The Intriguing World of Citizen Developers: What Does it Mean?

45906048 - The Intriguing World of Citizen Developers: What Does it Mean?

Discover the evolving landscape of citizen developers and how they’re transforming the tech industry. Learn what it means to be one and the impact they’re making in this insightful post.


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    As technology continues to evolve and grow, the concept of “Citizen Developer” is becoming increasingly popular. In this glossary, we will explore the meaning, benefits, and best practices of Citizen Developers, along with noteworthy use cases and recommended books. By 2022, it is projected that the citizen developer market will be worth $14 billion, reflecting the growing importance of this concept in today’s digital landscape.

    “The citizen developer is the new king of the hill, driving a new era of enterprise innovation and agility.” – Mike Fauscette

    What is a Citizen Developer? Definition of Lay developer

    A Citizen Developer is an individual who, without formal coding or IT skills, can create digital applications and software using low-code or no-code development platforms. These platforms democratize software development, enabling non-technical employees to build apps and tools themselves, reducing strain on IT departments and encouraging innovation across an organization.

    ℹ️ Synonyms: Business user, Power user, Citizen programmer, Citizen coder, Citizen development professional

    How it Works

    Citizen Developers function by leveraging intuitive development platforms designed specifically for non-technical individuals. These platforms typically feature drag-and-drop interfaces, pre-built templates, and easy-to-understand visual programming elements that allow users to quickly design, test, and deploy applications. This greatly reduces the time, cost, and complexity associated with traditional custom application development processes.

    Benefits of using Citizen Developer

    • Reduced reliance on IT departments: By allowing employees to create their own custom applications or tools, organizations can reduce stress on IT departments and save time and resources.
    • Increased speed of development: Citizen Development platforms enable rapid application development, allowing organizations to quickly adapt to changes in the market or capitalize on opportunities.
    • Improved innovation: With easy-to-use development platforms at their disposal, employees across various sectors of an organization can create solutions tailored to their unique needs, leading to increased innovation throughout the company.
    • Cost-efficiency: Citizen Development practices eliminate the need for extensive developer resources, lowering overall software development costs.
    • Better communication and understanding between different departments in your organization: By understanding the application development process firsthand, end-users can provide better feedback and work more efficiently with IT departments when custom solutions are needed.
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    Citizen Developer Use Cases

    Citizen Developers have made an impact in various sectors, including:

    1. Human Resources: Citizen Developers can streamline tasks related to employee benefits, recruitment, and onboarding by creating custom applications that automate these processes.
    2. Sales and Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Developing custom apps can help sales teams better manage customer information, track leads, and analyze sales performance.
    3. Finance and Accounting: Citizen Developers can develop tools that automate financial reporting, budgeting, and other accounting tasks, improving accuracy and efficiency.

    Code Examples

    // Example of a Citizen Developer code using a no-code platform like
    // 1. Create a new project
    // 2. Add a visual form element to the page
      - Drop a "Form" element onto the page
      - Set its properties (e.g., placeholder text, validation rules)
    // 3. Create a new database table to store the submitted form data
      - Click on "Data" tab
      - Create a new "Thing" called "FormSubmission"
      - Add fields like "Name", "Email", "Message"
    // 4. Set up a workflow to submit the form data to the database
      - Click on the "Form" element
      - Add a new "Workflow" action for when the form is submitted
      - Choose "Create a new FormSubmission"
      - Map form input fields to the database fields
    // 5. Publish the app and share the link
      - Click on "Deploy" tab
      - Publish the app and share the generated link
    // Now, the Citizen Developer created a functional web form using a no-code platform

    Best Practices

    To maximize the benefits of Citizen Development, organizations should follow these best practices: Establish clear governance and guidelines for app development to ensure security and maintain data integrity. Encourage collaboration between IT departments, Citizen Developers, and other key stakeholders. Provide comprehensive training and resources to employees about the development platforms in use. Monitor usage and success of applications to continuously fine-tune and adjust future development efforts. Manage and support diverse teams of Citizen Developers to encourage innovation and creativity.

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    Most Recommended Books About Citizen Developer

    For those looking to delve further into the Citizen Developer world, these books are highly recommended:

    1. Low-Code Development: An Introduction to Citizen Development by Tanya Vladimirova
    2. No-Code Solutions: How to Create Business Applications Without Code by Mathias Kirchner
    3. The Rise of Citizen Development: A Guide to Empowering Teams by Finn Stapleton


    The rise of Citizen Developers reflects a broader movement towards democratizing access to technology and IT resources. By empowering non-technical individuals to create custom applications and software, organizations can enhance innovation, productivity, and collaboration. Understanding the concept of Citizen Development and applying best practices will help organizations remain competitive and navigate a rapidly-evolving digital landscape.

    Tags: citizen, creativity, developers, empowerment, innovation.

    Lou photo
    Back in 2013, I founded Echo with the simple business idea: "Connect great tech companies around the globe with the brightest software engineers in Eastern Europe." We've employed hundreds of talents so far and keep going.
    Lou photo
    li profile Lou Reverchuk

    IT Entrepreneur

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