Digital transformation appears to be an unstoppable force, but for many enterprises it risks running head-on into the seemingly immovable object of a growing skills shortage.

A recent PwC survey finds that 60% of business leaders say digital transformation is their most critical growth driver for 2022. At the same time, 77% view the ability to hire and retain talent as most critical to achieving growth.

Resolving this dichotomy is essential for companies to continue their transformation efforts.

“Over the past few years, we’ve talked extensively about digital transformation, but today, we need to go beyond that, from talking about digital transformation to delivering on the digital imperative for every organization,” writes Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella. “Every organization in every industry will need to infuse technology into every business process and function so that they can do more with less.”

Computerworld recently pointed out that the tech talent shortage is expected to become more severe, and many businesses are looking to empower more digitally-capable recruits within their broader organizations: “A shortage of software developers and IT workers in general is forcing businesses to turn to ‘citizen developers’ within their organizations to create business applications supporting digital transformation efforts.”

Those organizations are adopting low-code and no-code development platforms that enable business users with little or no coding experience to develop apps and automate business processes. “Leveraging low-code/no-code tool and data utilization capability, the majority of employees at 60% of enterprises will lead transformation and embody digital resiliency at their roles by 2024,” IDC predicts.

You may well ask, what’s the difference between low-code and no-code?

“In general, a low-code development platform offers a drag-and-drop designer, modules, forms, processes, workflows, data models, integrations, and one or more programming languages that you can use within the product,” writes InfoWorld contributing editor Martin Heller.

“No-code development is essentially low-code development without a programming language that you can use within the product,” according to Heller. But, he cautions, “No-code platforms tend to be easy to use at the beginning of the development cycle. Unfortunately, they often have limits that will bring development to a standstill later in the process.”

CSO makes the case for due diligence in selecting no-code and low-code platforms: “the use of low-code and no-code platforms aren’t without their own security concerns. Much like any other software product, the rigor that goes into developing the platform and its associated code is a concern that shouldn’t be overlooked.”

Still, the need for speed and increased digitization makes it likely that more and more organizations will seek to leverage these tools. As Nadella writes, the digital imperative is not just about one app or one workflow or one automation: “It’s about accelerating digital capability-building across every function in the organization.”

Ultimately, organizations must make digital skills “an essential attribute for the modern workforce,” a RAND Corp. report asserts. As the workforce becomes more digitally adept, organizations will be better able to identify their citizen developers of tomorrow and guide them into roles that will further the digital imperative.