Although some may say no-code is a trend, we highly disagree. As these tools are becoming more prominent and widespread, they are creating an entirely new economy that is shaping many areas of life, business, and education.
The invention of computing opened up a new sector for jobs and business opportunities. The World Wide Web launched entirely new ways to communicate and learn. No-code tools are providing non-technical workers and entrepreneurs a new, smoother path to ideate, innovate, and create.
“No-code and low-code tools are not about eliminating code or engineers. They are about making life easier for coders, while opening access to everyone, making everyone a ‘citizen developer.’ Through such tools, sales, marketing, product, operations teams and founders anywhere in the world can build sophisticated workflows and applications without needing any technical knowledge.”
The rise of the no-code economy comes at a time when the world is recovering from one of the largest global economic downturns in history. The world around us has had to rapidly change and adapt. No-code tools have made it possible for many businesses to not only stay afloat during this tumultuous time, but thrive.
Here’s how the no-code economy is developing across various industries, countries, and workforces.
Nothing has fueled no-code the way communities have. If there’s any indicator of the power of no-code to transform the way we work, look no further than the many no-code communities
popping up around the world.
These online communities are empowering people of all backgrounds, with technical skills and without, to harness the power of no-code tools to build things that were unimaginable five or 10 years ago. No-code communities are seeing their memberships explode. Makerpad
, a leader in the no-code movement, saw members quadruple in just the last year alone.
What are no-code communities?
No-code communities are online forums where no-code enthusiasts from across the world can collaborate to grow their no-code abilities. These communities include many different ways to develop skills, connect with no-code builders, and work together on new ideas, products, and processes. People of all industries and skill levels can unite within these communities to learn how to better use no-code tools.
Generally, these types of communities provide:
Webinars and events
The benefits of no-code communities are endless.
Most no-code communities are free of charge and provide lots of benefits. From discovering ways to improve your workday to learning how to build new products, no-code communities provide easy-to-digest education that can help you quickly harness the power of no-code tools.
These communities allow you to connect with innovative people across the globe who can help you learn new skills, discover new products, and troubleshoot difficult issues. They are helping develop a no-code economy in multiple ways:
Non-technical workers are able to skill up, helping them find better jobs or receive promotions.
No-code advocates from across the globe are able to connect, resulting in new partnerships, business deals, and company launches.
Freelance consultants can display their skills and offerings, drumming up new business and customers.
These communities themselves are businesses, turning thousands of dollars in revenue each year.
The top no-code communities you should join.
Joining a no-code community is quick and easy. Many are free to join and only require your email address to sign up. Some are global, while others are more localized to a specific country or region.
To find the right no-code community for you, take a look at the list below. Each offers its own unique benefits, so take some time to browse the sites to find one that offers exactly what you want, whether that’s an active Slack community, hours of on-demand tutorials, or digital events.
No-code is rapidly transforming education by providing entirely new opportunities for people to learn. Gone are the days of relying completely on higher education to access the education needed to start a career in the computer science field. No-code tools are enabling hundreds of thousands of people to learn on their own time in new ways.
“However, for the purpose of building a product and delivering value, no-code is where I believe the future is. In fact, I believe this is what programming and computer science should be like. We should be teaching logic, not syntax.”
No-code is creating new educational opportunities.
You may have heard about coding bootcamps
, which are short-term, hyper-focused educational programs meant to teach people how to code. These classes are usually offered by colleges, universities, and nonprofits and have provided new routes for people to take to get into tech.
It used to take years of training and a college degree in computer science to learn how to code. Now, intensive bootcamps can teach people the basics of coding in just months, sometimes in as little as 12 weeks. Many of these courses actually include no-code and low-code tools and principles in their teachings.
Courses and educational opportunities like this are a phenomenal opportunity for those who want to learn how to code. Many people who want to pivot their career into tech turn to these types of courses to prepare for their next step. Coding bootcamps have helped pave the way for a new generation of tech bootcamps, with a slightly altered focus.
Over the last five years, a new wave of bootcamps have surfaced: those focused on teaching people the basics of building web applications, mobile apps, and entire startups without needing any code. Organizations like AirDev
, Apps Without Code
, We Are No Code
, and Million Labs
all offer highly intensive and interactive bootcamps that teach people the basics of developing without needing to know a single line of code.
Benefits of no-code bootcamps:
Less expensive than traditional college courses
Oftentimes allow for self-paced learning
Connected to robust no-code communities
Usually completed within 10 weeks or less
Many guarantee the launch of your product, service, or business
Generally include certification and career opportunities
Gen Z is particularly fond of these new educational opportunities. As the first truly digitally-native generation, they understand the power of technology and are constantly looking for ways to harness new tools. Chris Obdam, founder and CEO of Betty Blocks
, explains in Technology Magazine
, “This new generation has embraced no-code. They will often build applications themselves in weeks or months, rather than queue at the door of IT for months or even years...Armed with a no-code development platform they’re able to create the systems they need quickly and relatively easily within visual, drag-and-drop building environments. This lower barrier of entry (versus learning to code) is a tempting option for tech-savvy Millennial and Gen Z employees who understand just how powerful application culture is right now.”
No-code education enables people to explore new careers.
For many people, the new educational opportunities presented by the no-code movement provide an entirely new career or business opportunity. Many no-code tools offer their own free certification programs, enabling people to dig deeper into the no-code tools they use day in and day out. From high schoolers looking for ways to unlock more job opportunities to those mid-career looking to expand their skill set, no-code education is enabling millions across the globe to explore new careers and industries.
Get Formstack Certified
Formstack offers its own free certification program that focuses on ways to use our no-code platform to better manage data and workflows.Get Certified
These remote-first, short-term educational programs offer a way to quickly learn how to become an entrepreneur or launch a startup. No Code MBA
features stories of people using no-code to build companies that generate more than $30,000 in revenue per month. Entire websites, like learningnocode.com
, are devoted to sharing the many educational options available to people looking to expand their skills through no-code tools.
“I think the most important thing you should know about me is that I'm not your typical founder type. I have zero entrepreneurial experience. I'm not technically illiterate, but I definitely can't code. And I really never, ever imagined myself running my own thing. I think a large part of how I got here is down to the doors that no-code solutions opened for me.”
If you haven’t investigated the educational opportunities provided in the no-code arena, you should consider it. Improving your knowledge and skills can vastly increase your chances of getting a promotion, moving into a new role, or receiving a pay increase. This is because many organizations are facing a severe shortage of IT professionals and must discover other ways to fill the gap. No-code tools offer a promising solution to the lack of IT skills that is causing losses totalling $390 billion annually worldwide
As the speed in which we must work and produce continues to accelerate, many organizations are finding it difficult to keep up. No-code tools can help fill these gaps by providing employees simple tools that take minimal effort to learn. But oftentimes, organizations lack capacity to fully train employees on new technology, regardless of its ease of use.
Needing to adopt new technology is not a new issue; it’s what fuels software consultancies around the world. But the invention of no-code tools has created an entirely new area of specialization for consultancies, agencies, and freelancers.
A New Industry: No-Code Consulting Agencies
The no-code economy is shaping an entirely new breed of agencies that have one sole mission: to help organizations learn and adopt no-code tools.
Oftentimes, these agencies are working across departments to teach multiple teams about no-code tools. They partner with organizations, big and small, to implement new processes, systems, and workflows using only no-code tools.
It may seem contrary to hire a consultant or agency to provide no-code tool assistance if the tools themselves are easy to use and non-technical. But these businesses are not meant to facilitate these tools for you long-term; they act as a capacity builder to help organizations learn quickly, ramp faster, and skip the most time-consuming parts of building a new process, system, or app. These agencies exist to empower employees and speed up everything from launching websites to building new apps.
Reimagining their world of work
No-code agencies are here to help your organization innovate, create, and deliver faster. Take a look at some of the top no-code agencies helping companies across the world reimagine their world of work through no-code tools.Learn More
Empowering Freelancers with New Business Models
No-code is also opening new realms for freelancers. In the age of the gig economy, there are now even more ways for freelance consultants to expand their portfolio of offerings. Search any gig app, such as Fiverr, Upwork, or Freelancer, and you’ll find freelancers specializing in no-code tools.
Some freelancers even create entire businesses by focusing on one or two specific no-code apps. These workers get hired by organizations to implement a specific use case, run particular trainings, or solve very specific problems when companies are extremely strapped for time and resources. Freelancers can go on to develop other streams of revenue by creating pay-to-watch trainings or contributing as a subject matter expert on tech blogs.
One common assumption people make about no-code and low-code tools is that they will take jobs away from developers. But the truth is quite the opposite: no-code tools create jobs that simultaneously support IT, DevOps, and software engineers.
“Many developers feel that no-code will make normal application development obsolete. However, that’s not the case. No-code platforms are meant to assist developers for more basic applications. No-code helps developers focus their talent better.”
No-code makes it easier for non-technical workers to build solutions to their biggest problems, regardless of role, department, or industry. This power to quickly build tools, processes, apps, and workflows is creating new roles and jobs—yet they might not look like no-code roles from a glance.
No-code based jobs and roles are emerging.
Many of the jobs rolling out across industries that focus on using no-code don’t have no-code in the title. They may not even include no-code in the job description. But they all focus on finding ways to optimize business processes and build better ways of working.
Roles that use no-code and low-code tools include:
Productivity solutions manager
Business operations associate
Process automation lead
These roles specialize in optimizing processes, building solutions, and discovering ways to easily automate and streamline the day-to-day work within their organizations.
According to the Tonkean report The State of Business Operations 2021, 80% of IT and operations professionals think no-code and low-code solutions will empower their operations team to get more work done.
Yet there is an emergence of roles with no-code in the title, ranging from no-code developer and no-code operations to no-code consultant. Although a fairly new sector for jobs, it is growing: LinkedIn currently shows 103,276 job results for the keyword “no-code” and 4,358 results for “low-code.”
“No-code operations is the practice of using no-code and low-code tools to build internal systems without reliance on engineering support. It is an evolving job category and skillset within the world of tech. It takes a systems thinking approach to building impactful internal tools—all without the need for code. For some, it's a project. For others, it could become a full-time job.”
No-code roles expand technical resources without hiring more developers.
There’s a big workforce problem that stalls organizations across the globe: there are not enough software developers available to keep up with the digital demands of the modern workplace.
According to IEEE
, “no-code development is also a solution to a supply-and-demand problem: a rising demand for generating more software, but a limited number of developers who can create that software.”
With these no-code and low-code based roles, organizations are able to expand their technical capabilities without needing to hire more developers or coders. This creates a positive ripple effect through organizations by saving money, empowering departments to build their own solutions, and providing IT greater bandwidth to focus on the most complicated, technical issues.
According to our survey, many organizations and industries believe their organization will begin hiring for no-code roles within the next year:
35% in Computer & Electronics Manufacturing
23% in Architecture & Construction
19% in Software & Technology
The digital revolution brought forth by no-code tools is changing the way departments and roles function. It used to be the norm to have to submit website requests, app ideas, complicated workflows, and tech requests to IT, then wait for IT to have the bandwidth to tackle the request. Now, it is now becoming more commonplace to have roles within teams and departments that can handle these with no-code tools.
“Digital business acceleration is putting pressure on IT leaders to dramatically increase application delivery speed and Time to Value. The increased demand for custom software solutions in support of digital transformation has sparked the emergence of citizen developers outside of IT, which, in turn has influenced the rise in low-code. Gartner predicts that half of all new low-code clients will come from business buyers that are outside the IT organization by year-end 2025.”
“So, no-code and low-code platforms have the potential to boost the business value of programmers and non-programmers alike. Thanks to abstraction, non-technical employees can quickly spin up common types of applications and mold them to their immediate needs. Thanks to automation, devs save time on repetitive tasks like data entry or reporting.”
“The need for digital transformation is at an all-time high and cannot be met with incumbent tech platforms, especially given the shortage of technical workers. Low-code/no-code tools have stepped in to fill this void by enabling knowledge workers—who are 10x more populous than technical workers—to configure software without having to code. This has the potential to save significant time and money and to enable end-to-end digital experiences inside of enterprises faster.”
“Operational teams are the heart of any business but are often underserved by technology to create solutions to serve clients. The real power of no-code tools is the ability to connect them with tools you are already using and build something in hours to create a specific workflow or solve a specific problem. It gives operational teams superpowers to move fast and build things!”
Try these no-code tools
An explosion of no-code tools have made it easier than ever to drag, drop, point, and click an idea to life. Here's a curated list of 7 no-code tools to try.Check It Out
No-code tools make it easier than ever for entrepreneurs to develop their next big idea
. From building algorithms to developing mobile apps, no-code enables entrepreneurs and business owners to reach their goals faster than ever before.
As stated by Clive Thompson in the WIRED article The New Startup: No Code, No Problem
, “Now you don't need to know any programming to launch a company. We've been approaching this moment for years.”
Businesses can now develop an MVP of their product or idea in months, versus years. New ventures can be funded with thousands of dollars, instead of hundreds of thousands or more. Entrepreneurs and founders can launch businesses with a much leaner staff, requiring less of an initial investment and overhead costs. Much of this was nearly impossible before the rise of the no-code economy.
“As more and more non-technical entrepreneurs gain access to low-code and no-code tools, so will the number of useful applications multiply; and the technology's ramifications for the start-up ecosystem could be significant. Turning that good idea into an actual product could be about to get a lot easier.”
Go back a few years, and you could not rely on yourself to launch a business that had major technical, mobile, or app-based components. You’d need to hire a developer, or find a partner with technical knowledge. In many cases, investments were limited or nonexistent for those without any coding skills or developers on staff. Creating a new app or service could take years of work and large sums of human and financial capital.
“No-code allows non-technical founders and entrepreneurs to build MVPs (Minimum Viable Products) with minimal features that early adopters can use. This enables you to launch a new product at a fraction of the cost of traditional development.”
Because of these barriers of time, cost, resources, and knowledge, many could-be founders were left to only dream about their idea. But with the development and adoption of no-code tools, millions of possibilities began to emerge for new kinds of founders, entrepreneurs, and business leaders. This no-code economy has created a new realm of innovators and founders: those building businesses completely on no-code tools.
Here are a few of their stories:
An app that curates artwork for users based on their interests, budget, need, and taste, using an algorithm that does not rely on code
Why take a no-code approach
“I didn't know how to code myself. I didn't have $20,000 to hire a developer to build it for me. I didn't have a couple years to learn how to code before I even could get going launching it. And I also was having trouble finding the right tech-savvy business partner to help me. I didn't really know who I could trust and who I wanted to work with. And so I decided, I'm not going to be stuck by any of these things. I refuse to be stuck. And so I started teaching myself how to create this product experience that I wanted to have with just the tools and resources that I already had—the knowledge I already had.”
*Featured in the Ripple Effect episode The No-Code Tech Revolution
Bubble, Google Sheets, Zapier, Stripe, PayPal, SurveyGizmo
Within one year, Kollecto reached 400 active users, brought in $30,000 in sales, and landed a $100,000 investment from 500 Startups.
No-code based business
On Deck’s No-Code Fellowship
and builder of eight successful no-code products, including Cuppa
, and Build In Public
An eight-week program for builders who want to turn their ideas into reality using no-code tools, surrounded by a community of incredible peers from over 30 countries
Why take a no-code approach
“No-code should be an important part of how entrepreneurs envision building their business because of the rise of the creator economy and the no-code movement. It has allowed me to simply test and validate my assumptions and ideas without needing a developer. I've built several side-projects and businesses using no-code. At my current job, 70-80% of our workflows use no-code tools like Airtable, Zapier, and Integromat. Thanks to no-code, I shipped my 1st MVP back in 2018 for an idea I had in 5 days.”
*Featured in the Formstack article Let’s Get to K(no)w Code
Bubble, Carrd, Bildr, Airtable, Table2Site
As far as his work with On Deck, the No-Code Fellowship will welcome its second cohort on July 10, 2021. Karthik’s own projects
have received designation as the #1 Product of the Day on Product Hunt, acquired more than 3,000 users, and garnered recognition in publications like WIRED.com and The New Yorker.
A simple, automated service to upscale copywriting for businesses without sacrificing on quality
Why take a no-code approach
“I didn't set out to launch a no-code business, I kind of fell into it by instinctively patch-working solutions together with tools like Zapier and Airtable. I have zero experience building with no-code, and even less experience running a business. But fast forward two years and I'm now running a successful business that's powered entirely by no-code!”
*Featured in the No Code Founders article How Dani Bell built a $30k MRR done-for-you content marketing business with no-code
Airtable, Webflow, Google Docs, SPP, Quickflow
She built Scribly’s website in one day and spun up the entire product and client onboarding process quickly with low-cost, no-code tools. Scribly now generates $30,000 in revenue each month.