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Dom | Five.Co
Dom | Five.Co

Posted on • Originally published at five.co

Will Low-Code Make Developers Redundant?

I'm A Software Engineer, Will I Be Replaced By AI In The Future?

Damn, Github's Copilot is good. But don't panic. The chances of you being replaced by AI are quite slim.


Why AI Won't Replace Software Developers Just Yet

Back in 2017, GitHub's co-founder and then CEO Chris Wanstrath famously said:

"The future of coding is no coding at all." - Chris Wanstrath

This was quite a controversial statement, especially coming from someone who oversaw 14 terabytes of code on the very platform they founded.

However, the reality is that the demand for software developers (and code) is increasing, rather than decreasing.


First of all, there aren't nearly enough software developers. According to labour market statistics, there are only 20 million trained software developers worldwide.

More than half of all developers work at non-software businesses. Almost every business, regardless of size, industry or geography relies on software nowadays. And there's not nearly enough engineering talent to satisfy the hiring needs of all those companies. According to Korn Ferry, a HR consultancy, there is a global tech talent shortage of 4.3 million workers.

Salaries of software developers also continue to rise. In some countries, such as Australia, "software developers and engineers are the biggest winners in the hot talent market where some technology salaries have increased by more than 45 percent", according to the Australian Financial Review.

In short: labor market statistics seem to point just to the opposite conclusion. Software developers and engineers are in high demand and urgently needed, rather than a job that is at threat of becoming redundant soon.


Second, even amongst software developers, few think that no-code and low-code will result in fewer developer jobs. Only 33% of developers surveyed by TechRepublic said that low-code would result in fewer jobs. Most developers think that low-code tools increase productivity, reduce app development time and help automate manual processes. Even better, 42% of CIOs plan to increase headcount dedicated to low-code and no-code, according to Gartner.

"67% of developers surveyed by TechRepublic do not think that low-code or no-code platforms will result in fewer developer jobs." 

So rather than being a threat, low-code & AI-driven development seems to create new opportunities for developers. Low-code development is a skill that software developers should add to their toolbox to boost their career prospects.

If the opinions of your software engineering peers aren’t convincing enough, let's look elsewhere. Even the World Economic Forum, the organization behind the annual event of movers & shakers in Davos, says that “Technology Design and Programming”, together with "Technology Use, Monitoring and Control" are two of the top 10 skills of the future.

Their research also quantifies the gap in current skills vs future, required skills. According to the WEF, 50% of all employees worldwide need reskilling to keep up with the digital economy. Their research relies on insights derived from LinkedIn and Coursera.


Last, neither low-code, nor AI-supported development are at a level where they can carry out the work of a trained software engineer. Both low-code and AI-driven development are great, productivity-enhancing tools by providing prebuilt components or smart code completions. But neither low-code, nor AI-driven development, can build a system by itself.

Low-code and AI-driven development? Embrace it!


If you'd like to learn more about low-code software engineering or build your first app using low-code, why not download Five (for free!). Simply visit https://five.co.

Stay tuned for more topics related to no-code / low-code, such as:

  • Are low-code and no-code the same?
  • What are the limits of low-code and no-code?
  • And, is the low-code and no-code the future of software engineering?

Originally published at https://five.co/will-low-code-make-software-engineers-redundant/on August 23, 2022.

Top comments (14)

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kallmanation profile image
Nathan Kallman

Nice take on No/Low Code! Thanks for cross-posting.

I like Five's stance "Built By Developers For Developers", I think the future is in new types of developers for any "code-less" language (that's what's happened for each new higher level language; adoption by a new type of technical person, never adoption by non-technical people).

What does unit testing look like on five.co? That's one of the main barriers to "victory" I identified when I wrote about No/Low Code's (lack of) adoption:

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domfive profile image
Dom | Five.Co Author

Hey Nathan, thanks for sharing and good point on unit testing.

Five breaks down an application into its individual units: functions, processes, queries, etc. These are all isolated and can be tested separatedly. Let's say you have a dashboard that calls a query: you can test that query right when it's written inside Five. You can also run the app inside a dedicated dev environment with a debugger that shows exactly which piece of code is run when & where. All of this helps improve the quality of your code and makes testing pretty easy.

A bit difficult to describe this in words, but I'd be happy to connect for a demo if you're keen!

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syeo66 profile image
Red Ochsenbein (he/him) • Edited on

If I take a look at the specs I usually get I can clearly say we're safe.

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miketalbot profile image
Mike Talbot

4GL languages were going to be the end software developers, that's the 90s for you... Will it come? One day I imagine it will... If low-code/no-code can remove the burden of writing the same old stuff again and again then I welcome it... Push the load onto people who can do that part - there's a lot more to innovating and building a system though.

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domfive profile image
Dom | Five.Co Author

Good comment and I fully agree. A developer is really a problem-solver and their "tool" is code. Low-code platforms (or abstractions) help solve some of the problems that a developer has to deal with (especially the more tedious tasks involved in building a web app, such as creating forms or deployment).

But some problems are too complex to be solved without writing code. That's where developers come in (and will continue to come in): by cracking the really difficult stuff in full code.

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arthtyagi profile image
Arth

Development should feel truly fulfilling and fun. If no-code/low-code does that for the majority of developers, it might become the standard. If not, well developers won't be using it for more than prototyping at best. Low-code is too much opinionated abstraction and no-code is even a step further in that direction.

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domfive profile image
Dom | Five.Co Author

Great comment. it reminds of me of a quote from the "Mythical Man-Month".

In the book the author asks: "Why is programming fun?" and the response he gives is: "Its the sheer joy of making things." :)

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ravavyr profile image
Ravavyr

Frankly, the only answer to this question is "LOL, No."
or at least "Not any time soon...decades away maybe"

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domfive profile image
Dom | Five.Co Author

You just summed up my entire article in two lines. 😆

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nombrekeff profile image
Keff

Came to say this!

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lexlohr profile image
Alex Lohr

Who will develop and maintain the low-code and no-code environments? That's right, developers.

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kartikchauhan13 profile image
Kartik

The developers who build no code tools and maintain them are different from developers he is talking about in his article, maybe you are confused between two

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lexlohr profile image
Alex Lohr

While there may be a few developers who are one-trick ponies, any experienced developer can do a no-code environment as well as the software it attempts to enable without code.

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sindouk profile image
Sindou Koné

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