Citizen Developer Profiles

The term citizen developer is not just a buzzword, and as such, there can be quite a degree of nuance as to who can be considered a citizen developer. Based on interviews with 25 leading IT companies, Forrester Research, Inc. identifies 3 profiles of citizen developers (Figure 1; How To Harness Citizen Developers To Expand Your AD&D Capacity, Forrester Research, Inc., April 19, 2017).

Line of business developers

Line-of-business (LOB) developers have likely had some previous application development experience, although their expertise is the processes of business operations. LOB developers may even already be partnering with IT to deliver solutions, even though they are embedded in another department that focuses on business operations rather than IT.

Business developers

Business developers are business experts first and developers second. They work on apps part-time, maybe even in their spare time, to fill a need for additional IT solutions within their team, or to move business forward. Business developers are motivated by the challenge of technical problems, and likely have some background in technology-- for example, they may have taken programming classes during their studies.

Power users

Power users are also part-time developers, but who build apps for their own use in order to streamline tasks--think of someone who always pushes the use of spreadsheets or databases to improve the flow of office work. They may create applications as tools to help their teams become more organized or faster, but mostly work on personal apps.

“With each of these profiles comes a unique set of skills that can benefit your organization in ways that perhaps traditional developers cannot.”

With each of these profiles comes a unique set of skills that can benefit your organization in ways that perhaps traditional developers cannot. One benefit of being able to employ them in a citizen developer capacity is that your organization can be infused with new and fresh perspectives, which promote innovation. In other words, citizen developers have a lot to offer by bringing to the table the benefits and successes of other disciplines.


Citizen developers have an aptitude to use tools to their advantage to find solutions but don’t need intensive training. Further, because many are digital natives who grew up with and understand the value of software, they are open to learning and implementing new tools that increase productivity and assist their workflow.