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What is a Citizen Developer?

Technology nowadays has grown to a point that can feel unmanageable. Many organizations find themselves fighting to keep up and grow with it. This has resulted in a search for solutions to make the ever-evolving world of technology a less daunting task. Which brings us to the idea of implementing a citizen developer program. Citizen development, in short, is where non-IT trained workers become software developers to help build business applications. Let’s dive deeper into this definition of a citizen developer and the benefits it will bring to an organization.


Citizen Developer: Defined

Gartner defines a citizen developer as:

“An employee who creates application capabilities for consumption by themselves or others, using tools that are not actively forbidden by IT or business units. A citizen developer is a persona, not a title or targeted role. They report to a business unit or function other than IT.”

While training employees who have little to no coding experience to become software developers may seem like an impossible task, platforms used by citizen developers utilize a Low Code/No Code (LCNC) platform to build these applications. With this, they’re able to use a drag-and-drop method as the required lines of code are already provided. Citizen developers drag and drop the components and model-driven logic on a graphic user interface to create web and mobile applications. The ideal citizen developer would be one with process expertise who is comfortable with spreadsheets and macros. Additionally, they have a desire to learn no-code app development. Next, let’s dive into the variety of benefits involved with developing a citizen developer program.

Citizen Developer: Benefits

Helps IT Department

As previously explained, the scope of IT is growing tremendously. By implementing a citizen developer program, it eases the burden on IT departments. While they create the limits of what apps can be developed by citizen developers, not having to create the apps allows them to focus on more complex matters. It reduces their responsibilities and ultimately proves to be a big help to them. Additionally, it creates scale in your organization because it teaches those who already exist in a business.

Cost Effective

Building off the idea of teaching those who already exist in an organization, this not only creates scale but reduces overall cost. This is due to not having to outsource for IT issues. It’s a cost-effective alternative that streamlines finances. Companies can build many workers who can perform these necessary IT tasks without having to hire outside help or more IT professionals.


Reduces Risk of Shadow IT

A less obvious benefit of citizen developer is that the risk of shadow IT is lowered. Shadow IT occurs when employees go outside of the allowed IT applications and servers to do work. There’s a variety of reasons this occurs, and it’s not typically done with harmful intent, but rather because the employee is creating a simpler solution for themselves. With a citizen developer, you’re taking someone who has experience on the business side. They can understand the problems being faced and create a solution accordingly in an IT-approved space. This ultimately lowers the risk of Shadow IT.

Boosts Efficiency

One of the largest benefits of citizen developers is the way it boosts efficiency within an organization. LCNC platforms use existing code to accelerate the creation of apps. Like explained when discussing shadow IT, employees have front-line knowledge of various business units and are aware of any potential process improvements. With this, employees can make changes quickly as the company evolves, rather than go through IT. Additionally, the wait time to launch new apps is reduced. Given all of this, the overall efficiency of application development is drastically improved


Wrap-Up: What’s Next

Implementing a citizen developer program requires structure and comprehensive governance. A solid app development foundation should be built to establish this governance, the process, and expertise within the organization on LCNC development. Additionally, ownership and roles should be identified. With that said – best advice we can give? Schedule a call with Bravo to discuss DevOps Governance Strategy for your organization. We’ve got your back!

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