There are ways to develop applications today that are more affordable, and easier for non-programmers to get started. And just like website design before it, application development is also moving in the DIY direction. I am talking about no-code and low-code development.
New low-code/no-code platforms are currently enabling non-programmers to write apps just like Wix, et al, did to allow non-designers to build websites. Using this technology, one can easily build a minimal viable product (MVP) and continue to scale it with features as a production app. As the no-code technology improves, I anticipate that more complex, performant apps will be built by non-programmers which will change the industry.
Will this put developers out of work?
Whether the features and specifications are written directly in code or dragged in using an interface, the principles that govern how software is written do not change such that knowing how to program, I feel, will still be important. Understanding what is going on at the code-level will forever be a highly desirable skill to have. A combination of automation and drag-n-drop features will free up developers to focus on what’s important—the functionality of the actual app itself.
Rather than replacing the programmer, I believe this technology holds the promise of even more work as new players enter the game with ideas and newfound ability to start building them.