Why IT and DevOps Should Hate Low-Code

IT and Devops have a true love-hate relationship with Low-Code development. Oh, sure, Low-Code development seems so very practical and beneficial. Anyone can pick it up and create a front-end for a variety of applications, bringing together data and analyzing it quickly. Cute, but IT has been burned by “cute” before.

IT and DevOps tend to see Low-Code as deceptively simple. It’s so simple that rarely are those “Citizen Developers” truly taught Low-Code, much less full stack development–what happens in the back end, how to extend it, how to address those all-too-frequent corner cases, etc. The benefit of Low-Code is supposed to be that they don’t really need to know all that, right?

This is all true. And that’s exactly why IT should hate it. 

Let me count the ways Low-Code Sucks:

Low-Code removes a bunch of data management and workflow requests from the IT work queue. How sad. 

Low-Code eliminates a lot of support requests, because Citizen Developers can handle them themselves. IT and DevOps thrive on those requests, don’t they? 

With all this free time, IT has to focus on strategic initiatives such as digital transformation and business advancement. Who wants to do that?

Low-Code offers consistency. Every prospective citizen developer is working from the same configuration selections and has the same options. Even if you didn’t know what Low-Code platform they were using, any developer worth their salt can identify the underlying platform and know how to proceed with enhancements. How boring. 

Wait a minute . . .this doesn’t sound all that bad.

But then again, Low-Code doesn’t do everything

When an organization adopts Low-Code, not all questions are answered with drag-and-drop:

  • Sometimes your Low-Code platform doesn’t offer all the features you need.
  • Sometimes, it’s not obvious how to bridge the gap between Low-Code apps and existing enterprise applications and systems.
  • Low-Code doesn’t always offer the level of security your business requires.
  • It’s often not evident how to scale Low-Code applications to hundreds, thousands, and even millions of users.
  • Low-Code can be inefficient. After all, Low-Code development is really just a series of configuration decisions built for ease, not speed.
  • Let’s face it, a lot of times the Low-Code apps developed by Citizen Developers really aren’t “pixel perfect,” and need expert UX design.

All of this means that, despite some trash talk, there is an important role for full stack developers in the Low-Code world. While Low-Code can equip Citizen Developers with tools needed to handle front end and workflow development, full stack developers are needed to design and implement complex integrations, to accelerate applications, to massively scale applications, to design compelling user experiences, and to extract the greatest functionality from the Low-Code platform. In other words, Low-Code offloads to Citizen Developers the front-end work that full stack developers find tedious, and it creates a vital, strategic role for full stack developers that they will relish.

Maybe IT and DevOps should love Low-Code

Hey, we all have seen the cycle of evolution: adding PCs to mainframe architectures, networking personal computers, clients and services to cloud computing. We’ve seen not only the benefits of these (shorter queues of menial reporting and support tasks, not being awakened in the middle of the night because the server is down, etc.) We’ve also seen what happens to organizations that don’t adapt to these changes. 

Now we see the proliferation of Low-Code development. Low-Code is the next evolutionary step. Is your organization ready to take it?