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The state of no-code/low-code market, 2022

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Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic has begun, things have been rather frantic. The IT world has shot upwards like a rocket, and that includes no-code/low-code solutions. The question’s been a couple of years. What’s up with the market now? Is it worthwhile to get there, what’s the situation in general?

TL;DR: The no-code/low-code market is thriving. It has never seen so much success as it does today (as of February 2022). 

Why don’t we take a closer look and crunch some numbers while we’re at it? 

The big shift

The no-code/low-code market is beginning to rapidly see recognition and public interest. That is chiefly because running your own team of developers to bootstrap an MVP, for instance, is very expensive. Developer manpower, in general, is expensive, especially in the Western hemisphere.

While no-code/low-code is far from being a novelty thing in the world (hello, MS Excel), the rapid rise in its active use has begun since 2019. We’ve all hunkered down at home, prices skyrocketed, we’re all remote, yet the entrepreneurial spirit and desire to improve existing systems didn’t change. 

Now, it’s getting to the point where a healthy balance of speed, quality, and the price is what matters to hitting the market at the right time. Where demand grows, the supply follows. That’s why there are hundreds of no-code/low-code solutions now, starting with website builders and up to rigorous full-stack systems you can build pretty much anything on. 

The difference between no-code and low-code

As we continue to explore the market state, an important distinction must be made. Apart from few people knowing what no-code even is, even fewer, as of now, can tell the difference between no-code and low-code. Here’s an ELI5:

No-code: a platform (sometimes drag-n-drop) where you can build applications without any programming knowledge whatsoever. Pretty much the Lego of programming: build what you want, all building blocks included, just don’t step on it. Your only limiting factor is the scope of your imagination and desire to learn how the platform itself works. MVPs, websites, apps, process automation, chatbots, etc. All possible.

Notable examples: WordPress, Bubble, Airtable, Zapier, Shopify.

Low-code: this kind of a solution implies that you need to have at least some programming knowledge in order to use it. These tools are meant to greatly speed up the programming process, offering its users a way to deliver products to the market at a lightning-fast rate and much lower manpower required - granted that they know what they’re doing. The same Lego DIY set, yet here you need to know how to make some of the building blocks you want. Custom building blocks, of course, may offer more flexibility or precision in terms of what you want to create.

Notable examples: Salesforce, AppSheet, MS PowerApps. 

The ambiguity around no-code/low-code mostly relates to each particular platform looking to help its users deal with a particular problem. On WordPress, you build websites. With Zapier, you connect services with each other. Some no-code/low-code solutions (like Directual, for instance) offer you to build absolutely anything from scratch. 

Now that we know the difference, let’s learn the situation on the market, in-depth.

The state of no-code/low-code market

As reported by Statista in their industry research, 38% of no-code/low-code users employ it to prototype a new product or test out an MVP. Others mostly go for process automation, app development, and website creation. 

In 2021, the no-code user base has grown by 66%. Again, even though the solutions of this kind have existed for more than three decades by now, only now are we seeing its rapid growth. For the most part, this can be attributed to the mix of accessibility, functional range, and affordable pricing as opposed to hiring a dev agency or maintaining your own dev team.

For buyers of technology businesses, two new investment screens:
"Could this company run remote?"
"Is this business simple enough to switch to NoCode?"
Both have a profound impact on margins.

Andrew Wilkinson, on Twitter

Another important factor is the shifting generations. The younger population entering the workforce is much more prone to seeking a more optimal solution to development, and trying out new tools to make it happen, fast. So much, in fact, companies that employ no-code/low-code solutions are beginning to offer full-time positions for no-coders and seek relevant talent all over the world.

The biggest sales point for no-code is employee autonomy. The fact that non-technical workers can now contribute to their projects without programming skills makes it a worthwhile endeavour for digitally-apt companies. Even going for something as simple as a crude MVP or a simple chatbot, you no longer need to rely on dev manpower to get it done. 

There is but one bottleneck that prevents more people from jumping onboard. The learning curve.

The rise of no-code/low-code communities

Humanity has only come so far because, at some point, we decided to start writing things down. Being a rather new discipline for learning, no-code/low-code will thrive as soon as learning becomes easy and accessible for everyone. Which is exactly what’s happening right now.

There are dozens, if not hundreds of communities you can join and start learning about no-code tools and their application. There are general communities, and there are specialized bootcamps. 

Among the notable examples, it’s worth noting Nucode, NoCodeDevs, Makerpad, 100 Days of No Code, Zerocoder, and NoCode Journal.

What’s more..we have our own Bootcamp for anyone looking to learn to make the most out of Directual. 

The communities keep on growing, and that means more and more no-code savvy specialists appear on the market. No-code disciplines are expected to enter university programs around the world by 2025, with some universities already teaching their students both no-code and low-code basics and specific tool use. After all, it’s a fantastic way for a new workforce to offer more development capability to our entire world, where development staff is still in very high demand.

What next?

At the end of the day, it all comes down to a simple question: is it worth it to use no-code/low-code? The answer, with each passing day, becomes a YES more and more. With more companies realizing that this is the most optimal solution for their targets, more and more specialists know how to help them achieve that hit the job market. 
Interested in learning more about Directual and how it helps companies all over the world build their own apps? Send us a message to — let’s chat!

Pavel Ershov
February 10, 2022
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Directual is the only no-code development platform which combines flexibility and scalability of traditional coding with modern visual-development approach.