1. What is a citizen developer? A citizen developer is someone that has a blend of technical understanding and an in depth understanding of their area of expertise outside of a traditional IT role. They typically employ a low-code or no-code tool that allows them to develop an application without having to be a technologist as their primary skillset. A nurse, for example, that uses an EMR on a daily basis and understands the basic architecture or workflows in the application can be a citizen developer. Since the start of the recent pandemic, there has been a flood of applications built by and delivered to market by nurses, doctors and pharmacists who understand the problems of their role and use a low code application to build their solutions. In very simple terms, they are able to use inputs like drag and drop, common language writing, diagrams and even spoken language to tell the application what they want to build and in turn, the application uses advanced technology or even AI to build the application for them.
2. What are the advantages of these products? In enterprise software for example, most defects are created during handoffs between the experts and the technologists. This drives the cost up, slows speed to market and often results in a product that to some extent misses the intended mark and does not fully address the solution. Cost, quality, and speed to market are significantly improved when the experts in the problems being solved are directly and continuously involved in building the solutions.
3. Are there limitations? Arguably, the low code and no code market is evolving beyond web builders and getting closer to creating full stack applications. Significant challenges still exist when it comes to the data and business logic layers. If the goal is to have a full stack, full scale application built without writing a line of code, we still have a long way to go.
4. The industry of tools available to the experts is evolving. First, it was purely design aspects that could be done for websites. This goes back decades to social media platforms that let you personalize your homepage. Then, web design tools became a way to quickly stand up an eCommerce site for a small business. Now, low-code and no code solutions are pushing further into converting workflows and designs into actual ‘front end’ code. Sparrow brings this full circle. There is much more to this and to learn more about the advancement and future state of citizen development, visit us at www.sparrow.ai.