“Code or No Code: That Is the Question. I Have a Tattoo With the Answer.”

Justin James, Senior Director at FICO

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love computers. My father was a developer, my uncle an electrical engineer, and I’ve been crafting software ever since high school. But after years working in .NET, I was getting tired of it. There was always a new technology to learn: first, it was JQuery, then AngularJS, then Bootstrap and so on. Not to mention all the frameworks that are constantly released. When you have a family and a full-time job, it’s not easy to find five extra hours to learn something new.

When I realized I was tired, I was a contributor for an IT website called TechRepublic. I was the primary writer for the programming and development section. And one day I was challenged to write something about OutSystems, a drag-and-drop tool for developing software. It wasn’t something out of this world; I knew that kind of technology. They promise application development without coding but if you don’t know a little of C++, it will never work. I was there when Fox-Pro, PowerBuilder and Visual Basic came out, okay? So, was I skeptical? Of course! But when I tried OutSystems, it was a different experience. It worked, OutSystems actually worked without sinking into code.

I was so excited about it that I started to go to OutSystems forums answering questions other users had. After a while, a guy from New Zealand asked me to do some consulting for him. Other companies asked me the same and next thing I knew, I had my own consulting firm and was being paid well enough to drop my .NET development job!

Today, I’m a senior director at FICO. I work as an internal expert using OutSystems. When developers come to me and say OutSystems is not real coding, I tell them: if writing code is what you really enjoy, I’m not going to be able to change your mind. But if your job is to build working software that make people’s lives better, then this is something you need to look at.


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