As part of Solutions Review’s Premium Content Series—a collection of contributed columns written by industry experts in maturing software categories—Patrick Jean, the CTO of OutSystems, explains how and why the developer shortage is affecting cloud transformation initiatives.
The developer industry has a 1 million-plus talent gap, which has significant consequences for businesses looking to transition to and build in the cloud. As organizations deal with the effects of economic turmoil, their employees are asked to do more for the business with fewer resources. The “more” they often have to accomplish is professional cloud-native development and engineering.
While Gartner forecasts that more than 95% of digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms by 2025, the OutSystems Cloud Native Development Report found that more than half of IT leaders and developers don’t know much about cloud-native development. What’s more, 52% see setting up cloud app infrastructure as one of their biggest challenges. That lack of knowledge leads to a lack of innovation.
The solution lies in empowering existing and emerging developers with high-performance low-code platforms. The C-Suite should take notice of this opportunity to develop true cloud-native business-critical applications—even with a significant talent gap.
Investing in high-performance low-code tools doesn’t take away the role of the developer. Rather, doing so makes it possible for every developer to become a full-stack cloud developer without independently learning all aspects of cloud infrastructure. The benefits? Faster innovation, more efficiency, increased application resiliency, less tedium on the job, and quicker time to value for the team.
The Business Challenges Posed By Cloud-Native Development
Innovation via technology, particularly software development, is shaping business strategy within the enterprise, even as budgets decrease and developer hiring freezes occur. At the same time, more than half of cloud-native leaders say architectural complexity is one of their biggest challenges.
This has business-critical implications, as organizations need their applications to be powerful enough to satisfy customer demand at scale and to withstand security, compliance, and reliability risk. IT leaders want their technology to improve customer-facing applications—from onboarding to self-service and e-commerce; internal product applications to improve agility and track supply chain issues; and people management applications to come out on top in the competition for talent.
Another challenge is the mastery issue. Career developers want to hone their craft and continue improving their skills while providing maximum impact to their organizations, whether creating a new application entirely, deploying a new feature, or finding a way to scale. Organizations must give the developers fulfilling, meaningful work while removing the risk and reducing the complexity inherent to traditional software development projects.
There is good news: IT leaders realize how low-code can emphasize and engender innovation over tedium while also delivering high performance at scale.
Remove The Toil from Cloud-Native Development
As every developer knows, each development project is a unique and significant endeavor. No application is the same, and there is plenty of DevOps “toil”—thankless work that has no enduring value for the developer or the business but must be done anyway to maintain an application. The cloud provides its unique set of challenges, where changes come fast and furious, technology stacks evolve monthly, and the underlying infrastructure complexity continues to grow.
Toil reduces the overall creativity and innovation of software projects, making it difficult to realize the benefits of cloud-native development. However, there’s a way to eliminate toil, deliver powerful apps and focus on innovation. High-performance low-code provides built-in capabilities that remove the cognitive load of cloud-native architecture, designing security and compliance best practices automatically and ensuring high performance in the cloud.
This is especially true in the case of security and compliance. It’s hardly realistic to expect someone to be both a good developer and a cybersecurity expert. Multiple DevSecOps frameworks and compliance regulations make building security and compliance into cloud-native applications even more complex.
Rather than hiring an entire security operations center for a new application delivered to production, high-performance low-code can provide significant security and compliance policies out of the box. Organizations can augment with additional detection capabilities, vulnerability management, and PII protection on top of what these tools provide. Baking low-code productivity and strength of security features into a platform can ease the burden on an already-strapped cloud engineering team by removing many of the time and cost drains associated with this work.
Because high-performance low-code automates out much of the toil of this process—identifying redundancies, flagging vulnerabilities, even sweeping for compliance violations—this allows career developers faced with cloud projects to get nearly everything they want out of a prototype the first time around. It also removes much of the guesswork from cleaning up code. Developers are also empowered to focus on the most interesting aspects of their job, such as delivering enjoyable user experiences at scale in the cloud. It also allows developers to roll out updates to users more quickly, get immediate feedback and iterate at an elite DevOps level.
Scaling Cloud-Native Development and Learning
Traditional development methodologies do not easily scale cloud-native capabilities. To build a team of traditional cloud-native developers, an organization needs to bring on talent with various complementary skill sets to avoid a single point of failure. Each person must learn many technologies and architectures, ensure appropriate implementation, and maintain these skills. Low-code platforms provide additional benefits to both the business and the developer by scaling cloud-native capabilities via the platform to the entire team instead of requiring each developer to learn the full cloud-native stack.
Companies already familiar with cloud-native development should look into how low-code can help them do more with less, scale, and reiterate properly. Companies just getting started in the cloud have a chance to do things differently from the beginning. Introduce low-code as a critical aid to the developer community in the enterprise.
No matter where a business’s cloud-native journey is, low-code platforms can dramatically improve how the company builds its applications and ensures those applications can perform, scale and evolve to face tomorrow’s challenges. By leaning on low-code to support rapid, low-risk cloud-native development, businesses aren’t just doing more with less. They’re setting themselves, and their technical talent, up for long-term innovation and success.