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A citizen developer refers to an end user who creates new applications or programs from a corporate or collective code base, system or structure. In a general sense, this developer is not a professional developer who is paid to code applications, but an "amateur," someone who uses the tools available to him/her for building applications that his/her team can or will use during the course of their work.
Company employees who may not have specific programming credentials can still participate in developing applications or products within the company as a citizen developer. The rationale is that a formal computer science degree may be less valuable today than in the past and that new tools like cloud services and code abstraction platforms have allowed citizen developers to do more "programming on the fly," where they create applications without the specific commissioning of their employers. This leads to the issue known as “shadow IT,” where development can happen without the blessing of the company, which can affect the integrity or organization of the IT system that is already there, such as a database structure. In general, proponents of this type of unsanctioned development have to weigh the risks against the benefits.