How to Go from Citizen Developer to App Maker

Lilly Thuma Picture

by Lilly Thuma | Last Updated: Jun 29, 2020

Okay, I want to talk to all of my marketers out there. Raise your hand if you like working with IT on projects… anyone? Yeah, that is what I thought. And that isn’t to say IT isn’t good at their jobs, it’s the exact opposite actually. They are so good at their job they want to make sure everything is done correctly, and unfortunately the marketing team doesn’t always have the patience for it. The constant head-butting between marketing and IT is why we have seen a rise of citizen developers, or marketers taking IT projects into their own hands. In fact, Citizen Developer vs. App Maker I love the idea of a citizen developer, and I love how many more people we are seeing become citizen developers. But, what I don’t love is the word “developer,” and I want to clarify something for everyone. A citizen developer does NOT mean you need to be a developer. It actually means the exact opposite. Citizen developers is a term coined by Gartner in 2012, as they predicted one day we’ll all be citizen developers. A citizen developer is just anyone who is able to build an app on a low code or no code platform (so literally anyone). The only qualifications are that you have to be willing to try something new and always wanting to push the envelope. If that sounds like you, then congratulations, you have a new title you can add to your resume! So what is the difference between a citizen developer and an app maker? Honestly, nothing! You just have to be willing to make an app. While I know this sounds like a daunting task, as app makers are traditionally seen as skilled developers who can write in multiple languages of code and know all the fancy lingo, you truly don’t need a background in development to build an app before. You only need the following things:
  1. Know What Kind of App You Want. Okay so while you don’t need an extensive background in development, but you do need to know a little bit. Mainly what kind of app you want to make (if you didn’t even know there were different apps, don’t worry, I will explain). You could choose to build a native mobile app, AKA the app you would download from the app store or you could choose to build a Progressive Web App (PWA). A PWA is an app that is run through the web, but looks and functions like a native mobile app. PWAs are typically easier to develop, cheaper, and use less storage than native mobile apps. Also, if you decide to make a native mobile app you have to choose if you want it to run on iOS or Android. However, there is no need to build an iOS PWA and an Android PWA, rather you can create one PWA that runs on both operating systems.
  2. Find a No Code App Development Platform. Now you need to decide which no code app maker platform you are going to use. There are many different app building softwares available, but I recommend finding a no code or low code platform. When using a no code/low code platform you can build the app without a line of code. Instead you can visually see all of the pages of the app and drag and drop components where you want them to go on the screen. This is oftentimes called a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) App builder.When making the decision on what app maker platform you want to use, you should consider differences in pricing, plans, what resources the platform offers, and what features and components you will have access to. Lumavate, for example, offers a PWA platform range of packages from basic to enterprise, all with different pricing options.
  3. Build the App! The last step is simple: build the app! And trust me, it isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. Most app platforms have tutorials and templates available to help you get started. And if you choose to build a PWA, you can have the app built within hours or days depending on how much you want to include in the app. Once you have that under your belt you can officially consider yourself both a citizen developer and an app maker! If you are feeling ready to get started building check out Lumavate's PWA platform.

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