The Developer Continuum: Pro-Code/Low-Code/No-Code

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Define the different kinds of personas who are involved in LCNC, primarily citizen developers, professional developers, and IT administrators

The Developer Continuum: Pro-Code, Low-Code, No-Code Builders

In our previous lesson, we talked about the problems confronting companies and organizations, such as the increasing amounts of data they have to handle and the lack of IT personnel available to program or enhance software so that companies can hyperautomate the processes they rely on. We also went through some of the reasons that companies are looking at low-code/no-code (LCNC) development as a solution.

Today, we are going to cover some of the "personas", the people who fit specific job profiles and play particular roles within the LCNC development landscape. They are the:

  • Citizen developers
  • Professional developers
  • IT administrators

Many different roles in an organization may map to these personas, and the people in these three broad categories may not only be individual contributors, but they may also be team leaders and senior managers, and they can come from any department.

Who is the Citizen Developer?

Let’s look at the persona that you most likely fit into, the citizen developer.

You may remember from the previous unit that we talked about the spectrum of complexity when building with no-code and low-code. Broadly, there are two types of citizen developers that also map to this spectrum.

There are business users, people who are experts in their particular business niche in their departments and in their lines of business. They have a strong understanding of and personal experience with business processes that need improvement, such as simple analytical work, data extraction and input tasks, user interface customization, and so on. They may not have a lot of technical knowledge and may have little to no experience with coding. These are primarily no-code users.

We also have citizen developers who do low-code development, for example, to build more complex workflows that span lines of business. We call them power users, because they’re so familiar with SAP systems. They might even have some training in data analysis and coding.

You may identify with the business user or the power user as a citizen developer. The main point is that neither type of citizen developer is using advanced programming language or involved in formal development processes, such as testing or product lifecycle versioning, nor are they accountable for governance and IT security.

Who is a Professional Developer?

Professional developers program and extend applications, foundational services, and use code to integrate business systems. They can deal with sophisticated applications, cloud services, APIs, and automations that are enabled by artificial intelligence and machine learning.

There are too many different types of developers to list here, and we are adding them to a broad persona because the main thing that sets them apart from the citizen developer is the fact that they write code. However, there are two common types that we should differentiate. There are those who specialize in front-end or customer-facing applications and interfaces, and those who specialize back-end applications, the hidden processes that drive the results presented on those front-end experiences.

As we did with the previous persona, we differentiate professional developers into two distinct categories, line of business developers and application developers.

Line of business developers are programmers first, and business experts second. They may not have much, if any, specific business expertise. They work with the tools that power application development, the programming, the mathematical, and technical analyses. They are usually fluent in multiple programming languages, often including machine language. They can deliver applications, app extensions, and fixes quickly for teams within a particular line of business.

Application developers work on a more global or company-wide scale to integrate and enhance applications across platforms.

Both types of professional developers:

  • Can write code to develop an app, including complex business applications.
  • Understand the concept of a development lifecycle, for instance testing and versioning.
  • Are aware of permissions and roles.
  • Can deal with governance and security issues and interfaces.
  • Directly interact with IT administrators to ensure that an app goes live.
  • Can design or have significant input into designing user interfaces and can work together with user experience (UX) teams.

Both of these professional developer personas have a significant interest in understanding and becoming skilled in low-code / no-code development for three reasons:

  1. They will end up using some of the same development tools as citizen developers (for example, using metadata instead of writing code).
  2. They are likely to have a significant role in enhancing the apps that citizen developers create, and then integrating those apps into the company’s systems.
  3. At least some developers will end up helping to plan and execute training programs for citizen developers.

Getting involved in training is a win-win for everyone, because the more professional developers can help citizen developers to use low-code / no-code, the fewer items they will have to deal with on their backlog list.

Who is the IT Administrator?

The IT administrator group represents all the people who have the right and responsibility to manage the lifecycle of business applications and processes, quality control, and governance.

IT administrators are, typically, part of an organization’s central IT department. They can publish apps developed both by professional and citizen developers after ensuring the involvement of relevant stakeholders and the integrity of the lifecycle process, including testing, governance strategies, and security issues.

Other hands-on tasks for technical administrators include transporting applications from development and testing systems to the production system. This involves versioning, access rights and permissions, and decisions about going live with or killing apps.

Summary: Key Personas Working with Low-Code / No-Code

Today, we’ve talked about three main personas involved in low-code / no-code development, citizen developers, professional developers, and IT administrators. Each of these personas has a particular role to play in implementing hyperautomation within their own departments, lines of business, and the company or organization as a whole.

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