Whether you’re questioning whether you’ve got what it takes to build software with no-code tools, or you’re thinking about the expertise within your business, here’s a rundown of the skills required to make it happen.
Despite what the various tools and platforms out there might suggest, the slightly harsh truth is that not everyone is cut out for using no-code tools and platforms. While we maintain that you don’t need to be technical to get involved (and you certainly don’t need to be a coder), there are certain character traits, skills and knowhow that make the learning curve of using no-code tools far more reasonable; and the building of viable and successful apps far more likely.
This is a rundown of what those skills are – whether you’re thinking about getting involved from a personal perspective, or you’re considering other team members who might be perfectly placed to supercharge your operations with no-code.
One big caveat to bear in mind is that there’s a significant difference in ease of use and accessibility in the no-code ecosystem. A ‘zero-code’ platform like Squarespace, for example, is super straightforward to use and most people will have no trouble with it. This is aimed more at those no-code tools that are a little more complex, like Adalo, Stacker, Glide or Betty Blocks.
There are certain character traits, skills and knowhow that make the learning curve of using no-code tools far more reasonable; and the building of viable and successful apps far more likely.
Personas who’ll thrive
As a general rule of thumb, there are three personas who are well set to make the most out of no-code.
Those who are digitally native. People who have been surrounded by computers and the internet from an early age will be in a good position to adapt. Particularly those used to digging into online forums like Reddit to find answers..
Those who have a basic understanding of how software works. We’re not talking about the real nitty gritty details, but a general understanding of aspects like interfaces is helpful. That if you click a button, it sends a signal elsewhere which causes a new action. These people might have heard of the term API but aren’t exactly sure what it is.
Those who have coding experience. Okay, this one seems obvious but it’s still worth pointing out. People who have experience writing code, at pretty much any level, will find using no-code and low-code tools very intuitive.
The skill list
Those are some personas, here are some key skills and attributes. Remember: these aren’t all essential, but they’re definitely helpful to get moving quickly.
If you quickly lose patience and get frustrated, your journey is going to be a difficult one. Becoming adept with no-code platforms is not an instant thing – while you can start building immediately, it’ll be at least a few weeks (and often longer) before you really get the hang of how they work.
The ability to think logically
We’re talking about the ability to plot out a logical sequence of events that follow one after another, like a flow chart. So if you’re great at planning things in advance and imagining the different steps of a process (and even drawing them out), you’re in a great position.
The ability to think abstractly
This is another mental model that’s super helpful. Abstract thinking essentially means you can consider concepts outside the physical – so you can recognise patterns, analyse ideas and systems and solve problems. For example, if you’re able to think about the different ways a user might interact with your app and the problems they might come across, you’re using abstract thinking.
The ability to use system thinking
This means you’re able to take a step back to view systems as a whole: seeing elements and problems in a wider context and understanding the relationship between the different parts of that system. In the physical world, let’s say you run a retail shop. System thinking here means seeing the connection between what the customer interacts with on the website and the stuff that happens in the background that enables everything else to run smoothly.
If you want to build an app, you need to be able to essentially say ‘when this happens, that happens’. To consider all the different scenarios and use cases that might occur when someone uses it. You need to map all those possibilities and see the system as a whole.
An eye for design
Not essential but pretty helpful. A big part of using no-code tools, especially those that use drag-and-drop design to build apps, is creating interfaces that actually make sense for users to navigate. Ideally, you’ll be able to create a logical, good-looking interface for an app which takes into account how they’ll navigate from one place to the next.
A healthy relationship with data
If you’ve got some experience working with data, you’re off to a pretty good start. Knowing the basics of how data is structured, how it’s collected, and how you analyse it are all skills directly applicable to no-code tools.
In fact, if you’re adept at using Excel and can make use of its formulas and macros, you’re off to a great start. No-code platforms like Airtable will be a natural next step.