No-code software development, also known as visual programming, is asserting itself as the future of workforce enablement. Forrester predicts the market for low-code development platforms will increase to $27.23 billion by 2022 at a compound annual growth rate of 44.49 percent. Big tech companies are developing or purchasing their own low-code tools (see Google’s recent AppSheet acquisition). Major enterprises like Nasdaq are targeting low- and no-code platforms as key IT priorities in 2020.
But all of this momentum raises an important question: What does a successful no-code developer actually look like? If this is the future of the tech industry, recruiters and employers will need an idea of what they’re looking for in the talent market.
While no-code tools don’t require coding skills, they do require programming skills. Think of it this way: Code is to language as programming is to poetry. A good no-code developer is someone who can translate abstract problems into requirements, architecture, design, and logic.
In slightly more concrete terms, here are some of the specific skills and traits to look for in a no-code developer — plus some ways to evaluate candidates accordingly:
1. Effective Problem-Solving
At their core, no-code developers function as problem-solvers. Large, complex software products are simply collections of smaller features, and the best no-code developers can break complex problems down into smaller, actionable pieces. All software requires the creation of logical statements to dictate workflow to perform tasks; the ideal candidate will not only understand this concept, but will also be able to clearly dictate logical workflows.
Before hiring a no-code developer, it’s helpful to run candidates through case studies that allow them to showcase their ability to identify and rectify problem areas while illustrating the methodologies they use. In addition, asking the candidate to perform relevant tasks — like extracting insights from a complicated spreadsheet — can be an excellent way to assess their logical skills.
2. A Broad Vision Backed by Attention to Detail
Building a good product requires a broad vision. It’s imperative to understand the high-level problem the software is looking to solve and how the developer can build an application that effectively solves the problem. At the same time, the developer must be able to understand the problem and the solution on a highly granular level: What exactly will the software require? What specific features or formulas are necessary?
To test a candidate on this somewhat nebulous ability, ask them to think broadly about big-picture matters, like business models. Then, ask them to think more specifically, like about how a particular algorithm would work in a given context. This strategy will help you ascertain how helpful a particular no-code developer would be, and it will grant you insight into the candidate’s methodology for working on complex software applications.
For more expert recruiting insights, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:
3. A Sense of User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) Design
These days, a great software product has to not only function well but also present said functionality in an accessible, intuitive, and friendly manner. While no-code developers aren’t necessarily expected to be expert designers, they do need to understand what good design looks like and how to incorporate it into the final software product.
In order to test a prospective hire’s sense of design, present them with hypothetical products and ask them to sketch how interfaces for those products should be laid out and presented to the user. You may also want to provide the candidate with a few sample user interfaces and ask them to explain what they like or don’t like about each one. These kind of exercises will give you an idea of whether the developer understands the fundamental design characteristics of a successful product.
4. Communication Skills
Creating high-quality software requires a lot of coordination with stakeholders, from the marketing department to the C-suite. It’s important your no-code developers can confidently communicate the status of a project, any roadblocks they might encounter, and the nuances of the development process with a broad audience so everyone feels on the same page.
To test a candidate’s communication skills, look at how clear and precise their writing is. Evaluate their resume, their cover letter, and any exercises you might put them through during the hiring process. Are they able to articulate how they would approach building an application? Can they explain that process clearly even to a non-technical audience?
No-code tools have the ability to greatly improve your development cycle. However, this acceleration makes it all the more critical for you to build in the right direction: The mistakes will be amplified along with the smart moves.
No-code and low-code applications are not going away; in fact, they may be the new normal as we look to the future of software development. Finding the right developers now will ensure you are positioned to succeed moving forward.
Andrew Haller is the co-CEO of AirDev.