DevOps for Low-Code - Friend or Foe?
May 23, 2022

James Bent

Can DevOps and low code work hand in hand?

Philosophically, the two are at odds; DevOps inherently insinuates that code will be involved, while low code/no code insinuates the opposite.

So, how can LC/NC and DevOps work together in harmony if they are intrinsically opposed to one another?

Can they really be friends, or are they resigned to being foes?

Low Code's Coming of Age

COVID-19 has been an enormous driver for low-code development. COVID forced companies more than ever to accelerate digital transformation. LC/NC was alive before COVID but has come to the forefront in the last few years, especially amidst the Great Resignation, which has significantly increased the cost of development resources.

To add insult to injury, companies are amid significant digitalization caused by sudden remote workforces, forcing them to deliver more software faster for their internal and external resources to remain productive.

As a result, companies have turned to non-developers to assemble workflows and business apps without coding — I can already hear the developers screaming.

DevOps' Beef with Low Code

Low code got off on the wrong foot in the first place by name alone. Many developers see low-code as a misnomer or a marketing ploy. For example, they say low-code uses programmatic languages, like NLP, or they rely on code behind the UI, so they have code. Many developers see low code as marketing buzzwords to create interest and hype — but that doesn't deliver on its promise.

The alternative to this line of thinking is that low code is an existential threat to developers. Marketers and companies lean in on marketing a code-devoid utopia where the nontechnical thrive and developers are a thing of the past.

So why should DevOps even consider low code an option if it's a threat to their livelihoods?

DevOps & Low Code Sitting in a Tree? Maybe

Here's the reality: there aren't enough developers. According to Forbes, as of December 2020, the global talent shortage amounted to 40 million skilled workers worldwide. By 2030, the global talent shortage is expected to reach 85.2 million. As a result, every company has a backlog they're sitting on composed of new features, enhancements, and technical debt that is costing them revenue because of the lack of skilled talent.

So, what if you could make low code and no code work for you?

That's the promise that LC/NC brings to the table. The reality is that code varies in complexity from simple to really complex, brain-engaging code. I bet developers would prefer to steer clear of simple code and stay focused on complex code.

Instead of writing off LC/NC, companies can push simple code needs to LC/NC environments while maintaining complex stuff.

For example, writing integrations, workflows to stitch it together, and peripheral apps extending further with the existing environment and architecture?

Developing code for complex, really configured stuff that is so unique that low code/no code can't go there?

Keep it with your development team. Low-code definitely needs developers. Just not for everything. Indeed not the simple things.
Low-code still needs devs. Devs can benefit from low-code. Everyone can be friends and not force the other out of existence. And how do friendships happen?

By embracing each other and then working out how to work together. By meeting in the middle for a common cause: to combine cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that increase an organization's ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity.

James Bent is VP of Solutions Engineering at Virtuoso
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