The Power of Citizen Development

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The idea of your “average Joe” beating a University Graduate to secure a software developer job seems virtually impossible, right?

Well, that’s until the concept of Citizen Development evolved. These developers are quickly making waves within the technology industry, and with their determination, drive to problem solve and bring new and innovative concepts to the forefront of process development, their recent popularity has been heightened with good reason.

Citizen Development has become a highly recognisable term within the technology landscape. The appeal of these innovative developers who aren’t restricted by the confines of hard code have caused companies to rethink their hiring criteria, and look to the new Low-code technologies that Citizen Developers utilise. Their presence is game changing, with over 7.5 million professionals classing themselves as Citizen Developers.

So why do we need Citizen Developers? Well the reasons are endless! The most important being that IT departments are currently being stretched to their breaking points. Companies are realising that their internal processes are capable of so much more than its current operating abilities. Customer experience can be intensified and operational efficiency can be increased both internally and externally. But IT departments simply aren’t staffed accordingly to meet these increasingly high expectations.

With IT quickly becoming more and more important to centralised business functionality something needed to be done.

It has been predicted that by 2020 the number of Software Developers needed within U.S companies is meant to rise by 30%, from 913,000 positions in 2010 to 1,186,900 roles in just 10 years. So, if businesses are in need of determined individuals to fill these places could it be that the self-taught era of Citizen Development has risen out of initiative to snap up these respected jobs student debt free?

So, who are these Citizen Developers?

  • There are 18.5 Million Developers in the world, with over 7.5 Million of these people classing themselves as self-taught Citizen Developers.
  • 92.8% of Citizen Developers were reported to be male.
  • The largest percentage of Citizen Developers are between the ages of 18 and 29.
  • Over 34% of Citizen Developers already have management or supervisory roles within the company they later develop applications for – 83% claimed that they actually fell into this job role while trying to discover a more efficient way to do their existing job.
  • When asked by fellow employees what characteristics their Citizen Developers possess these were the most popular answers:
    • Problem Solvers (49%)
    • Hard Working (26%)
    • Organised (23%)
    • Leaders (21%)
    • Creative (20%)
  • 31% of Citizen Developers built their first application within 1-4 weeks – with a further 15% achieving this in less than a week.

So, what’s aiding the power of Citizen Developers you may ask? With recruitment giants Indeed revealing that Back-End Process Developers fall within the Top 10 hardest tech jobs to fill, it comes as no surprise that companies are investing in Low-code Technology, a much simpler form of process development, which is fully configurable and free of complex hard code.

These platforms utilise code abstraction and cloud computing services within simplified drag-and-drop user interfaces that allow non-programmers to define user experience, connect data, design application logic and – in other words – develop entire applications on the fly.

Businesses are understanding more than ever that the only way to implement agile and consistent methodologies is to utilise these new Low-code development tools. That way Citizen Developers can unleash their innovative processing concepts, rather than being bound to the time and cost constraints of systematic code. It’s also important to remember that when hard code was the only method of process creation Citizen Development was unheard of, meaning Low-code is their gateway to best practice understood by all.

What’s next for Citizen Development you may ask? They’ve already made waves within the process improvement market. Now over 80% of new business applications are being built by Citizen Developers from 2014 onwards. They have also aided the progression of building a previously unheard-of relationship between IT and business, with Low-code Platforms allowing them to collaborate like never before. Although, there has been some resistance to Citizen Development.

Naturally IT departments felt uncertain about Citizen Developers and their capabilities when letting them loose on their company’s critical processes. There was also a growing fear that Shadow IT might occur, along with their productive work time being wasted “babysitting” these developers, guiding them through company compliance.

But these concerns are slowly proving less troublesome as Citizen Development firmly finds its feet within the industry. Citizen Developers are now proving their value by freeing up the time of their experienced Senior Developers, who can now focus on less mundane activity.

These two types of developers have created the perfect team, delivering innovation at speed.

The Future for Citizen Developers:

Possessing the drive and ambition to constantly envision new and creative ways for processes to operate, the knowledge of Citizen Developers has now been enlisted within the realms of Rapid Mobile App Development (RMAD). The rise of mobile apps becoming a fundamental of a company’s B2E infrastructure has exploded with credible reason, these apps can not only reduce cost but increase productivity and worker satisfaction.

Why use Citizen Development for RMAD? Well you don’t actually need an in-depth knowledge of coding to successfully create a mobile app. These Low-code platforms only require the user to have skills similar to that of Excel. With the system allowing you to visually drag and drop buttons and other interface elements onto a blank canvas. It has never been easier to create a robust fully functional mobile app thanks to Low/No code technologies!

Citizen Development is now firmly integrated within the technology landscape, and not showing signs of decreasing in popularity or appeal. These Developers are now considered as truly credible candidates by some of the biggest organisations, solving countless process headaches along with developing new applications on a daily basis.

Who knows what Citizen Development and Low-code Platforms will be capable of next… Watch this space!

The power of our Low-code LEAP Platform:

Our leading Low-code platform LEAP is loved by Citizen Developers and IT Departments alike! With a buildable workflow wizard best compared to that of Lego bricks you can have free rein to construct and fulfil your business requirements thanks to our unlimited configuration capability.

Interested? Discover what LEAP has to offer.