If there’s one area where the war for talent is raging, it’s data science. “Europe needs 346,000 more data scientists by 2020”, a recent IT Pro headline reads. “Machine learning, big data and data science skills can potentially create the greatest disruption if not filled,” IBM’s The Quant Crunch report stated.
The growing gap between demand and available talent in the data scientist space has many companies struggling. They’re unable to fill the number of data scientist vacancies – increasing at anything from around 30% a year to 56% a year in the US. That results in accordingly high salaries.
Banks in particular are struggling. With many – often sexy sounding – data science vacancies available at Big Tech companies, banks are often not data scientists’ first pick when it comes to choosing a new employer.
This is due to a number of reasons. To begin with, banks often has this image of being reliant on outdated IT systems compared to other sectors. Next, there is the idea that banks have a reduced ability to work with data in an agile fashion and go fast to market with new products.
The opportunity of the citizen developer
Recruiting more data scientists for exponentially high salaries is however not really an option for many banks, so it’s good to look at ways to tackle the shortage in different ways. Because even though there’s a dire shortage, the situation also gives us new opportunities.
One solution is to empower the people who are closest to the customer: marketers and client service representatives, and encourage them to become so-called citizen developers.
A citizen developer is a non-programmer who builds business applications using development tools that do not require, or only in a very limited way, a coding background.
They work in dashboards in which they use low-code – or sometimes even no-code – drag-and-drop application components to generate new types of web and mobile applications.
Gartner, one of the world’s leading research and advisory companies, also describes the citizen developer phenomenon as “a way to democratize app development, because it no longer restricts the creation of new products and services to a highly trained technical elite.”
And, sure, the concept of citizen development is not new. Building macros in Excel, putting together websites in WordPress and other low code activities carried out by creative and self motivated non-IT people have been going on for some time.
But it’s good to be aware of the potential of the concept and the number of organizational benefits citizen developers can bring. In our recent whitepaper: we already stated the following advantages:
- Ad hoc action: citizen developers create the possibility for organizations to react swiftly and in the moment, instead of only when the IT resource is available.
- No-code platforms: allow solutions to be built easily and speedily.
- Alignment: citizen developers can help align customer needs and business interests with IT priorities.
- Scalable: citizen developer training needs are easily met and are highly scalable compared to specialist data scientists.
- Speed up innovation: they spark rather than stifle innovation.
Gartner has named citizen development one of the major trends able to influence midsize enterprises this year, if the right tools are put in place.
One professional group with the opportunity to be hugely empowered through citizen development tools, are marketers. The tools give them the possibility to:
- Run multiple campaigns in parallel instead of sequentially.
- Easily set-up data-driven campaigns with more fine-grained segmentation.
- Adjust campaigns on the fly to maximize results.
IT divisions, HR and corporates can be freed up thanks to citizen development tools, because it removes the need for specialist data scientists or more software engineers.
Organizations that invest in opportunities that facilitate the development of employees into citizen developers, invest in their own ability to succeed across a range of industries, and thus boost their own future-proofness.
Want to learn more about citizen developers and their value?
Read all about it in our recent white paper