‘Citizen developers to outnumber professionals coders by 4 to 1’

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Gartner predicts that the number of citizen developers will be four times the number of professional developers by 2023. According to the organization, IT companies need to start treating the group differently to find a much-needed answer to the growth of hyper-automation.

The term ‘citizen developer’ describes any professional that develops scripts, functions for applications or entire applications without accounting or belonging to an IT department. Professional coders are explicitly hired and paid for such work, and can thus be seen as an antithesis.

According to Gartner, the number of citizen developers is growing explosively. At the Gartner IT Symposium, an annual conference, the organization predicts that between now and 2023, the number of citizen developers will grow to quadruple the number of professional coders.

Jason Wong (Gartner distinguished VP and software design/development analyst) argues that the growing group could provide an answer to the global growth of hyper-automation. Gartner argues that IT companies will be unable to support the growth of hyper-automation, a trend it perceived. Wong sees a solution in the embrace and recognition of citizen developers. A far leap from the current reality, in which, the analyst says, citizen development is looked down upon.

Wong substantiates the latter with recent Gartner surveys, which supposedly show that more than 59 percent of citizen developers work with database, data science, analytics, app development and AI tooling, while only 42 percent receive support through software expressly designed for them.

Change

“Citizen developers might be receiving insufficient support because supportive technology is more frequently provided to ‘centres of excellence’ (i.e. distinctive teams or departments) and other corners of an organization”, Wong suggests.

Gartner says things need to change. The organization advises IT companies not to dismiss citizen developers’ work with the label of shadow IT, but encourage it instead.

“Citizen developers are doing serious work,” Wong confirms. The analyst implores organizations to collaborate and further develop their skillset. Moreover, Wong notes that involving citizen developers in the teams traditionally responsible for planning and executing IT initiatives introduces them to enterprise considerations such as technology risks, furthering solutions for the increasingly heavy demands of hyper-automation.

Tip: Embracing Shadow IT could accelerate enterprise growth