15 minutes read

Interview: Career switch from code to no-code

Interview: Code to no-code

Table of Contents

Interview introduction

Let’s face it, it is quite difficult to attract talent from traditional development industry into no-code development. Our hiring strategy is that every hire is required to have some technical background (mostly software engineering experience) so that we can deliver quality apps that can scale and are secure.

One of the main reasons why developers from traditional development don’t incline towards no-code development is that they think no-code is only for super simple apps, you don’t have any control and you have a lot of limitations. Our developers wouldn’t agree 🙂
Before jumping into individual questions and answers, let me introduce the few members of our development team that we interviewed:

Herman

After completing his BC degree in computer science, Herman started as front-end developer focusing on angular.js development. With further advancement in his career he started to delve into low-code and no-code development. First he started with development of mobile applications with FlutterFlow and Firebase and later with development of web apps using WeWeb and Xano.

Fares

Fares began learning web development during his Bachelor’s degree. While still a student, he started freelancing as a full-stack developer, primarily using Next.js and Supabase. After graduating with his Master’s degree, he had the opportunity to delve into no-code development, working on real projects with WeWeb and Supabase.

Michal

Upon finishing his Masters degree in information management, preceded by BC degree in computer science, Michal started working as a full-stack web developer, mainly utilizing .NET, JavaScript, MSSQL and InfluxDB. After 3 years of traditional development, he fully switched to the low-code approach of creating web and mobile apps. As of now he is focusing mainly on development with WeWeb and Xano platforms, however he has experience with other no/low-code tools such as Bubble, Supabase and FlutterFlow.

What initially attracted you to no-code development after working in traditional programming?

Herman

I was initially attracted to no-code development because it offered a way to streamline the development process, eliminating many of the repetitive and monotonous tasks that are common in traditional programming. My early interest in platforms like WordPress and Joomla paved the way for my eventual discovery of no-code development an year ago, which has since become a significant part of my work. This shift was driven by the desire to automate routine tasks and the appeal of platforms that simplified the development process, making it more accessible and efficient.

Fares

The fact that there are many companies/startups projects built using no-code, I had this wrong idea about no-code that it’s only for static websites, but once I tried WeWeb everything changed. I realized that no-code has great potential especially when it comes to launching MVPs, I think it’s the fastest way to get it done.

Michal

What I enjoyed about my previous programming position was not necessarily writing code, but creating the software. The little I’ve heard about the no-code approach before I’ve started working at QikBuild involved mainly promises of faster development, variety of pain-free integrations and ability to skip through a huge chunk of the usual DevOps responsibilities.

Can you describe your first experience with a no-code platform? Which platform was it, and what was the project about?

Herman

My first encounter with a no-code platform was with WordPress in 2013. As a novice, I found it overly complex, filled with intricate mechanisms and details that seemed unnecessary. This complexity led me to abandon my first project before completion. Despite this initial setback, the experience sparked my interest in exploring simpler, more intuitive no-code solutions that could streamline the development process without sacrificing functionality.

Fares

My first no-code platform was Weweb, although I started with 0 experience, but it took me few days to get everything I need to start contributing on my first project which was about buying/renting houses, the project was really big so that I covered everything like connecting DB (Supabase), integrating payment gateway (Stripe), authentication, edge functions, etc.

Michal

My first experience with no-code was a one accompanied by a relatively intense learning curve. Since I’ve never done a day of no-coding before and my previous job position included working on a company product, not necessarily working on a client project, there was a lot of novel stuff for me. Goal of my first project was to co-develop a complex HR system, where I was led and taught by Juraj Ivan. Techstack-wise, we combined Bubble (frontend) and Xano (backend) with a few other integrations (PandaDoc, SendGrid…). Satisfaction of working with these tools varied. Xano left me surprised with all the possibilities it offered and the amount of time it has saved us on development. However, working with Bubble was not as satisfying and sometimes it was a downright headache. Hence the QikBuild inside joke – Bubble being Bubble. We later switched to different frontend platforms that offer much more flexibility though.

How does your background in traditional programming influence your approach to no-code development?

Herman

My experience in traditional programming has been instrumental in my no-code career. It allows me to understand the underlying mechanisms of no-code platforms, ensuring that I can deliver high-quality software. This background knowledge enables me to leverage the strengths of no-code tools effectively, providing a solid foundation for creating robust applications without the need for extensive coding.

Fares

Knowing the fundamentals of web development like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, helped me to skip a big part of video tutorials. Because the styling options that Weweb provides have the same name as the traditional CSS properties (display, color, fonts…).

Michal

The biggest influence is in approaching architecture design, algorithms and integrations in a more structured and technical matter than a usual no-coder would do. The other important benefit of a previous programming job is unironically, being able to code. Funny, right? No-code is often being interchanged with low-code, in which we mix no-code principles but apply custom code snippets where no-code falls short or we are presented with a set of very specific requirements. Since a large part of my programming tech stack was JavaScript, which is supported by a majority of no-code platforms, we are currently utilizing, I am able to introduce custom functionality where needed. Thus I can also progress independently on projects that require more of a low-code approach.

What are the most significant differences you’ve noticed between traditional coding and no-code platforms in terms of project workflow?

Herman

The most significant difference between traditional coding and no-code platforms in terms of project workflow is the balance between enjoyment and routine. With traditional programming, I experienced a 50/50 split between engaging work and monotonous tasks. However, with no-code platforms, this ratio shifts to a more favorable 85/15, indicating a higher proportion of enjoyable work compared to routine tasks. This shift is primarily due to the automation of repetitive tasks and the streamlined development process offered by no-code tools, which enhances the overall development experience by making it more efficient and less tedious.

Fares

  • The speed, it literally takes a few clicks to start a new project and start using the built-in components which makes you move really fast
  • The ability to build workflows as a sequential named blocks makes it easier and more convenient to understand the functionality of that workflow
  • How easy it is to handle responsiveness

Michal

The most notable (positive) aspect of no-code/low-code is the speed. Not only do I mean the speed of implementing new features/improvements/bug fixes, but also the speed and simplification of DevOps logic as well. Leading no-code platforms are bringing us, the community, new updates very frequently further speeding up the process we are able to deliver, through various new features and improvements. With that being said, one of the differences that does not play in favor of no-code (just yet) is actually the speed of backend operations when implementing solutions with >millions of DB records. With a solution like Xano (Postgres based), that enables caching, indexing and implementing custom logic in background task we can speed up data processes and optimize performance to a large extent, but hyper optimization is still a topic of the future.

In your opinion, what types of projects are best suited for no-code development as opposed to traditional programming?

Herman

In my opinion, no-code development is best suited for projects aimed at testing business hypotheses quickly and efficiently. For instance, creating a website to track daily apple consumption can be rapidly developed using a no-code platform like WeWeb in just two days. This approach allows for the swift validation of ideas and the development of minimum viable products (MVPs) to test market demand before investing significant resources into full-scale development. This method is particularly effective for startups and businesses looking to validate their concepts with minimal initial investment.

Fares

In my opinion, any project that’s based on the CRUD functionalities can be easily implemented using no-code platforms.

Michal

Since no-code derives its strength from enabling devs to quickly implement and publish new features and improvements, it is perfect for small to medium size projects. There are also a lot of potential customers who are simply lacking the resources for funding a project that would be developed by traditional means. No-code can cut such costs even by 3-5x, depending on the case. Even if the client decides for a no-code approach because of time and resources, he will still be able to partially or fully transition into traditional development in later stages of the project, if there will be such need. Are you a startup or an individual who wants to gather feedback and validate your idea? No-code. Do you have a vision for a product that you want to slowly build upon? No-code. Do you lack large initial capital and can’t afford tens of thousands for a simple POC? No-code. Are you somebody that already has a clear vision for their web/mobile app and doesn’t want to spend a fortune on the development? No-code.

How do you handle situations where a no-code platform’s capabilities are limited? Can you give an example of a workaround you’ve implemented?

Herman

When faced with limitations in a no-code platform’s capabilities, I leverage my traditional programming skills to create or enhance components directly in an IDE. For example, with platforms like FlutterFlow and WeWeb, I can easily open an IDE to develop custom components or modify existing ones to meet specific project requirements. This approach allows me to overcome the limitations of no-code platforms by integrating custom-coded solutions, ensuring that the project’s needs are fully met.

Fares

When a no-code platform like WeWeb hits its limit, I try to find an alternative solutions either by looking for another suited idea that WeWeb can handle or by creating my own coded solution like coded components. One limit I faced was with Stripe integrating where I had to use Supabase edge functions to handle some case scenarios because WeWeb stripe extension wasn’t enough to this case.

Michal

Depends on the use case. As I mentioned earlier, there are sometimes situations where I need to brush up my JavaScript skills. I have also come across situations that did not necessarily require a coding approach, rather combining multiple features to reach a favorable outcome. In the mentioned HR system, there was a need for column-level security, which varied based on different user roles. This is not a native Xano functionality. We achieved this by creating a metadata table, where every row was unique and represented a distinct column of different tables. Every column that holds data that is returned to the frontend has representation in this table as one row (record). Every row carried information about accessibility (none, read, suggest, write) by particular role. When a user requested data about himself, or any other user, each column was validated against this metadata table and the current user role. This way we introduced column-level security into Xano and were able to dynamically allow users to access and edit data.

What skills from traditional programming are still relevant and useful in no-code development?

Herman

Understanding logic and problem-solving, basic concepts of algorithms and data structures, and a good grasp of user experience design principles are all traditional programming skills that remain highly relevant and useful in no-code development.

Fares

I would say knowing how to work with display flex and grid in CSS, will help a lot to handle most of the complicated layouts on no-code platforms. Also knowing JS event listeners will help handle some events that WeWeb doesn’t provide.

Michal

There are definitely sets of skills that are valuable, no matter if you are a traditional programmer or a no/low-coder. First that come to mind are:

  • The ability to design a data architecture, tackle a problem efficiently while keeping in mind possible impacts. This also allows you to better estimate various feature requests
  • Being able to work in a team, assist others and split the workload is just as important when working with no-code
  • Soft skills and ability to communicate with the client about the expectations, deadlines and his pains
  • Basic product thinking goes a long way, no matter the development stack we choose, mainly when client is not sure about particular decision

Can you share a project you worked on that would have been more challenging without your coding background?

Herman

The project I’m currently working on is a prime example of how my coding background has been invaluable. Without our custom-coded component, we wouldn’t have been able to fully meet the client’s request for a Data Grid feature. This demonstrates the critical role that coding expertise plays in tailoring solutions to specific client needs, especially when dealing with complex functionalities.

Fares

The project was related to real estate, where users can buy/sell houses. This project was so big and not having a coding background won’t be enough to build the features it has, because we had to use a lot of JavaScript code.

Michal

Even though I worked on several projects at QikBuild since the mentioned HR system, it is definitely the most complex one yet. Without my previous coding/tech experience I would definitely not be ready for such complexity, simply because of the various data requirements, the need for keeping the track of chronological data validity (bitemporal data model), task approval history and management, column-level security and much more.

What advice would you give to traditional developers who are skeptical about the effectiveness of no-code development?

Herman

I recommend giving no-code a try and dedicating at least one project to it. You’ll likely discover new insights and capabilities that traditional coding might not offer.

Fares

Just give it a shot, and you’ll see how it’s quick and easy to implement most of the applications using no-code platforms, because at the end these platforms were built to make implementing web and mobile apps much faster.

Michal

I feel there is an unfortunate, but understandable stigma around no-code that is coming from the sense of pride of creating software “the hard and old school way”. But let’s be real: as time passes, there is still more and more abstraction introduced to software development. Just like we don’t use Assembly language to create basic software anymore and are utilizing high-level programming where we can, we should strive to adopt further abstract techniques like no/lowcode and AI. I would advise the traditional devs to try out the no-code with an open mind. All of the platforms from out tech-stack (WeWeb, Xano, Supabase, FlutterFlow) offer free starting plans they can play around with in their free time or during the research phase. These can incredibly speed up their work and cut costs where needed. Traditional devs already have technical background and learning the no-code approach is that much easier. Also, using a no-code platform for let’s say frontend part of the project does not mean that it cannot be integrated with a traditional coded backend system. The part of being a developer is exploring options beyond our skillset.

What has been the most rewarding project you’ve worked on using no-code tools and why?

Fares

It was the same real estate project, and because so big, I had a good experience reward on how to use WeWeb.

Michal

That would be Mladílekári, a web app for students of medicine and young MDs, that aims to facilitate the process of navigating through somewhat murky waters of Slovak healthcare employment. The reason being the ability to quickly launch new features that have practical use and can help somebody out there who wants to make a change.

How do client interactions differ when you’re working with no-code platforms compared to traditional development environments?

Herman

Client interactions don’t significantly differ when working with no-code platforms versus traditional development environments. The main difference lies in presenting clients with the option to use existing solutions in a no-code environment or opt for custom development, which may require more time.

Fares

Not sure if this is the answer to this question, but I find it easier to explain to a client the way or the logic I used, because no-code platforms are more like a visual representation, not like traditional code where everything is just a code syntax.

Michal

Since I was helping to develop company products in my previous role, I did not come in contact with clients that much. However, in my current position as a no/low-code developer I had a chance to come across mainly positive reactions, when developing sought solutions.

Are there any misconceptions about no-code development that you’d like to address?

Herman

One common misconception about no-code development is that it cannot lead to earning a stable income. This is far from the truth; with the right approach and leveraging the capabilities of no-code platforms, it’s entirely possible to build a successful career and earn a steady income in the no-code space.

Fares

I guess some of the misconceptions are:

  • No-code applications can’t scale: well, using a good serverless solution like Supabase to handle the back-end, the app can scale to hundreds of users
  • Not able to build complicated layouts that include animations: well, at least Weweb lets you create coded components and then import them into your app
  • No-code platforms help building only simple apps: most of the apps are just CRUD based functionalities which I believe most no-code platforms provide

Michal

Probably the first misconception that comes to mind is that no-code is suitable only for static websites that have little to none dynamic functionality. This is simply not the case. There are a myriad of web/mobile solutions that can be developed with no-code. The second misconception is that no-code is a fad that has no future. With further no-code progress, development abstraction and AI support the possibilities are only expanding.

Looking back, is there anything you miss about traditional programming that no-code platforms can’t replace?

Herman

Reflecting on traditional programming, I miss the structured environment provided by languages like TypeScript and the use of linters that allow for maintaining a monolithic project structure. In no-code platforms, the flexibility allows every developer to implement their ideas freely, making it challenging to enforce consistency across a project.

Fares

I would say the community, where most of the problems are solved, and also when it comes to using AI, it has more knowledge on solving the traditional coding problems than the no-code ones.

Michal

As of now, I don’t miss anything in particular. However, during the first few months of developing no-code platforms I was still more proficient in traditional programming than no-code. There were times when I was a bit frustrated, because there were a few isolated cases where I felt I could accomplish the same task faster with coding. Admittedly, this was more about my inexperience with no-code, than the shortcomings of no-code.

Herman

I stay updated with the latest trends and updates in no-code tools by following official websites and communication channels, as well as engaging with the no-code community on platforms like X. Subscribing to no-code enthusiasts and influencers, such as the one on Twitter, provides valuable insights and keeps me informed about the latest features and news in the no-code space. This guy for example.

Are there any specific problems that you had in traditional programming that are solved by no-code tools out-of-the-box?

Herman

Yes, no-code tools can solve specific problems that were challenging in traditional programming, such as DevOps tasks. For instance, setting up Docker configurations for multiple instances and managing them efficiently can be daunting in traditional environments. No-code platforms often provide out-of-the-box solutions for such tasks, simplifying the process and reducing the complexity involved in managing deployments and environments.

Interested in switching from traditional development into low-code/no-code development?

Let’s get in touch and send us some info about you at hello@qikbuild.com

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