The rise of the Citizen developers: “We’re all developers now”

What is Low-Code / No-Code (LCNC)?

LCNC platforms are development platforms that offer visual frameworks that allow non-technical users to develop fully functional applications without the need for programming skills.

What is citizen development?

Citizen Development unleashes productivity across an organization by giving the employees the tools, the skills, and the guidelines to take an idea and develop a solution themselves.

What are citizen developers?

Expression introduced by Gartner, the definition they provide is “A citizen developer is an employee who creates application capabilities for consumption by themselves or others, using tools that are not actively forbidden by IT or business units. A citizen developer is a persona, not a title or targeted role. They report to a business unit or function other than IT.

  • is able to identify new opportunities that improve operational efficiency
  • is a persona with little-to-no technical background capable of building applications
  • is a catalyst of digital transformation


Impact on organizations

Gartner analysts declared back in 2012 that “We’re all developers now”. It has never been so true!

  • The ability to solve business problems quickly allows you to remain competitive and efficient
  • Citizen developers with the skills and competencies to put ideas into reality are replacing hierarchical and rigid decision-making in a new paradigm
  • Citizen development has the ability to boost productivity throughout the company
  • Being able to manage citizen developers skills in both “citizen development” and “business” aspects
  • Facilitating the emergence of new citizen developers with e-learning courses and guidelines available across the organization

Impacts on IT

Research has found that 77% of IT leaders and 71% of business leaders agree that IT teams have a huge pipeline of new IT solution requests, which aren’t being built. In addition to keeping an organization up and running from a technology standpoint, IT is under immense pressure to modernize the existing IT infrastructure and advance its organization’s digital agenda by building new business-critical apps.

  • Increases innovation while reducing the amount of unsanctioned IT tools
  • Convert IT, teams, into technology partners as the business teams are in charge of creating their own applications with the support of the IT department
  • Application built with modern LCNC platforms are more secured, easier to maintain, extend, and deploy
  • Resources and materials related to those platforms are widely available
  • Consolidating best practices and guidelines,
  • Monitor the platform costs, the resource consumption, as well as monitor the live applications
  • Managing access and security privileges to the new platforms for new employees

Examples of Applications that can be developed with Citizen Development

  • Customer Relationship Management application
  • Internal requests application (for devices, furniture…)
  • Approval workflow involving e-Signature and multiple sequences
  • Timesheet management
  • Onboarding of new employees
  • Event Management
  • Client portal to let your customer update or submit information or documents
  • Provider portal to let your business partners submit information and documents
  • Application for jobs and hiring processes

The Benefits of Citizen Development

Through citizen development, IT can partner with the business to build solutions the organization needs — faster and with less rework. The business users know their domain better than anyone else and working collaboratively will ensure that the right processes and technology are in place. When done right, citizen development can help you:

  • Meet the growing need for apps and process automation
  • Boost IT and business productivity
  • Address shortage of skilled developer
  • Govern shadow IT and take advantage of it



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Pierre-Edouard G.

Pierre-Edouard G.

Citizen Developer Strategist, entrepreneur with 15 years of experience in marketing, project delivery, and application architecture.