech marketers.
- The top use case for no-code products among marketers was implementing workflows and processes (82%), followed by publishing web forms and setting up databases. Marketers were found to be least engaged in building websites, chatbot flows, interactive content, and similar stuff.
- The majority of respondents (71%) claimed to not know any coding skills or had a basic familiarity with HTML.
Where Is This No-Code Movement Headed?
Even though the no-code movement has just gained momentum in recent years and may appear to be more of a trend, industry experts argue the movement is here to stay.
It is believed that more and more people will use these tools in the coming years to build software. And this won't be limited to people with any particular area of specialization.
According to Gartner, no-code and low-code tools will account for an estimated 65% of all application development by 2024. The no-code movement is sweeping the software world.
Moreover, no-code tools will be used by developers and non-developers alike. While the non-developers or creators may use it for more autonomy, reduced costs, and lower dependencies, the developers may use it to save their time and focus on complex projects requiring custom capabilities that need more of their expertise. It is improbable that the no-code movement will make developers obsolete anytime soon.
The no-code movement has missed in-venue application development, yet it is ready to get attention from the no-code community.
Everyone Will be a Developer Soon
Over 8 years ago, Marc Andreessen, a pioneer of the web and co-founder of Netscape wrote an editorial for The Wall Street Journal where he said,
"software is eating the world"
By that, he meant the software was infiltrating our personal and professional lives. News, shopping, food, entertainment – and what not, are all in our pockets. Businesses have started using hundreds of software to improve their workflows and productivity.
With the increasing adoption of software, work has changed significantly.
Previously, the IT department was mutually exclusive from the marketing department. But over the last 10 years or so, an astounding number of applications have been created for marketing every year. These include websites for managing ad campaigns, social media campaigns, and publishing websites. With this, the IT and marketing professions have a tremendous amount of overlap.
Marketing, which was previously all about creative design and experience, is now inclusive of analytics, programming, and marketing automation. It is connected to delivering customer experience by ensuring a brand's website facilitates what the users may want to do.
From Excel to Google Sheets that provide a collaborative environment, to Google forms that collect data and add it to sheets, it's just not the democratization of using technology, but it's increasingly the democratization of people who can create technology and create software.
The stuff for which you previously had to hire an expensive, specialized software engineer with a lot of expertise can now be created by power or regular users. So, the number of softwares now created is exploding. Although these marketers don't see themselves as technologists, they create software-driven experiences. Moreover, this isn't just confined to marketing but all other creative fields. And it is exciting to see everyone becoming a developer – sooner or later.
How Can You Get Started With No-Code?
If you want to turn your ideas into reality using no-code, figure out what is the most suitable platform for you (find the list below).
Study some no-code startups to break down functionalities and ideate for your startup.
Next, learn the ropes of these tools and run a pilot.
Last, check out further recommendations and resources in the no-code niche to get in-depth clarity.
What tools are a must-learn?
Below are some of the top no-code tools you can consider learning based on what you wish to build and in what way.
- Airtable: With database functionalities built within a spreadsheet, Airtable is a cloud collaboration tool that combines spreadsheet and database features.
- Carrd: Carrd is a fantastic option for building landing pages, personal profiles, and other simple, one-page websites.
- Zapier: Zapier helps you connect many software platforms to help you automate and accelerate your processes.
- Glide: With Glide, you can quickly and easily convert any spreadsheet into a functioning mobile no-code application.
- Adalo: Adalo provides more complex customization and functionality than just the data you enter in a spreadsheet.
- Bubble: Bubble is a web app development platform that allows you to build dynamic, multi-user apps for desktop and mobile browsers and top-class digital products.
- Webflow: Webflow is a full-featured website builder that prevents you from losing your functionality because of pre-designed, static templates by offering adequate flexibility.
Check this directory to discover 300+ no-code tools.
Ride the no-code wave!
Now that we've given you a bunch of tools to learn along with some of the best resources make sure you use them to the fullest and ride the no-code wave. Trust us when we say this – no-code is the future!
So, how to ride this wave?
- Use the right no-code platforms for your business
- Do your research and invest in no-code tech companies
- Build your no-code startup
- Get involved in no-code and reap the most benefits
Closing Thoughts & Recommendations for Further Reading
The no-code movement places a strong emphasis on development, enabling non-developers or those with minimal technical skills to create websites, applications, databases, and more "technical" stuff.
If you want to learn the basics of no-code and get an in-depth understanding, check out what is no-code and what you can build with no-code.
- How the no-code movement will affect developers, and will it kill coding?
- The history of the no-code movement.
- No Code Vs Low Code: What are the similarities and differences?
- How students can use no-code and low-code technology to create employment opportunities – An interview with GEM employer partner, Barrett Nash of InfiniteUp.
- The future of no-code.
Written by Aastha Kochar, a freelance writer at Shnoco.