Monday, May 4, 2020

The Rise of Citizen Developers

Who doesn’t love personality tests? Hopefully, your answer was “nobody” because that’s exactly what we’re doing today. Below are a few characteristics of a certain individual; your job is to decide if you identify with these traits:

  • Likes trying new ideas
  • Fast-paced
  • Results-driven
  • Resourceful
  • Customer-focused
  • May have a problem giving up control

If you do relate to the above characteristics, then congratulations! You’ve just identified as being a citizen developer. And before you discount this “super accurate” assessment because you don’t know JavaScript, anyone with a working computer can be considered a citizen developer! So with this new-found knowledge, let’s take a look at the rise of citizen developers.

The Rise of Citizen Developers 

Let me set the scene: A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (more like in a conference room, several years ago) you and your team are brainstorming new ways to engage with your customers on mobile. After hours of deliberation, you’ve landed on creating a native mobile app…but that technically requires IT’s help and the last project you worked on together didn’t exactly go as planned. So you took matters into your own hands to get the job done, even though it meant getting a slap on the wrist from IT in the end. This all too familiar scenario is how the rise of citizen developers began.

Citizen developers are individuals who are able to use low code or no-code platforms to build an app that can be used by others (like customers, employees, or prospects). The term citizen developer was coined by a Gartner analyst back in 2012 when he predicted that we would all someday become developers. His vision proved to be true when SaaS companies started designing platforms that would enable individuals to bypass IT in order to achieve their business goals. But before we go any farther, I want to clarify that IT is not the antagonist in our story. Individuals within a business (marketers, I’m looking at you 😉) had grown tired of submitting requests to IT that resulted in either silence or rejection. As our dependency on technology grew, IT was bogged down with requests, therefore being the catalyst in our story.

Meet Your Sidekicks 

You probably didn’t have the same reaction to finding out you were a citizen developer like Peter Parker did when he discovered his powers. But your Spidey senses may have tingled a bit when you discovered you could build apps without code with the help of no-code and low code platforms. No-code platforms enable you to utilize pre-built foundational blocks you can reuse across multiple apps; while low code platforms have the same functionality with the added ability to bring in your own code if you wish. Low code and no-code platforms are the perfect answer to keep everyone on their best behavior. Bonus: low code and no-code platforms are significantly cheaper than traditional app development.

These platforms often have functionality that make it easy to create mobile apps. Drag-and-drop is basically the best sidekick you’ll ever have. Like the name states, low code and no-code platforms have drag-and-drop functionality that makes it easy to customize your app in a matter of hours.  And with a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) interface, you can instantly visualize what the app will look like before hitting publish.

The Revolution Today 

Today, citizen developers are hungry for a challenge. Consumer behavior changes fast, and citizen developers need the freedom and tools to quickly adapt. In order to keep citizen developers from going rogue, purchasing unapproved software (hello, shadow IT), companies have started enabling citizen developers to take on this challenge. In fact, 76 percent of companies have reported that at least one business application has been developed outside of IT.  Marketers can create fairly advanced apps at their own speed, while IT gets to keep an eye on things from a safe distance.

So what’s the next mission for citizen developers? If you’ve already conquered becoming the best native app builder, you’ll want to check out Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). PWAs are the next generation of mobile and the web. They have the same feel and functionality as native mobile apps, just without the app store download. Consumers have already shown just how much they love this new way to engage with brands on mobile.

Ready to join the movement with your fellow citizen developers? Take a look at just how easy it is to build an app with the Lumavate platform!