How Low-Code Impacts Developer Careers

Author: Michelle Gardner, Director Content Marketing, Appian

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. 

A 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.

Date: May 25, 2022

Michelle Gardner

Director, Content Marketing, Appian

Michelle Gardner is a contributing editor of lowcode.com. She has written about enterprise technology for companies including Appian, OpenText, and Logi Analytics. 

Low-Code Guide

Low-Code development is the way to build apps more quickly by reducing the need to code.