We sat down with Unqork Technical Implementation Specialist Scott Kaplan to learn about his career path and what it's like to build applications without any code.
Q: Can you start by telling us a little about your professional background?
Scott: I always had an interest in tech. I graduated from college in 2008 with a degree in Management Information Systems, which I hoped would set me up for a career that bridged the gap between the business world and the tech world.
But when the market crashed in 2009, I left business tech to pursue personal training and freelance work. I helped small businesses with their tech, implementing CRMs and ERPs and building contacts. After about seven or eight years, I started to feel like I was falling out of touch with the tech side of things. I decided to enroll in a coding bootcamp for three months to learn how to code.
Was learning to code what brought you to Unqork?
Well, I knew I was done with the personal training and freelancing lifestyle, and I was looking to move into a more secure, full-time opportunity. I didn’t necessarily want to be a programmer, but I thought I would do something tech-related. I was considering becoming a Salesforce administrator, or another role that didn’t require me to build applications from scratch. I was definitely not expecting an opportunity like Unqork to come along.
What do you do as a Technical Implementation Specialist at Unqork?
A technical implementation specialist is somewhere between client engagement and a technical team member. I support the Unqork implementation process if people get stuck, all without coding. I know how to approach different types of problems and can walk people through the translation of business logic into an application. These teams understand how to approach the problem, but then have trouble with the more technical element. That’s where I come in.
What is your day-to-day like?
My day-to-day changes. I was recently working on a project where I built most of the app myself. As that came to a close, I joined a different team. I went from handling every piece of a project to taking on a small piece of a much larger project. That’s the really cool thing about Unqork—we’ve figured out how to be modular enough so I can come in late to a project and still help build what the team needs.
Can you tell us more about the project you built on your own?
Sure, I was working on an application for a large insurance firm. The company was planning to implement two products, one for miscellaneous professional liability and one for healthcare insurance. We built a way for users to submit all their information and calculate their premium based on the Excel files they currently use. We translate their information in Unqork, then the agents can check to see if the numbers are right. The end users can immediately generate the appropriate PDFs and have a quote issued on the spot.
How does building an application like this with Unqork compare to building the same application with a coding language?
The main comparison I can make is that building this application with Unqork took a few months. I can say confidently that I wouldn’t have been able to code the front end and back end of an application like this in that timeline.
In addition, even if that sort of timeline were possible with code, it would require much more experience than building this with Unqork. I started at Unqork with no prior knowledge, and within a month, I was working on building this project out for an end-user. I don’t think that’s possible with any other language.
Can you expand a bit on the process of learning to build no-code web applications with Unqork? Are there any comparisons you can make between your experience learning Unqork and your experience at a coding bootcamp?
When it comes to learning to code, three months is not enough to learn as much as you need. It would be nice if bootcamps had more of a focus on a single language for you to dive deeper, but that limits your opportunities and makes you harder to place into a job afterward. This comes back to what is so great about Unqork. If you have three months of bootcamp, you’re a junior developer who really doesn’t know much and will have to pick a lot of things up on the job. If you have three months of Unqork training, you’re basically a senior developer on the platform. It’s a lot faster to pick up and really begin to build web applications.
What’s interesting about your case is that many others seem to have similar experiences with breaking into tech. They have some tech knowledge but aren’t interested in going the full programmer route. Do you have any advice for people in the same category who might be interested in Unqork?
I’d tell them that coding bootcamps can cost upwards of $20,000 now. For a couple of free classes online, you can get the technical skills you need to come to Unqork and be successful. Instead of investing a small fortune, you can invest a few hours. You can start learning Unqork with a limited background.
In your opinion, is a platform like Unqork the future of software application development? What do you think will happen to coding bootcamps?
I would say that coding bootcamps are not going anywhere in the immediate future. People with zero experience are enrolling in them. But as the market continues to be saturated with graduates, bootcamps can no longer place you into jobs at the rates they’re promising. Bootcamps that start adapting to automated languages where you don’t have to know every line of code to build a fully functioning app will end up finding more success. It will be a shorter program, and you won’t need the full three months. You can learn something like Unqork in a month, even a few weeks. And bootcamps can place more people in jobs as this platform takes off and demand for it continues to increase.