Recently, Rahul has talked about the value of no-code tools in terms of their ability to deliver business outcomes quickly and with minimal learning. They do look cool!
More broadly, how should I integrate these into side-projects and my work in general?
I highly recommend leaning into no-code / low-code solutions.
The main benefit is it frees up your attention to focus on the non-engineering aspects early on in your project. Especially in early stage, your bottleneck is usually somewhere along with lines of client acquisition/lead generation (i.e. getting users) and finding product-market fit.
Time to market is extremely valuable and anything that can remove friction is worth serious consideration. From a skills perspective, your gap is unlikely anything to do with engineering. Unless you want to pick up parts of the web-dev stack coming from a data background as a goal in itself (regardless of if the project does well or not), then feel free to spend some cycles.
If your primary goal is the finding traction around your solution, feel free to skip custom code for now.
I think no-code tools are great for a side hustle or project you're looking to grow into an entire business/startup. This lets you validate the product idea faster and focus more on the business model (which is much more important than the code, <15% of my day at Taro is coding).
If your goal with side projects is to learn/reinforce technical skills and create resume gems though, it's much better to do them with coding.