3 Reasons Why Senior Engineers Should ❤️ Low-Code Platforms
Data Operations

3 Reasons Why Senior Engineers Should ❤️ Low-Code Platforms

Shawn Fergus
Shawn Fergus

According to Gartner, the worldwide market for low-code development technologies will reach $26.9 billion in 2023, an increase of almost 20% from just one year ago. This statistic provides a sense of the shifting paradigm around programming languages—a paradigm where extensive coding knowledge was a must for contributing to traditional coding environments.

From a workflow perspective, much of the traditional development process remains the same. However, the advent of low-code application platforms (LCAPs), many featuring versatile templates, drag-and-drop interfaces, modules, and other development tools, is enabling less-experienced practitioners and citizen developers to stand and contribute alongside seasoned coding professionals.

low code platforms

For the former, this golden age of low-code apps and platforms provides obvious advantages. Fortunately, the implementation of low-code solutions in software and application development increasingly benefits senior and experienced data engineers as well.

Let’s break down the three main reasons why.

1. Low-code platforms help democratize data environments

Low-code platforms and tools democratize software and app development, enabling people with a wider range of technical expertise to contribute to software and application development. Overall, this benefits senior and more experienced software and data engineers in an organization in several ways:

  • Accelerated prototyping and development: Low-code and no-code platforms allow teams to more quickly prototype and develop applications, reducing time-to-market for new ideas and solutions. By decreasing the time needed to take business applications from concept to launch, new ideas and solutions can be tested and refined with minimal delay.
  • Increased time for complex tasks: The ability to delegate (or automate) routine and repetitive coding tasks frees up experienced engineers to focus on more complex and critical aspects of software development. By reducing the daily burden of low-value tasks, engineers can also engage more in strategic planning, research, and development, leading to higher-quality software and more efficient problem-solving processes.
  • Enriched collaboration and innovation: Low-code platforms facilitate collaboration between technical and non-technical team members, fostering innovation and allowing senior engineers to mentor and guide less experienced developers.
  • More Agile development: Many low-code platforms incorporate agile development practices, allowing engineers to work in a more iterative and flexible manner, which can be beneficial for senior professionals leading development teams. This allows team leads to manage projects more dynamically, ensuring that the development process is aligned with user needs and business goals.

With more hands on deck (as it were), teams can move faster, more experienced engineers get more time to invest more brain power into worthwhile tasks, and the entire development team can function more effectively.

But where’s the catch? Doesn’t letting less-experienced team members do more via low-code come at the cost of less control and increased security risks?

No, actually. Not when the platform in question can provide the best of both worlds.

2. Using access control can min-max low code’s pros and cons

The implementation of RBAC within a low-code platform like Shipyard can offer a strategic advantage to data engineers, particularly in managing and safeguarding the data environment in an organization. RBAC (role-based access control) is a method of restricting system access to authorized users based on their role within an organization. This feature is crucial for maintaining a controlled and secure data management system.

For data engineers, RBAC provides the flexibility and control to define and enforce what actions different team members can perform within the platform. This is particularly important in environments where data sensitivity and security are paramount. By assigning specific roles and permissions, data engineers can ensure that team members have access only to the data and functions necessary for their role, thereby minimizing the risk of unauthorized access or data breaches.

In practice, this means a data engineer can designate who can create, modify, or delete data workflows, who can view certain data sets, and who can execute specific processes. For instance, a junior team member might be given permission to run predefined data jobs but not to alter the underlying workflows or access sensitive data. This granular control over access rights not only enhances security but also helps in maintaining the integrity and reliability of the data processes.

Furthermore, RBAC in a low-code context like Shipyard's platform also supports compliance with various data protection regulations. By having clear and auditable controls over who can access and manipulate data, organizations can more easily adhere to standards like GDPR, HIPAA, or others that apply to their industry or region.

Additionally, RBAC streamlines the development environment, enabling development teams to manage large or complex projects more effectively. It allows data engineers to effectively manage teams with diverse skill levels and responsibilities, ensuring that each member is working within their realm of expertise and authority. This can lead to more efficient project execution and reduce the likelihood of errors or conflicts.

So, RBAC functionality in low-code platforms like Shipyard empowers data engineers with the necessary tools to meticulously manage access and permissions. This not only safeguards the organization's data but also ensures that the platform is used optimally and responsibly by all members of the organization, aligning with both security and operational objectives.

3. Low-code platforms that are also open-source? Even better for engineers who like to tinker

There’s no shortage of low-code tools and platforms on the market, from CRMs like Salesforce to automation platforms like Appian, to low-code development platforms like Mendix, Microsoft Power Apps, Zoho Creator, and Outsystems. However, being closed source or operating on proprietary models limits their potential to more seasoned data professionals.

On the other hand, open-source low-code tools (think Appsmith, Budibase, ToolJet, etc.) offer unique advantages for experienced engineers, primarily because they provide transparency and customization capabilities that align with the inherent preferences of technical professionals.

The ability to "see under the hood" is a critical aspect for many data professionals. This visibility into the underlying code and architecture allows them to understand the platform's mechanics, ensuring that they can trust and rely on the system.

Furthermore, experienced engineers often seek opportunities to optimize and personalize tools to better fit specific project requirements. Open-source low-code platforms cater to this need by allowing modifications and enhancements. Engineers can leverage these open-source platforms for custom application and software development, tweaking the existing codebase to improve performance, add new features, or integrate the platform more seamlessly with other tools and systems.

Going to get low? Here’s what to know

Experienced engineers evaluating the benefits of a low-code platform should keep several key factors in mind.

This process involves assessing the platform's features, alignment with their workflow, and overall impact on team dynamics and project outcomes.

Here's a straightforward list of the important factors worth considering:

Customization and extensibility

Assess if the platform allows for advanced customization and integration with existing tools and systems. Engineers should determine if they will be able to extend the platform's capabilities or integrate it with other software they already use, which can lead to significant time savings and efficiency gains.

Complex problem-solving and innovation

Consider whether the platform will free up time for experienced engineers to focus on more complex, high-value problems. If routine tasks could be routed to less technical staff through the platform, more senior engineers could concentrate on areas where their expertise is crucial.

Collaboration and knowledge sharing

Evaluate how the platform can facilitate better collaboration across the various skill levels in your organization. Platforms that enable knowledge sharing and collaborative problem-solving can enhance the productivity of the entire team, indirectly benefiting experienced engineers by creating a more efficient and harmonious work environment.

Automation of routine tasks

Look at the platform’s ability to automate mundane or repetitive tasks. Automation can free up experienced engineers to focus on more challenging aspects of their work, thus indirectly benefiting them through better time management and reduced workload.

Security and compliance

Examine the platform's security features, especially if it offers role-based access control like Shipyard does. This is crucial for maintaining control over sensitive data and compliance with industry standards.

Scalability and performance

Consider how the platform will handle scalability and performance issues. A low-code platform that can efficiently scale and maintain performance under varying loads can indirectly benefit experienced engineers by reducing the time spent on optimization and troubleshooting.

L&D opportunities

It’s always advantageous when the platform offers opportunities for learning and professional growth. Be mindful of how new technologies and methodologies provide indirect benefits, especially those that help teams stay updated and broaden their skill sets.

Overall impact on project outcomes

Finally, engineers vetting these tools should consider the overall impact of the platform on project outcomes. If the platform leads to faster project completion, higher quality outputs, or better client satisfaction, these are significant indirect benefits.

By systematically evaluating these aspects, experienced engineers can determine the extent to which a low-code platform will prove beneficial. This analysis will go beyond the immediate advantages for less technical staff and shed some light on the broader, strategic value the platform can bring to their work and the organization as a whole.

Help yourself by helping others (a win-win, if there ever was one)

Embracing low-code platforms like Shipyard is about more than enhancing your technical capabilities (though that doesn’t hurt). Implementing low code is about unlocking the full potential of your entire team and projects.

By reducing complexity and fostering a culture of innovation and inclusivity, low-code platforms are setting a new standard for data management and project success.

Start your low-code journey with Shipyard today for free and experience a revolution in your data workflow management.

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