Appian #lowcode4all to democratise coding and solve skills shortages (Image Credit: Photo by Yan Krukov at Pexels)At Appian World 2022 in Fort Lauderdale, Appian has announced its #lowcode4all initiative. It is giving access to low-code education and certification to help increase the pool of low-code developers. The education will be free to at least 1,000 eligible participants. Each participant will be trained and put through the Appian Certified Associate Developer exam.

Matt Calkins, CEO, Appian
Matt Calkins, CEO, Appian

With this announcement, the company has also listed some of the groups it intends to target. The goal is to democratise coding and help organisations move some way towards solving their skills gap.

According to Appian CEO Matt Calkins, “The global economy needs more developers. The ease of learning low-code enables people to shift careers, update skills, and improve their circumstances. Appian is committed to making low-code careers available for all.”

What does #lowcode4all include?

The 1,000 places for the initial phase of this program will come from:

  • Current undergraduate and graduate students
  • Students who have paused their education
  • Unemployed individuals
  • Career-changers
  • Military veterans

It’s an interesting mix of groups and how Appian will balance participation from each group remains to be seen. Getting engagement from students who have paused their education could be difficult. How do you contact them? How do you ensure they stay engaged? What support will be offered to help them re-engage with learning?

The same could be said for those who are unemployed. In their case, if they are on welfare, how will the training affect their benefits? This is something that needs to be carefully considered.

Targeting military veterans is good news for that community. Over the last couple of years, an increasing number of tech companies have been widening their offering of support for veterans.

The challenge for Appian is how will it compete with programs from other vendors in this space. The company quotes ZipRecruiter as saying Appian Developer careers enjoy a 10% higher salary than other low-code platforms in the US. Is that enough to compete with other programs? For many, it might well be.

Participants will also want some idea of the long-term benefits of this program. Interestingly, the Associate Developer is the first in a series of developer certifications that Appian offers. Will those who succeed in this first stage be encouraged to move through to take additional exams? Will Appian set out some mentoring programs, especially for those unemployed and who are veterans?

What do participants get?

Appian has set out a range of benefits for participants in the #lowcode4all program. They include:

  • A complete low-code curriculum and education resources
  • A clear learning path to earn a Low-Code Ready Badge and to complete the Appian Certified Associate Developer exam for free
  • Access to hiring recruiters through the Appian Partner network
  • Job search skills support (resume help, interview tips, etc)

The process will take time and commitment. Looking at the Appian Builder course, it has 13 modules. They are a mix of online training and instructor-led sessions. Hopefully, the instructor-led sessions are online and those taking them have adequate bandwidth to sustain the training.

Perhaps the biggest of these benefits are the last two. Training and certifications are worth nothing if they cannot be translated into a job. This is where Appian seems to be offering a serious hand-up to those it is looking to train.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean?

This is a good initiative from Appian and will be welcomed by successful participants and employers alike. That it is making 1,000 places free will get attention. Will it do it again next year and the year after, or is this a one-time deal?

There are also many questions about the mechanisms, especially how it will engage outside of North America. As a global company, there will be many people from outside the US who will want to take part. Appian’s non-US customers will also want to see how it intends to solve the skills gap in their countries.

However, the important thing is that Appian is making good on its promise to democratise development to a wider group of people. It will be interesting to see how wide that reach is and how much traction it gains from #lowcode4all.


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