There’s no question that being a computer programmer is a good job with a bright future.
But one type of programming career is dying: the corporate developer. That’s the IT person who writes custom apps for business users.
That job is being slowly replaced by something called “citizen programmers.” That’s when business people write their own apps, “no IT involved,” TrackVia CEO Pete Khanna told Business Insider.
Much like how business users are buying their own PCs, tablets and smartphones and bringing them to work, they are skipping IT and “writing an app that meets their needs,” by themselves, he says.
That’s possible because startups like TrackVia offer do-it-yourself app development platforms for people who know nothing about programming.
TrackVia’s particular claim to fame is turning spreadsheets into apps. Drop the spreadsheet into the TrackVia platform and it instantly creates an app from it.
The TrackVia app works on any device or computer via a browser and does a lot more than a spreadsheet. It can handle photos, build charts, email reports, send alerts or do all kinds of other tasks.
The Denver-based startup has 2,500 customers so far and is growing at a fast clip, adding about 1,500 new “trial apps” per month, Khanna says. Users can build a trial app and use it for a month before buying the monthly service.
Companies are using TrackVia to track their customers, track their inventory, schedule customer calls, manage projects, and whatever the business needs. Its customers include American Express, Coupons.com, NASA, NBC Universal and The North Face.
For instance, parking lot company Premium Parking built a tablet app that lets lot attendants share info about parking garage usage. Construction company Metro Construction built a custom project management app that replaced its use of Microsoft Project.
TrackVia charges $US10 per month for one user, $US249/month for up to 10 users and variable pricing after that.
It’s certainly not the only citizen developer tool out there, either. Others in the category include Interneer, Conduit Mobile or Appery.io.
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