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How Low-Code Impacts Developer Careers

Michelle Gardner, Appian
August 16, 2022

There has never been a better time to pursue a career as a software engineer. Demand for coders doubled in 2021, driven largely by the pandemic and steadily increasing demand for software purchases. As the demand for software increases, it only adds to a growing IT backlog—which already stretches up to 12 months, according to research from The Economist.

To meet the demand, more developers are adding low-code platforms to their skillsets. IDC predicts that between 2021 and 2025, the global population of low-code developers will grow at 3x the rate of the general developer population. Developers like the speed and power of best-in-class low-code platforms, which allow them to rapidly build apps without sacrificing quality. Low-code tools simplify the design process, allow developers to easily connect to multiple data sources, and streamline collaboration around any given project. 

recent survey compared two groups of developers—those who exclusively use high-code methods, and those who have adopted low-code as part of their toolkits—to understand how low-code impacts developers’ careers. Of the 403 US developers who responded to the survey, 31% exclusively used high-code (“High-Code Users”), while 69% use some combination of low-code and high-code (“Low-Code Users”). Keep reading to find out how low-code impacts developers’ careers, job satisfaction, earning potential, and more.

Low-code developers have a higher base salary on average.

The data revealed a strong positive correlation between low-code use and higher earnings. Low-code users, on average, have higher base salaries and receive pay raises more frequently than high-code users. 

  • 72% of low-code users make over $100K USD (compared to 64% of high-code users). 
  • Compared to a year ago, 37% of low-code developers have seen a 5–10% increase in their salaries, compared to 26% of high-code users. 

It’s worth noting that even developers who don’t use low-code recognize its potential impact on their salaries: 64% of developers who only use high-code still say that low-code skills would increase their earning potential.

Low-code developers report higher job satisfaction.

Developers who use low-code platforms report higher overall job satisfaction than those who only use high-code. They’re also more satisfied with the programming projects they get to work on, and say they have more opportunities to focus on innovative and mission-critical work: 

  • 42% of low-code users vs. 31% of high-code users say they are “highly satisfied” with their jobs.
  • 44% of low-code users vs. 31% of high-code users are “highly satisfied” with the programming projects they work on. 
  • 75% of low-code users vs. 64% of high-code users say they work on innovative projects.
  • 60% of low-code users vs. 40% of high-code users say they work on mission-critical projects.

Digital transformation through low-code offers greater career potential.

Beyond having higher morale at current jobs, low-code developers are also more optimistic when it comes to their career trajectories. Low-code users report that low-code has helped them advance their careers, and a significant number of high-code-only respondents echo the belief that low-code would help their careers if (or when) they learn it.

  • 84% of low-code developers say low-code will help them achieve their career goals faster. 
  • 83% of low-code developers say low-code certification is important to their career development. 

It’s notable that nearly half (45%) of all high-code users—having never used low-code—still consider low-code to be an important contributor to career development. 

Will low-code replace traditional development?

The correlations are clear: low-coder users report higher job satisfaction, increased earnings, and heightened optimism about their careers. It’s unsurprising that low-code, then, is becoming increasingly common as a tool for developers—Gartner predicts that by 2025, 70% of applications developed by enterprises will use low-code or no-code technologies, up from less than 25% in 2020.

Still, low-code will not replace traditional development. Top developers are learning how to combine the two, using low-code to handle tedious tasks of hand-coding while accelerating application development up to 17x (according to Forrester). By enabling developers to quickly build apps and reuse components, low-code frees up immense chunks of their time to focus on the important tasks only a human can do. 

Get more stats and insights comparing low-code developers with traditional developers in The State of Low-Code for Developers report.