The short answer? We know too many people who think they are stuck because they can’t code. We have seen too much money spent on custom software that can’t adapt to the business over time. We see a trend in the next generation of talent that will flood the marketplace with employees who know enough about web services and apps to be dangerous if they have the right tools at their disposal.
The long answer? Read on.
The Software Development Process – Expectations vs. Reality for Non-Developers
There will be two types of people reading this article. The first type will be completely new to the idea of software development. The second type of person will have an appreciation for the complexity of software development because they’ve lived it. Both groups of people might be interested in no code development. Some would think that the process behind building cool software would change significantly if you were writing code versus using a no code development tool. In our experience, the only part of the process that changes between writing code and not writing code is what happens during and after the build. Don’t worry, you should be scratching your head a bit after that line. Let’s take a look at the common expectations around the software development process for newbies as well as what folks who are a little more experienced might expect.
This represents the beginning of a common frustration for people who want to build software, but haven’t done it before. There is simply more to it than they expect. The classic example is the novice idea person who wants to hire a software development agency to build their first product. It usually goes something like this…
Novice Idea Person: “I’ve got a great idea for the next big mobile app and I need to know how much it is going to cost to build it.”
Software Development Agency: “Cool! Tell us about it.”
Novice Idea Person: “Well, its let’s people do A, B, and C.”
Software Development Agency: “We think we understand. Cool idea! In order for a user to do A, it seems like we need to know a few things about them before they can click that button. Have you thought about where that data might come from?”
Novice Idea Person: “Good question. For a user to do A, we will need to know a few things about them. I thought we could just ask them for it.”
Software Development Agency: “OK, that makes sense. So before we let a user do A, we need to ask them a few questions. We could create a screen with a simple form on it that asks for the data.”
Novice Idea Person: “Yes, a form sounds good. Could we ask for other information on that form too?”
Software Development Agency: “We could. Do you think that asking more questions will be a good experience for this user? You said all they really wanted to do was A, but now they have to answer a bunch of questions before they get to A?”
…and on and on the conversation goes before an hour of valuable time was lost trying to get on the same page.
Why is Software Development Frustrating for Most People?
It’s really not your fault if you expected the process to be easier. Our phones are full of apps that make everything we do appear to be very easy. It’s just a few taps to do X in that app. We can go online and have one-click checkout experiences when we buy our favorite things. These experiences are the new norm. And these experiences are hiding a ton of sophistication behind the scenes. I think most people would be surprised to learn that a simple mobile app could take as many as 300 man hours to build from scratch, while a very complex mobile app could take over 1,000 man hours. Is all of this time spent by a pony-tailed man writing magical code into a laptop with his right hand while chugging a Rockstar with his left hand? No. A good chunk of this time is spent in other parts of the software development process. For the novice idea person in the pretend dialog above, the expectation is that he could have something built that gets a job done and all it should take is a few taps, or even just one click. He goes into the conversation expecting this:
A Major Challenge in Any Software Project
One of the biggest challenges in any software development project is taking the vision we have in our head and translating it into formats that can inform the rest of the software development process. If the software development agency in our example above was patient enough, they would recommend working through that process together, for a fee of course. This would likely be money well spent for the novice idea person. He or she would get an on the fly education while they make progress towards their goal if they are working with a high quality software development shop. This challenge exists for anybody, experienced or inexperienced, who wants to build a software product. It is only slightly more frustrating for newbies. One of our goals with NoCodeDev is to provide people like that novice idea person, and even those with a little more experience, some tools and frameworks they can use to be more prepared for each step in this process. The more effort you put in before the build, the more likely you are to build it right the first time (that means spend less money).
The Most Underestimated Cost of Software Development
The greatest trap of software development is underestimating the cost of change. This is where the wave of no code development tools can play a significant role. In addition to being prepared with a well scoped design before you build, you can further optimize the total cost of a software project by using tools that make it easier to change different components of how the software behaves over time. This is one reason why the low and no code development platform industry is expected to quintuple over the next 5 years. Need an example? Consider this blog. If we wanted to add another page to this blog that provides a job board for positions that require experience with no code development tools, then we need to make a choice. We could hire a developer to build that page from scratch (expensive) or we could use the Divi plugin that we’ve installed via WordPress to drag and drop our own page into existence with the help of templates that other people have already built. (Disclosure: We do have an affiliate relationship with the creators of Divi and we hope you enjoy using it.) This same type of decision exists for businesses of all sizes and the tools they use to get their work done. As a company gets bigger and bigger, with more work to coordinate across larger teams, then these problems compound and the cost of building something from scratch is even greater. Did you know that some large companies spend millions of dollars on no code development platforms? These are just platforms, they actually don’t do anything until you use them to build something. For these large companies, its worth it because it would cost them more to staff additional teams of hard to find development talent to meet the change request of every other employee in the company.
Combining what we consider to be the greatest challenge in the software development process – scoping and designing – along with what we believe to be the greatest trap in software development – the cost of change – we are delivering the ultimate online resource for helping people who don’t know how to code, but who still want to build cool stuff.
Welcome to NoCodeDev.
-The NoCodeDev Team
The team behind NoCodeDev has experience working with custom software development, low code development platforms, business process management software, workflow software, business rule engine software, form builder software, and a bunch of other cool tools that give us a wide perspective on the idea of building software solutions. Some of us have dreamed of building products ourselves, only to get stuck in a place where we didn’t invest the time to learn how. In some circles, especially the startup world, this is seen as a lack of hustle. We think it was a calculated decision to play to our strengths and partner up. It could also be a consequence of not finding the tools that could make it dead simple enough to build what we want. Over time, we expect our skill set to be met with tools that let us build web apps and other software to our hearts content. Until then, we think we can use our experience to help anybody build software without needing to write any code.