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To code or not to code? That is the question

Image: Adobe Stock / Connect world

Apparently, 48% of employers think the workforce is lacking in digital skills, so could no-code be the answer? 

Despite the workforce becoming more digitally reliant, new survey results suggest that, less than half of employers (48%) in the UK believe that employees joining the workforce have the necessary digital skills or knowledge.

This has created a fear that the lack of relevant skills could affect businesses’ abilities to compete in the digital market, with over three quarters of businesses believing this could negatively impact their profitability.

According to research from Gartner, ‘low code’ or ‘no code’ solutions are gaining traction and are predicted to account for more than 65% of application development by 2024.

AI-powered software company, Intelastel surveyed 400 UK directors/CEOs/founders, managers, and self-employed/freelancers to reveal people’s thoughts towards coding, their knowledge in coding and what they think are the opportunities within the industry.

The majority (51%) of business leaders polled described themselves as ‘somewhat digitally proficient’ and 29% said they were ‘highly digitally proficient’.

However, when asked to select the correct definition of programming, less than half (46%) of those surveyed answered correctly and almost a quarter (24%) asserted that there’s no difference between a programmer and a developer.

 “This lack of basic understanding might suggest that many top executives are out of touch with the realities of the digital world,” said an Intelastel expert.

“The findings from our survey suggest that despite there being a demand for more tech knowledge in the workforce, there are many reasons why businesses don’t invest in this sort of education and training.

“Many believe that it is too time consuming (19%), while price (8%), lack of awareness (46%) and the belief that coding is pointless (5%) were stated as barriers.”

This has left many believing that ‘no code’ solutions will have a significant part to play in business operations in the future.

17% of business leaders believe that ‘no-code’, is a popular and promising alternative to traditional software development for non-technical business users hoping to build their own full-fledged applications, is the future.

The majority (58%) of respondents believe organisations should be moving towards a hybrid approach of training in both coding and ‘no code’, yet businesses cite a lack of promotion (39%) and a lack of education (26%) as reasons for not investing in ‘no code’ solutions.

“No-code allows all variations of businesses to develop and integrate a great digital platform and can minimise the number of employees being left in the dark due to their lack of digital skills.”

Despite what many believe, coding is more integrated into our everyday lives than is necessarily in our working digital life. 

Coding is required for tasks such as driving, shopping and even taking a shower, whereas it is not necessary for building an app, hosting a podcast, or launching an ecommerce site.

Apps can be developed without using code, as can creating an online store using ‘no-code’ platforms yet showering requires a pre-set microprocessor code and vegetables are usually grown in computerised temperature-controlled greenhouses and the use of a checkout till is required when purchasing them – this all requires coding.

Personally, I find a specific ‘no code’ approach pretty lazy management. If certain things can be done without code, great, but to scrap such a skill (which is exactly what it is, a skill, coding is bloody hard) because we don’t have enough people that know how, is a slippery slope.

I suggest more people invest in and learn how to code, because soon, much like the dinosaurs, people with any actual skills will be all but extinct.

We’re already going through what has been dubbed the ‘Great Resignation’ with bad management driving away and over working their most experienced staff, then being shocked when they’re left with wildly under qualified candidates to replace them.

It’s like cancel culture has bled into the job market, ‘Oh, you don’t know how to do that? We’ll just scrap it.’

Like, I find it mad that rather than the ‘unsuitable candidate’ having to change their behaviour/skillset to secure such a job, now it seems job roles are being redefined so they can be filled by anybody.

This is not only insulting to those that have invested time and money into learning such a skill, but despite coding being part of nearly every aspect of life, to go ‘no code’ makes zero sense.

What’s next, a surgeon that can’t do surgery? ‘Ah don’t worry you don’t need to know that’ whilst the patient flatlines on the operating table? I know this is a dramatic example, but the correct code could well be a matter of life and death, depending on the application.

In summary, if a candidate doesn’t have the skills for the job, you don’t get the job. Simple as that. It isn’t the job that should be changed, it’s the candidate, or the training opportunities available that need reassessed.

Since the pandemic, I’m aware businesses have had to tighten up, but the sheer amount of corner cutting and lack of investment in people/the workforce, is absolutely rife across all industries right now, and I really do hope management wake up and see how invaluable experience really is.

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