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The economy is getting a transfusion of fresh talent as the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 enter the workforce. Comprised primarily of Gen Z (born after 1997) and the youngest Millennials, this new generation is the most digitally savvy yet, have radically different expectations about the future of work, and enthusiastically participates in the creator economy. And just like how digital natives transformed the software industry, these low-code natives are poised to lead a transformation in quality engineering. 

So what does this mean for software testing? For one, quality leaders urgently need to think about how their teams can recruit and retain low-code natives, especially since demand for software testers is expected to grow by nearly 20 percent over the next decade. Filling 316,000 new jobs will be no easy feat, but the new role of QA, which encompasses advocating for the customer, working with diverse teams to improve quality strategy, and harnessing advanced technologies like AI and machine learning, is primed to attract a generation that prioritizes collaboration, purpose, and stability.

What Low-Code Natives Want From Work 

A recent survey of 2,000 Gen Z and Millennial workers found that they value stability, purpose, and growth more than any other generation before them. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they’re also extremely comfortable with remote work, and the majority prefer hybrid arrangements for the long-term. 

These priorities align with their technological experience as the first generation raised on low-code platforms like Roblox. Unlike the existing workforce, which has long been accustomed to adapting their workflows to difficult and inflexible software, low-code natives are used to seamless experiences like one-tap checkouts or endlessly customizable platforms that allow them to build their own worlds. Because technology is baked into every aspect of their lives, the line that divides coders from non-coders simply doesn’t exist for low-code natives. They’ve been steeped in code concepts from an early age and incorporate that knowledge into their work easily, even if they aren’t developers. 

To successfully integrate Gen Z into the workplace, QA leaders need to consider the technological and cultural implications of low-code natives, and how they can appeal to this new generation. 

Collaboration is the Core of Quality Engineering

The Workforce Institute found that over one-third of Gen Z workers value forming connections at work, which plays a key role in their overall job satisfaction and how long they’ll stay at a given company. Even though most prefer hybrid work, younger workers have a strong desire to use the office as a collaborative and social space to build relationships. As quality assurance shifts to quality engineering, they offer quality professionals of all levels to work with the entire DevOps pipeline, including development and customer support. Younger workers will continue to drive - and even lead - this trend as they look to connect with their teammates.

To support them, QA leaders need to rethink how they collaborate with their teams. The same study of 2000 Gen Z and Millennial workers also surveyed 1000 business leaders and a significant gap in how the two groups communicate within the workplace. For example, a vast majority - 81 percent - of young workers use apps like Slack and WhatsApp to do their jobs, while just 21 percent of leaders said they do the same. This gap is an indicator of the changes needed to successfully integrate low-natives into the workforce, particularly since many will be joining hybrid and remote teams. Given the growing role of collaboration in QA, quality leaders need to rethink their toolset to ensure that teams can work together seamlessly, even going beyond communication apps to evaluate test automation and defect tracking solutions to consider how well they support teamwork in the world of quality. 

Low-code Ensures Continuous Growth

One area where both low-code natives and leaders agree: growth is essential to helping Gen Z succeed in the workplace. Almost half of Gen Z says that on-the-job learning opportunities  are an essential component of doing their best work, while a majority of business leaders said that training is one of their top priorities for young employees. Low-code, which has already taken root in the workplace as an upskilling strategy for technical and non-traditionally technical roles alike, is a frictionless way to introduce new skills to employees while also keeping them engaged in impactful work. 

Given the wide range of skills needed to succeed in quality engineering, it’s no surprise that quality leaders have already begun adopting low-code to help their teams learn while they work. Manual testers value low-code testing solutions which enable them to execute complex tests that have been traditionally outsourced to quality engineers or SDETs, while developers that only test periodically appreciate the efficiency of low-code testing. All users benefit from the shared terminology that makes collaboration across the SDLC easier. 

A High-Impact Moment for QA and Low-Code Natives

Young people are entering the workforce with the drive to succeed and valuable technical skills that will set them apart from digital natives. Yet they also have radically different expectations from employers that will require adaptation from organizations that want to harness the talent of this new generation. Designing workplaces - including digital infrastructure - to facilitate collaboration and continuous learning is essential to successfully bringing low-code natives into the workplace.

Set your team up for success with a low-code testing solution by registering for mabl's 14-day free trial today