One of the most exciting developments in the world of apps is also one of the most democratic. No longer is app development exclusively the territory of programmers. Now, visual app development tools allow non-technical employees to become “citizen developers” who can build apps without writing code.

What this means is that the ability to build apps (and the responsibility for innovating) for a business becomes decentralized: anyone in any department can create software to solve a problem or address a need. Not only are problems being solved at the source, but coders are freed up to solve higher-order problems.

For IT departments, the “low-code revolution” opens up an enormous opportunity to empower employees to get involved in the app-development process. The timing is good: today’s IT departments are struggling with a developer shortage. Demand for coders exceeds supply by a factor of five. It’s hard to find tech talent, and teaching someone how to code can take months or years.

What is Low-Code?

A low-code platform allows non-technical developers to rapidly learn how to build apps with point-and-click, drag-and-drop tools. But does this mean that developers don’t need to code anymore? Are we seeing the end of code?

Not exactly. Visual app development tools can get you most of the way there when you’re building an app, but developers still need the flexibility to delve into code for complex customizations of logic, data integrations and UI. As business users get more involved in app development, the role of coders — and the definition of what it means to be a developer — will continue to evolve.

A Bigger Team for IT Leaders

Low-code platforms provide IT departments with a way to both empower business users with visual tools to build apps, while also providing coders with interfaces to customize them. By tightly coupling visual development tools with coding tools on a common platform, coders and citizen developers work hand in hand. The challenge for IT departments is in rethinking governance, security, and application lifecycle management. How CIOs and IT leaders choose to integrate app development throughout their companies will affect how quickly those companies can adapt to changes in the business environment.

But by empowering citizen developers in every part of the business, all of them modifying and adapting their own work rather than waiting for innovation to be handed down, change will happen constantly and smoothly rather than in uncomfortable lurches. The low-code revolution is really about setting the pace of change and making everyone an active participant.