On any given day, the Austin, Texas headquarters of iTexico are alive with developers hard at work creating mobile apps for customers around the world. At the iTexico’s nearshoring office in Mexico, the activity is just as intense. App developers are hard at work from the moment the business day begins until the moment it ends. So, do these developers have to worry about being replaced by low-code platforms?
The recent surge in low-code platforms has given a boost to app development in the same way the introduction of WYSIWYG software gave a boost to website publishing two decades ago. You might even make the case that the same sort of paradigm exists with content management systems such as WordPress and Joomla!. And yet, the IT industry is still in desperate need of competent web developers.
Mobile app development is no different. Low-code platforms do make it possible for non-professionals to develop working apps for both internal and external purposes. But those platforms will never replace human mobile app developers on even a moderate scale. Below are three reasons mobile app developers can rest easy.
1. Low-Code Is Limited Code
As we learned from website development, there is only so much automated tools can do. They are limited by their very nature. Your typical low-code mobile app platform makes creating workable apps easy to do via familiar tasks the average computer user would have no trouble deploying.
For example, a low-code platform could implement widgets simply by dragging and dropping. This sort of feature would dictate that the widgets be created by the platform developer only to be put in place and customized by the customer. But think about the limitations of such development. The widgets would have to be terribly generic in order to be usable to the broadest audience. Anything beyond generic would not be possible unless the platform user had some coding knowledge.
2. Low-Code Is for Basic Users
It was not long before the average web user could tell the difference between an owner-created website and one built by a professional web developer with knowledge and experience. Low-code mobile app development platforms are similar. They are intended only for basic users who do not need anything complex.
3. Low-Code Doesn’t Evolve Quickly Enough
Tying the previous two points together is the reality that low-code platforms do not evolve quickly enough to keep up with the pace of mobile app development. Therefore, such platforms will eventually fall behind until, and unless, their developers put the effort into keeping them current.
Supply and demand will dictate whether low-code platform developers remain up-to-date. History suggests it will not happen. Just as WYSIWYG web development went by the wayside due to insufficient demand, the recent surge in low-code app development will eventually fade to the point that platform developers will no longer have a financially sustainable model.
Low-code mobile app development may serve a vital purpose in the here and now. But it will never replace the hard-working app developers working at companies like iTexico. They simply cannot, due to their own inherent limits. That means the demand for accomplished app developers will be around for a long time.