My first time trying to build a website was in 2009 by scaffolding html/css/js from random places and gluing something together. My younger self fantasized about becoming a multi-millionaire using obtrusively placed ads on the pages.

Needless to say, I was very disappointed to see a profit of merely €0.17 after a few months. To vent my frustrations, I banned web development from my life and threw my PC out of the window. Just kidding, this was the first time I went beyond being just a consumer and experienced the thrill of contributing something to the IT landscape. Life went on and eventually I chose a different path as a mechanical engineer. Nowhere near low-code, but we’re getting there soon...

“ My younger self fantasized about becoming a multi-millionaire using obtrusively placed ads on the pages... ”

Low-code popped up on my radar during my time in university. I wasn’t sure whether low-code was a good or bad thing. Yes, low-code obviously speeds up many developer tasks. But you’re also dealing with a black-box not giving the developer full control. Nevertheless, the hype was real and many subreddits were filled with angry full-stack developers fearfully holding on to their jobs.

Initially I thought their grudge against low-code was somewhat justified due to the level of abstraction preached by low-code. Thus I labeled the future of low-code as “maybe someday”. In the meantime, to satisfy my programming-itches, I took on some programming courses and other personal side-projects during my studies.

“I thought their grudge against low-code was somewhat justified due to the level of abstraction preached by low-code…”

Starting my career...

After graduation I started working as a research engineer in the field of fiber-reinforced polymers. Although some programming was required for the job, it couldn’t compete with the thrill I felt building my first, not so profitable, website. This nostalgic thought kept manifesting itself until there was no other option than to act on it. At this point I didn’t want to move forward, knowing I didn’t at least give programming/web-development a fair chance. Spoiler alert, this was 2 months before this thing called covid-19 became a tragic reality.

“I was blind, and now I see!”

Unaware of these unfortunate events I decided to switch things up and trade my day job for something more IT related. So “maybe, someday” finally came around and I started dabbling with some low-code platforms. The capabilities made my jaw drop…

Tradintional web coding in action
Traditional coding

The sheer ease of setting up databases, authentication, authorization etc. within minutes was just too awesome. I know it starts to sound like a sales pitch, it really isn't. In my defense, it took me weeks and many headaches to set up similar features using the old-fashioned way of programming. Hence my moment of enlightenment when I build my first low-code application. I guess I prefer the headache- and time saving capability of low-code over the presumably negative impact of the black box architecture of such a platform.

If you really think of it, every programmer is actually dealing with a black box to some degree. Nowadays nobody is coding in literal 1’s and 0’s to get a CPU to do what they want. No, you use frameworks and other abstraction layers to get the job done. So I figured why not make my life as a developer more fun and use OutSystems as my weapon of choice. Besides, a platform like OutSystems still gives the developer enough flexibility to open up the black box and add custom code.

“I appreciate the headache- and time saving capability of low-code a lot.”

Clearly, I was sold. OutSystems takes away most of the nitty-gritty groundwork and lets developers focus on the fun part of actually building something within a relatively short period of time. And more importantly, it will save me a lot of money buying aspirins against those headaches.

Making the switch…

My plan started to make sense and mission low-code was set in motion. I limited myself to 2 major low-code platforms; Mendix and OutSystems. Both of them are very mature platforms but I ended up choosing OutSystems. The differences between the two platforms are subtle and some might even say they’re negligible.
I was psyched looking for opportunities within the low-code world. Up until, you guessed it, the pandemic hit which made me decide to pause my master plan for a few months. I even second-guessed my plan to switch things up for a brief moment.

These were going to be interesting times to start a new job to say the least. As if, more or less, benching years’ worth of engineering knowledge wasn’t enough of a mental hurdle to overcome. But who doesn’t wants to spice up their road with some twists and turns, right?

Luckily I was welcome for a cup of coffee at Valuga in august of last year. The atmosphere was casual and things went pretty smooth from there on. The whole interviewing process felt very comfortable and they made me feel I could become a valuable asset. Valuga’s personal approach was the main reason for me to put my signature at the bottom of a piece of paper, finalizing my master plan.

Let see where my low-code road leads to.