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Citizen Developers And Low Code Application Development

Citizen Developer

There was a time when app development was in the domain of people with complex coding and technical skills. We called these people by various names like programmers, coders, techies, and they usually worked in a world oblivious of the everyday priorities of the business world. But with the passage of time, this scenario is much more democratised now.

Newer business models have given rise to new technologies giving way to old legacy systems and processes. Technology and business teams have come together to build just what is needed for business. Today nothing happens backstage in the name of complex coding – every one builds and develops apps using simple methods based on modern technology.

In the modern digital world, apps have become an essential part of all enterprise activities. App demands are driven by external customers, who demand it to be modern and interactive and by internal customers(employees), who want tons of custom business apps to be built. Internal app demands are primarily generated by non-technical-business units like finance, HR and accounting. These kind of apps are usually non-mission-critical but business-critical apps. The people who demand these apps are also business users who usually have limited or no technical coding knowledge.

Also, Digital Transformation has taken over the business world and apps have become an indispensable part of every digital activity. Both external and internal stakeholders are in the quest for intuitive, interactive and customised apps that can solve a specific business problem.

Although a small portion of these app demands are getting fulfilled by out of the box SaaS-based services, there is still a big chunk of custom app demands that has to be built. There is an inherent dependency created on the technical/IT teams to take care of these app needs. But in organisations, IT teams have focused mostly on the core/mission critical apps. This creates a situation for these business app developers, where they themselves cannot create apps and the IT team is a bottleneck. So the need of the day is “A democratic way to develop business apps without worrying about technology”

Unleashing The New Generation Of ‘Citizen Developers’

It was in the year 2011, when Gartner predicted that at least 25 % of all business applications will be built by citizen developers. The emergence of the non-technical business developers, also called as citizen developers, is a reality now.

When people , especially employees within an enterprise who are not a part of the IT team build apps using their own skills, we call them Citizen Developers. They may be anyone without any specific programming skills, but can actively participate in creating software applications. Gartner defines Citizen developers as “ a user who creates new business apps for consumption by others using development and run-time environments sanctioned by corporate IT”.

Citizen Developers Are Trending

There were times, when enterprises with traditional IT methods and practices were dependent on slow and sluggish processes to develop apps. Businesses had to highly depend on the IT people who had the requisite skills to build apps. But the immense growth in business demands, the need to deliver projects in shorter time frames and the emergence of new age app development tools led to the rise of “Citizen Developers” within enterprises.

Enter The Low Code Platform

One of the top reasons why citizen development is gaining momentum is the emergence of low code platforms. Low code platforms empower citizen developers by abstracting the complexities associated with app development. Low code platforms provide citizen developers with a platform that can use do-it-yourself app building features like visual app building, simpler integrations, instant testing and 1-click deployments. This lets the user focus on business imperatives and not on technology and coding.

This gives the citizen developers the armoury to build powerful custom applications as per business needs . Apps that might take weeks and months to be built using the traditional coding based approaches, can now be built in just a few days , in a very cost effective manner and without compromising on the technical safety standards set by the IT team. In short, low code platforms lets developers to quickly build an app from an idea.

To Conclude

The ability to build an app without the direct intervention of the IT teams is what empowers the citizen developers. App development can now be carried out by almost everyone within the organisation or outside with very zero technical know-how. This is unleashing a new generation of developers like are you, me and everyone and everyone around us.

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Karthick heads the Products, Marketing and Evangelism efforts for WaveMaker. As one of the original product managers at WaveMaker, he led the technology and design for WaveMakerOnline, WaveMaker's PaaS offering. He also established the Customer Success practice for WaveMakerOnline. Prior to WaveMaker, Karthick occupied various roles in engineering and product management at PegaSystems, IBM and Oracle. He can discuss in-depth, code-level details and just as easily shift focus to business and go-to-market strategies. He was one of the seeders for the product management teams for PegaSystems in India and also a key technology contributor behind Oracle Warehouse Builder features. He writes and blogs about modern app development methodologies, including Rapid Application Development, digital transformation, and the API economy.