How the increasing use of no-code tools has affected people and businesses


Some 90% of people surveyed by Zapier believe their company has grown faster thanks to its use of no-code tools.

No-code programming concept
Image: Andrei Metelev/Shutterstock

No-code tools allow non-technical users to design software and apps without extensive knowledge and skills in programming. As the coronavirus pandemic has changed how people and organizations work, the use of these tools has expanded over the past two years. A report released Monday by workflow automation company Zapier looks at how and why the growing use of no-code tools has affected users and companies.

For its new report titled “The rise of no-code,” Zapier conducted an online survey of 1,500 U.S. business professionals who use no-code tools for their jobs or side gigs. The survey ran from Feb. 9-27, 2022.

SEE: Business leaders as developer: The rise of no-code and low-code software (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Among the respondents, 82% said they started using no-code tools sometime in the past two years, with more than half of them adopting such tools over just the past year. Asked why they began using these tools, 28% said it was the quickest way to achieve a task at work, 24% said their teammates started using them and they had to learn them as well, 18% said they started as a side gig or for their own businesses, 16% said they had to learn them for a new job, and 13% said they just wanted to learn it.

How no-code users are benefitting professionally from their use.
Image: Zapier. How no-code users are benefitting professionally from their use.

After accomplishing one or two initial tasks, many users continue to take advantage of no-code tools on a regular basis. Asked what spurred them to keep using these tools, 83% said that they wanted to cut the time required to finish certain tasks. Some 76% said they wanted to automate certain aspects of their business, 74% wanted the greater flexibility gained by accomplishing specific tasks on their own, and 73% said they wanted to decrease the time required to deploy new products or features.

After getting their feet wet with no-code tools, many of the people surveyed now use it on a fairly regular basis. Among the respondents, 37% said they use these tools every few days, 28% use them every day, 15% use them once a week, 11% every few weeks, and only 4% use them just once a month.

Though no-code tools are often hyped as ideal for people without any technical chops, most of those polled by Zapier do possess some previous technical knowledge or experience. Among the respondents, 38% said that they’ve taken coding or development classes, 35% said they’re a professional developer or engineer, and 15% said that in the past they’ve coded for fun but not professionally. Only 12% revealed that they don’t have a technical background.

Those who use no-code tools said they’ve gained certain benefits within their employers. Some 82% reported receiving positive recognition from company leadership. Some 80% said they’ve seen increased productivity, 70% have enjoyed additional compensation, and 60% have even gotten a promotion.

What drove people to keep using no-code tools.
Image: Zapier. What drove people to keep using no-code tools.

Certain departments within organizations have also become increasingly reliant on no-code tools. Asked which departments rely heavily on these tools or couldn’t function without them, 63% cited IT operations, 61% pointed to product development, 58% to research and development, 56% to support, 56% to account, 56% to sales, 56% to marketing, and 54% to human resources.

No-code tools try to make coding more user-friendly, but they’re certainly not without their challenges and difficulties. Asked what obstacles they’ve bumped into when using or trying to use these tools, 36% said they don’t know what to do when something goes wrong, 34% said they’ve run into unexpected errors that affected other people, 32% said they suffer from a lack of examples to follow, 26% lack access to required software or an API, and 24% admitted that they don’t have sufficient budget to buy the necessary tools.

Despite the rise in the use of no-code tools over the past couple of years, this trend is still in an early phase with much more room for expansion, according to Zapier. Some 85% of those polled said they plan to use no-code tools more in the coming year.

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