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  • Writer's pictureBleona Bicaj

The rise of low-code / no-code development platforms

Low-code / no-code (LCNC) tools provide a visual approach to software development by automating parts of the application development process. These solutions allow developers, even without prior software development experience, to easily build applications, leading to potential time and cost efficiencies. To understand how the adoption of LCNC tools has evolved over the past 18 months, we draw data and insights from SlashData Q1 2022 and Q3 2023 global developer surveys. This begs the question, to what extent are developers using LCNC tools for their development projects?

Usage of Low-Code No-Code tools in development projects

Over the past 18 months, the percentage of developers using LCNC tools in their projects has substantially increased, from 46% to 57%. Furthermore, 32% report using these tools for at least a quarter of their development work as of Q3 2023 (up from 26% in Q1 2022). This suggests that not only are LCNC tools becoming more popular amongst developers, but a significant proportion of them are incorporating them in larger parts of their work.

a data graph showing how the adoption of LCNC tools by developers has evolved over the past 18 months

With technology advancements, the toolkit of developers is, without a doubt, expanding. Developers with different levels of experience show different behaviours when it comes to adopting LCNC tools. So, how does the usage of LCNC tools change with the level of experience in software development?

Usage of Low-Code No-Code tools based on developers’ experience

Overall, we see that those with more than a decade of experience in software development are the least likely to use LCNC tools, with 39% of those developers utilising such tools in their development work in Q3 2023. In contrast, around 60% of those with up to 10 years of experience rely on LCNC solutions. In general, the adoption of LCNC tools has grown in the last 18 months across all experience levels.

Our data over the past 18 months uncovers a tale of generational shifts and adaptability. As of Q3 2023, 66% of developers with three to five years of experience report using LCNC tools, significantly more than those with more than a decade of experience (39%). This might signal a generational divide, where adaptability and openness to new technologies define the new wave of software developers. However, our data shows that highly experienced developers are also slowly catching up with the trend, although more carefully.

a data graph showing usage of LCNC tools by experience in software development

In software development work, the adoption of LCNC tools reveals not just a generational shift but a notable gender dynamic. This raises another important question: how is a developer’s gender associated with the usage of LCNC tools in the development process?

Usage of Low-Code No-Code tools based on developers’ gender

A significant proportion of female developers report using LCNC tools, whereas male developers are less inclined to integrate these platforms into their work. As of Q3 2023, 70% of female developers are integrating LCNC tools in their development work, which is significantly above that of male developers (53%). However, in terms of the trend from Q1 2022 to Q3 2023, the percentage point increase is the same for both genders.

However, delving deeper into our broader research reveals that this gender gap is not merely a reflection of gender-specific behaviour. Instead, it is tied to broader industry trends. We know that newcomers to software development are more inclined to adopt LCNC tools given their user-friendly nature and lower barriers to entry. Furthermore, team members in roles adjacent to core coding activities—such as designers and project managers, are also more likely to adopt LCNC technologies. Within both of these groups, we find a predominance of female developers over male developers, which highlights how experience levels and job functions, rather than gender alone, are significant drivers behind the adoption of LCNC tools.

a data graph showing the usage of LCNC tools by gender

The uptake of LCNC tools also reveals some variations across different software development areas. Finally, we ask the question: What role does the distinct nature of each sector play when it comes to the adoption of LCNC technologies?

Usage of Low-Code No-Code tools based on software development area

Our survey data show a significant surge in the utilisation of LCNC tools among developers working on games, with the percentage of developers who use LCNC tools for games growing from 52% in Q1 2022 to 66% in Q3 2023. As developers seek more efficient, accessible, and flexible approaches to meet the fast-evolving demands of the gaming industry, it is no wonder that the utility of LCNC tools for this industry is on the rise.

The largest share of developers use LCNC tools on VR as of Q3 2023 (78%), significantly up from 68% in Q1 2022. The high usage of LCNC tools among VR developers can be attributed to several factors inherent to that industry. First, the immersive nature of VR content creation calls for quick prototyping and iteration, which LCNC tools adeptly facilitate. This enables developers to bring their visions to life with greater speed and less technical burden. In turn, this enables more individuals without significant programming expertise to contribute to the VR landscape; a landscape which, our survey data show, mainly comprises developers with less than five years of experience in software development.

Conversely, web apps / software as a service and backend services are the least likely to embrace LCNC tools, with 45% of them in Q1 2022 and 52% in Q3 2023 using these tools in each area, respectively. These sectors have well-established development frameworks and methodologies that may not align seamlessly with the abstractions and constraints of LCNC platforms.

a data graph showing the usage of LCNC tools by software development area

Overall, the adoption of LCNC tools has increased considerably over the past 18 months, across most developer segments. Despite the slower growth rate of LCNC tools in some software development areas, the gradual increase in their adoption suggests a growing recognition of their potential to streamline certain aspects of development. This hints at a future where even the most code-intensive domains might find value in the simplicity and efficiency that LCNC tools have to offer.

We can dive deeper into the world of LCNC or the software development area that is most important to you. Get in touch and we will take care of the rest.

About the author

Bleona Bicaj, Senior Market Research Analyst

Bleona Bicaj is a behavioural specialist, enthusiastic about data and behavioural science. She holds a Master's degree from Leiden University in Economic and Consumer Psychology. She has 5 years of professional experience as an analyst in the data analysis and market research industry.


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