Organizations appear to recognize the value of citizen development increasingly more often. The same applies to APG. A so-called citizen developer is an employee who is not a professional developer but who is able to create small-scale applications. George Drost, Maarten Lafeber and Iris Schipper tell us how this approach makes the work easier and more fun. “The culture in the workplace changes if people are given the opportunity to learn new things.”
What does it take to become a citizen developer? It all starts with curiosity, says George (Digital Lead). “If a citizen developer performs repetitive work, he or she will be curious about a tool that is able to make that work easier.” You don't have to be a diehard programmer, Maarten (Strategist) adds. “Although it helps if you have some affinity with data. I already had some experience with programming because of my study Financial Engineering. But I think eighty percent of what I am programming, can be done by virtually everyone. It's all about taking the time and having the will to do it. It is also important not to be afraid of change.”
Because there are many low code/no code applications, George believes you can also start without much knowledge of programming. George: “If you don't know a lot about programming yet, it can also be a trigger to participate in a DataCamp training for instance.” (DataCamp is an online learning platform on data science, ed.) Many citizen developers often already have some knowledge of data and programming because they took these subjects during their study, such as Maarten. Iris (Junior Asset Management Professional) also practiced programming during her study Finance & Investment. “Especially when writing my master's thesis and for the subject statistics. But I wouldn't say that can be directly translated into what I am doing for my work.” To refresh her knowledge, she now takes the course data scientist of DataCamp.
“My manager encourages me to learn Python”, Iris continues. “That can be applied to my current task aiming at alternative data on the telecom and media sector. Those data have to be visualized so colleagues are able to quickly derive the information they need. We are using Python to write a script in order for the new data to be automatically visualized in a PDF report.” She believes she will soon be able to benefit from her knowledge of Python. “I still have to become a bit more adept, but I believe that I will quickly see things in the next assignment of my traineeship that can be done more efficient or easier. And that will be thanks to my DataCamp training.”