rise of the citizen developer
Quixy Editorial Team
December 4, 2023
Reading Time: 11 minutes

Businesses today face numerous challenges, such as stringent regulations, evolving customer demands, intense industry competition, and environmental changes. Addressing these issues can be beyond the capacity of most IT departments. 

To tackle this problem, rise of the citizen developers is here, empowering employees to develop their own solutions without relying on IT professionals. This does not diminish the importance of IT, but instead strengthens it. 

By fostering a connection between IT and other departments through citizen development, organizations can facilitate faster collaboration, optimize processes, and solve problems more effectively. 

Citizen Developers are breaking down barriers and bringing their ideas to life using low-code and no-code platforms.  

Who is a Citizen Developer?

A citizen developer is a non-professional developer who builds applications for use by other people. Although they do not report directly to IT, they use tools such as low-code platforms that are sanctioned by IT.

Long live no-code. All hail Citizen Developers.

Businesses across the world are embracing no-code apps and platforms that allow them to digitally transform their processes in days and weeks instead of months and years. And behind this transformation is a rising band of citizen developers from non-IT backgrounds. So, what has led to the growth of this legion?

With apps being so versatile, more and more companies are interested in leveraging them for their business needs. However, creating an app from the word ‘Go’ involves financial investment and the services of a qualified software specialist. No-code development platforms, on the other hand, offer a viable alternative with little or no cost and no specialized skills required either.

Who is a citizen developer

Also read: Citizen Developer vs. Professional Developer

Surprised? Read on.

No-code app platforms provide a user-friendly interface through which anybody; yes, anybody, even those with a non-IT background, can build applications without writing any code. With the help of these platforms, businesses, professionals, freelancers, HR and finance experts, and individuals can create apps by using ready-made templates for user interface and functionalities and address their specific requirements.

What this means is that more people from different age groups and various departments within a company or independent professionals can realize their ideas without relying on conventional IT and administrative gatekeepers.

Watch Webinar: The Rise of Citizen Development in Enterprise App Development

Sounds good? There’s a whole lot more.

Apart from the development, controlling the functions of the app doesn’t require coding either. They can be fully adjusted via an easy-to-use configuration setting. Transforming manual processes into automated applications is fast gaining popularity. It helps unlock the power of digital data and makes the applications easily accessible to team members and customers.

Apart, no-code apps have various other applications that bring time and cost savings, improve internal processes, and contribute to digital innovation. No-code apps can be native, web-based, process-driven or data-driven to meet the diverse needs of businesses.

With no-code apps, the approach is declarative only. End-users without coding skills simply state what they would like an app to do by employing a no-code platform’s capability.

Why There is a Rise of the Citizen Developers

This rising CD trend empowers non-technical individuals to become drivers of innovation, propelling digital transformation initiatives to new heights. Let’s see the reasons behind the surge in citizen development and its transformative impact on organizations worldwide.

1. Increasing Demand for Customization and Agility

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, organizations require agile and customized solutions to stay competitive. Citizen development offers a way to rapidly develop applications tailored to specific business needs without relying solely on IT departments. This flexibility and speed have fueled the rise of citizen development.

2. Democratizing Innovation

Citizen development empowers individuals from various departments to actively contribute to innovation. Business users can use no-code or low-code platforms to translate their domain expertise into practical solutions. This democratization of development enables organizations to tap into a broader pool of creativity and problem-solving abilities.

3. Bridging the IT Gap

As the demand for new applications continues to surge, traditional software development processes often find it challenging to keep pace with the requirements. Citizen development bridges the gap by enabling non-technical individuals to create and deploy applications independently. This relieves the burden on IT departments, reduces backlogs, and allows for more efficient resource allocation.

4. Empowering Business Users

With no-code and low-code platforms becoming increasingly user-friendly, citizen development has become accessible to business users without extensive coding knowledge. This empowerment enhances job satisfaction and encourages a culture of innovation and ownership among employees.

5. Accelerating Digital Transformation

As organizations embrace digital transformation, citizen development is vital in driving change. Organizations can rapidly deploy digital solutions, streamline processes, and adapt to evolving market demands by enabling business users to contribute directly to application development.

Also read: The Pros and Cons of Citizen Development

A spectrum of citizen developer roles is emerging. These new roles may not replace traditional software developers, but they can enhance your software delivery strategy by giving your business people the tools they need to innovate on their own.”

John R. Rymer, Vice President, Principal Analyst serving Application Development & Delivery professionals at Forrester

Also watch:

How do no-code platforms work?

Citizen developers start creating their app using a toolbox that is at their disposal. They simply have to drag and drop visual boxes to add and arrange functionalities and design workflows. Drop-down menus and a color palette help to provide choice from a set of options, as well as customize or brand the app. What’s more, many platforms offer ready-made templates for typical business use cases. Citizen developers can employ the template to build additional functionalities on it that are specific to their company’s needs.

Snapshot of Form Builder

Also read: How to Implement and Govern Citizen Development

By creating a visual and intuitive interface, which graphically replaces the lines of code behind it, end users can set up their application, connect it with databases or web services, integrate it with other tools, and start using it for tackling work tasks. As you can see, app creation and deployment time are drastically reduced.

Workflow Snapshot

The biggest benefits – time and cost savings

With shortage of IT professionals and large backlogs in IT departments, traditional software development is unable to fulfill the growing need for solutions. No-code apps are therefore emerging as a powerful platform as they usher in direct time saving for businesses and IT teams.

Further, if a company needs to work with an external IT specialist, it has to pay for a long process of creation, deployment, updates, and maintenance. On the other hand, no-code apps are readily available, come at a lower cost, and can be just as efficient, leading to significant cost savings.

According to leading global research and advisory firm Forrester, in the U.S. alone there will be a deficit of 500,000 software developers by 2024

How To Harness Citizen Developers To Expand Your AD&D Capacity, Forrester Research, Inc.

Who can use no-code apps?

No-code apps are helpful for businesses of all sizes and in many different trades, as well as for individual professionals.

In Large Businesses, processes can be speeded in diverse areas including inventory management, equipment inspection, safety audits, and many more.

For Small Enterprises, no-code platforms are a real game-changer as they allow the creation of important customer-facing apps that can fuel sales and customer engagement.

Consultants and Freelancers can benefit greatly from the no-code apps to optimize their operations in diverse ways.

Who Can Be A Citizen Developer?

Anyone can be a citizen developer, regardless of their technical background or coding experience. The concept of citizen development is to empower non-technical individuals to create their own software applications and technology solutions using low-code and no-code platforms. These platforms are designed to make application development accessible and easy to use, allowing anyone with an idea and the willingness to learn to create their own technology solutions. With the increasing availability of these tools and resources, there is no limit to who can become a citizen developer and create custom applications to solve real-world problems.

Anyone interested in creating software applications or automating business processes can become a citizen developer in an organization. This could include employees from different departments, such as marketing, sales, human resources, or finance, who understand their business processes and the challenges they face. They can leverage low-code and no-code development platforms to create custom applications and automate tasks to increase efficiency and productivity.

Also Read: Meet the Top Citizen Development Influencers

IT professionals and developers can also become citizen developers and use these platforms to create rapid prototypes and proofs-of-concept for testing new ideas and solutions. This can help bridge the gap between business requirements and IT implementation and accelerate development.
Anyone willing to learn and desire to improve their organization’s processes and operations can become a citizen developer and contribute to their organization’s digital transformation.

Why investing in citizen developers is beneficial for companies?

The rise of the Citizen Developer movement is changing the way companies approach software development.

According to Gartner, by 2024, 65% of all application development tasks will be accomplished using low-code, and 66% of large corporations will adopt at least four low-code tools and platforms.”

“Research indicates that nearly 80% of top-performing companies (pacesetters) in the US utilize citizen developers.”

With low-code and no-code platforms, business professionals can create custom solutions without relying on traditional IT departments. This shift has significant implications for companies and provides numerous benefits that make investing in Citizen Developers a smart choice. 

Cost-Effective Solutions

Using low-code and no-code platforms, Citizen Developers can create solutions faster and at a lower cost than traditional software development methods. This makes it easier for companies to stay within budget and get more value for their investment. 

Increased Agility

Citizen Developers can respond quickly to changing business needs, delivering solutions in a fraction of the time it would take traditional software development methods. This increased agility allows companies to stay ahead of the competition and quickly pivot to meet new challenges. 

Better User Experience

Citizen Developers have a unique perspective on end-users’ needs, allowing them to create tailored solutions to meet their specific needs. This results in a better user experience and increased adoption of the solutions. 

Improved Innovation

By empowering Citizen Developers, companies can tap into a new pool of ideas and creativity. This results in increased innovation and the development of unique solutions that can drive growth and competitiveness. 

Better Alignment with Business Goals

Citizen Developers have a deep understanding of the business & its goals, allowing them to create solutions that are aligned with the company’s objectives. This results in better outcomes and more efficient use of resources. 

The rise of the Citizen Developer movement is a game-changer for companies of all sizes and represents a new era in software development. Within this landscape, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Return on Investment (ROI) serve as the compass guiding organizations toward success. KPIs provide a quantifiable way to evaluate the effectiveness of these initiatives, shedding light on their ability to streamline processes and improve outcomes.

Meanwhile, ROI offers a financial perspective, illuminating the tangible benefits gained from embracing Citizen Development. By understanding and harnessing the potential of Citizen Development KPIs and ROI, businesses can navigate their digital journey with clarity and confidence, driving innovation and growth.


Unleashing the Potential of Citizen Developers Across Industries 

The force of citizen developers has taken hold in various industries, including: 

  • Healthcare: Citizen Developers in healthcare sector are creating No-code apps for patient management, electronic health records, and appointment scheduling. 
  • Finance: Citizen Developers in Financial institutions use no-code apps for loan origination, fraud detection, and compliance management. 
  • Marketing and Sales: Teams can streamline their campaign creation and distribution besides using no-code apps for lead management, customer relationship management, etc.
  • Retail: Citizen Developers in Retail companies are creating no-code apps for inventory management, customer relationship management, and supply chain management. 
  • Government: Citizen Developers in Government offices building no-code apps for citizen engagement, service delivery, data management and workflow automation. 
  • Manufacturing: Citizen Developers in Manufacturing companies are creating no-code apps for production management, quality control, and supply chain management. 
  • Education: No-code apps are being used in education by Citizen Developers for student management, online learning platforms, and course administration. 
  • Human Resources: No-code apps are used for recruitment, employee management, and performance evaluation by Citizen Developers in HR departments. 
  • Telecommunications: Citizen Developers in Telecom companies use no-code apps for network management, customer service, and billing systems. 

These are just a few examples of how different industries are already using no-code apps, but they are also being adopted in many other industries. 

Also read: Everything you should know about no-code development

Quixy – An Ideal platform for Citizen Developers

Quixy is a low-code platform that enables users with minimal technical expertise to develop custom business applications and automate processes. It provides an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface for creating custom solutions without writing code. This makes it possible for employees to take ownership of their business challenges and develop solutions to meet their specific needs, empowering them to become citizen developers. 

Although there are some characteristics of Citizen developers that can make someone particularly well-suited for the profession, such as a problem-solving mindset and a willingness to learn, anyone can become a citizen developer with the right tools and resources. You can also check out Citizen Developer’s Toolbox: Insights and Strategies from Our eBook-Innovate and Empower: A Journey through Citizen Development!

With Quixy, users can quickly design, test, and deploy business applications that fit their unique requirements, reducing the dependence on IT professionals and streamlining the development process. Additionally, its features, such as integration with existing systems and collaboration tools, facilitate seamless teamwork and faster problem-solving. The citizen development value tree can act as a universal language, bringing teams together and harmonizing collaboration for project success.

Quixy empowers you to create your own apps by providing a low-code platform that enables you to create custom business solutions, automate processes, and streamline collaboration without requiring extensive technical skills.  And helping citizen developers across verticals build applications in days and weeks to automate their manual processes and drive efficiency, productivity, and transparency. Don’t miss out on the chance to elevate your processes. Take the first step and get started with Quixy today.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Here are some of the frequently asked questions related to the rise of citizen developers and why businesses should care: 

Q: Who is a citizen developer?  

A: A citizen developer is a non-professional developer who creates applications or tools using low-code or no-code development platforms. They are typically business users or employees with a strong understanding of the company’s operations and needs. 

Q: Why is there a rise in citizen developers? 

A: The rise of citizen developers is driven by the increasing demand for customized and flexible solutions, as well as the availability of user-friendly low-code and no-code development platforms that enable non-technical users to create applications and tools. 

Q: Why do businesses need citizen developers? 

A: We need citizen developers for several reasons: 

Accelerated development: Citizen developers can help businesses accelerate the development process by creating applications and tools without relying on IT departments. This can help businesses bring new products and services to market faster and respond quickly to changing business needs. 

Customized solutions: Citizen developers are business users who have a deep understanding of the company’s operations and needs. By allowing them to create their own applications, businesses can get customized solutions that meet their specific requirements. 

Cost savings: Citizen development can help businesses reduce the cost of development by using low-code or no-code platforms that don’t require specialized technical skills.

Innovation and collaboration: Citizen development fosters a culture of innovation and collaboration within the organization. By empowering employees to create their own applications, businesses can tap into the creativity and ingenuity of their workforce. 
Citizen development can help businesses become more agile, innovative, and efficient by enabling non-technical users to create their own applications and tools. 

A: The most popular tools that citizen developers use are low-code or no-code development platforms. These platforms provide a user-friendly interface and pre-built components that allow non-technical users to create applications and tools without writing code. One of the most popular no-code platform is Quixy, platform provides a range of pre-built templates, components, and integrations that can help citizen developers quickly create applications and tools that meet their business needs. 

Q: How can businesses empower citizen developers? 

A: To empower citizen developers, businesses can take the following steps: 

Provide training and resources: Citizen developers may not have formal training in software development, so it’s important to provide them with the training and resources they need to be successful. This could include online courses, documentation, and mentorship programs. 

Establish clear guidelines and governance frameworks: To ensure that citizen-developed applications are secure, compliant, and aligned with the organization’s objectives, businesses should establish clear guidelines and governance frameworks for development projects. 

Foster a culture of innovation and collaboration: Citizen development works best when there is a culture of innovation and collaboration within the organization. Businesses can encourage this culture by recognizing and rewarding innovative ideas and providing opportunities for cross-functional collaboration. 

Provide access to low-code or no-code development platforms: Citizen developers need access to low-code or no-code development platforms to be able to create applications and tools. Businesses can provide access to these platforms through internal IT teams or by using cloud-based platforms. 

Encourage feedback and input from IT teams: While citizen developers can create applications and tools on their own, it’s important to involve IT teams in the process to ensure compliance with security and data privacy regulations. Businesses should encourage citizen developers to seek input and feedback from IT teams throughout the development process. 

By taking these steps, businesses can empower citizen developers to create customized solutions that meet their unique needs and accelerate the development process. Additionally, empowering citizen developers can help foster a culture of innovation and collaboration within the organization. 

Q. Can I be a Citizen Developer?

Yes, you can be a citizen developer. Citizen development refers to the practice of creating software applications, websites, and other technology solutions by people who are not professional developers. With the increasing availability of low-code and no-code development platforms, it has become easier for individuals with no coding experience to build their own applications.
Discover the step-by-step guide on how to become a citizen developer and create your own technology solutions by checking out our latest blog post!

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