HOW TO BECOME A
Mobile App Developer

Do you enjoy using mobile apps? Are you intrigued by how they operate? Do you want to become a mobile app developer? Nowadays, there’s an app for every activity, from messaging to shopping to gaming. Every smartphone user uses at least one app a day, which opens the doors for developers to create an app for almost anything.

Business owners and organizations develop mobile apps to offer convenience and enhance their market presence. You can take advantage of these developments to explore your creativity and develop outstanding and user-friendly mobile apps. Unique apps will help you gain recognition within the industry.

Listed below are some of the primary benefits of working as a mobile app developer.

  • Mobile application development is at an all-time high, so there will be many jobs in the future.
  • Mobile app developers earn a high salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), software developers earn an average of $110,140 per year.
  • BLS also indicates a 22 percent job growth projection for app and software developers between 2019 and 2029, with over 1.4 million jobs created in 2019. This growth suggests job stability and growth opportunities.
  • You can work from anywhere. Mobile app developers aren’t restricted by office space and can work remotely as long as they have laptops and a strong Internet connection.
What Is Mobile Application Development

What Is Mobile Application Development

Mobile application development is the process of building software that runs on mobile devices. Developers create native apps, hybrid apps, and HTML5 apps, which can be pre-installed or downloaded from the mobile app store or web browser. They also build the apps to fit different mobile operating systems, the most common being Android and iOS.

What Do Mobile App Developers Do?

A mobile app developer is a software developer who focuses on creating apps for smartphones. The developer is in charge of designing, building, testing, and maintaining mobile apps for any operating system. You will be an integral part of the design and development team from inception to completion.

Mobile App Developer Job Description

Mobile app developers perform different duties during the development process. You must possess in-depth knowledge of top programming languages. Some of the programming languages used in mobile application development include Python, C++, HTML, PHP, SQL, JavaScript, and Swift.

Employers require you to design high-quality mobile apps that embody company policy and offer a seamless user experience. You will collaborate with user experience (UX) designers, user interface (UI) designers, and other team members to ensure the app functions on the intended operating system. We’ve listed more about what the job entails below.

  • Discussing the client’s requirements and strategizing with the team
  • Analyzing user needs and researching the best solutions to meet these needs
  • Creating mockups for the apps and presenting them to the client for development approval
  • Collaborating with user interface designers to enhance the app’s UI design by designing controls, buttons, and other settings
  • Programming and developing mobile apps
  • Maintaining the app through debugging, upgrades, updating user interfaces, monitoring performance, and licensing

What Are the Required Skills for Mobile Application Development Careers?

Mobile application developers require extensive skills to create an app from scratch. From programming languages, UI design, and cross-platform development, employers prioritize developers with essential skills. Some of the necessary skills in mobile app development are listed below.

Programming Languages

This is one of the essential skills for a mobile application developer. You need extensive knowledge in one or more programming languages to help you build an app. Programming languages perform different functions.

For example, you can learn HTML and CSS for web development, and JavaScript is the best for front-end development. Others like CSS and Java are the most popular for app programming. However, there’s a long list of programming languages, such as Python, Swift, and Kotlin, which produce outstanding results for app development.

User Interface Design (UI Design)

UI design is an essential skill because it enables the development of a fully functional app. In addition, a quality interface facilitates quick loading and response time, improves consistency, and builds brand reputation. You need to understand how UI works and how it affects user experience. Mediocre UI design leads to low ratings.

Cross-Platform App Development

Cross-platform app development refers to the ability to create an app that’s compatible with different operating systems. Typically, the more platforms you can access, the higher your chances of growing a larger audience.

You need the skills to create an app that functions on Android, iOS, Windows, and other operating systems. Being able to develop cross-platform apps also showcases your ability to code on various platforms. Moreover, creating cross-platform apps reduces costs, allows code reusability, and makes for simple testing.

Cyber Security

Mobile apps carry a lot of sensitive data, from user information to company operations. Ensuring that the apps you’ve created are secure is important. You need skills in security, disaster recovery, backend computing, and operational security. A secure mobile app prevents hacking and identity theft and enables real-time protection of user devices.

Business Capability

Business capability skills help you market the app and create a reputation for the brand. You need to create a unique app that appeals to the users by adding features and tools to the app’s visibility. However, don’t forget to include the client’s vision and requirements for a successful app.

How Much Do Mobile App Developers Make

How Much Do Mobile
App Developers Make

As mentioned earlier, mobile app developers earn an impressive salary averaging $110,140 per year, according to the BLS. Employers determine compensation based on several factors, such as location, experience, and expertise.

Below is a comprehensive table highlighting mobile app developer salaries based on the location. The average base salaries originate from PayScale.

City Average Salary
Seattle, WA $100,587
San Francisco, CA $100,000
New York, NY $83,692
Portland, OR $81,562
Los Angeles, CA $79,084
Dallas, TX $76,505
Atlanta, GA $74,612
Chicago, IL $73,388
Boston, MA $71,540
Minneapolis, MN $70,053
Phoenix, AZ $70,013
Milwaukee, WI $68,151
Philadelphia, PA $66,507
Cleveland, OH $64,573
Miami, FL $53,446

While location can influence your pay, so can years of experience. Most companies increase your compensation based on your years of experience or length of time at the company. Read below to learn more about average mobile app developer salaries based on experience level.

Position Salary
Entry-level (0-5 years) $59,427
Mid-Career (5-10 years) $80,845
Experienced (10-20 years) $88,199
Late-Career (20+ years) $93,910

Mobile Application Development Technologies and Coding Languages

Java

If you want to develop Android apps, you will need to learn Java. Java is an object-oriented programming language, making it easy to handle. Furthermore, it protects the app’s code by compiling all functionalities. Additionally, Java has a strong community and an open-source library. Some apps developed using Java include VLC and Telegram.

Flutter

Flutter is one of the most popular mobile app technologies. It is an open-source mobile app development kit for Google. It also facilitates the creation of cross-platform apps that run on Android and iOS.

Dart is the primary programming language for Flutter, and it helps the development of native interfaces. Furthermore, developers don’t have to write codes for two platforms. You can reuse the codes on a different platform.

React Native

React Native is a product of Facebook. It is an open-source framework that’s effective for developing cross-platform apps. Developers who include React Native can use React.js and JavaScript to build apps that operate like native apps.

React Native apps include Airbnb, Uber, and Facebook. They run effectively on Android, iOS, Web, and Windows. As a result, most React Native apps tend to experience a lot of success worldwide.

Swift

Swift is an open-source programming language exclusive for the iOS operating system. It works with Cocoa and Cocoa Touch Frameworks, writing codes for iOS platforms. Swift also features secure programming patterns that make work more manageable during the development of iOS applications.

Kotlin

Experts refer to Kotlin as the advanced version of Java. It is a unique programming language perfect for developing highly advanced Android applications. It is also a general-purpose programming language that also thrives in cross-platform app development.

Developers prefer Kotlin because of its clarity, strong community support, vast library of development tools, and security. Popular apps developed using Kotlin include Coursera and Evernote.

How Can You Become a Mobile
Application Developer?

The industry standard to become a mobile app developer is to earn a bachelor’s degree. You can major in software engineering, computer science, data science, or any related field. For about four years, you will learn how to write and read code, use programming languages, debug apps, implement cybersecurity, and so much more.

However, there’s more than one learning path for potential mobile app developers. If you’re wondering how to become a mobile app developer without a university education, you can enroll in an app development boot camp. Another option is to pursue massive open online courses (MOOCs) from trusted providers such as Udemy, Coursera, and edX.

Mobile Application Development Learning Paths

Bootcamps

Bootcamps have become popular in recent years, giving students a shorter path to careers in software development. Students spend only a few months in these bootcamps but receive enough education to cover a standard bachelor’s degree.

The programs are intense and go straight to the point, equipping students with the necessary skills to thrive in mobile app development. Popular coding and software engineering bootcamps include Launch School, Flatiron School, and Lambda School.

College/University

College or university education is also essential for a mobile app developer. You can start with a community college, where you’ll pursue an associate degree before proceeding to university or enrolling in a bootcamp. With an associate degree, you can apply for entry-level jobs as you further your education.

You can also go straight to university and pursue your Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering or Computer Science. To become a viable candidate for senior positions, you can seek a master’s degree or doctorate. Gaining certifications is also an excellent way to further your career.

Self-Study

Self-study involves pursuing online courses in mobile app development. As mentioned above, MOOC experts, such as Udemy and Coursera, have a wide array of free and paid online courses. You can even receive a valid certificate at the end of the online course.

Most courses are short-term, which allows you to study several courses within a short period. These online courses are created or moderated by successful and highly experienced mobile app developers.

What Companies Are Hiring Mobile App Developers?

Companies hiring mobile app developers include EA Mobile, Sony, and Facebook. The best part of pursuing a career in mobile application development is the freedom to work in any industry. Organizations are embracing the use of mobile apps for better customer service and brand recognition.

That means you can work in any industry from social media, manufacturing, physical fitness, finance, or entertainment. Your role is to develop apps for all these organizations, and all you have to do is understand your client’s needs.

FAQ

How long does it take to become a mobile app developer?

It takes about four to six years to become a mobile app developer, depending on your learning path.

Do I need to know all programming languages?

No, you don’t need to know all programming languages. However, you need to be well-versed in at least two programming languages because they’re pivotal in app development.

What skills do I need to thrive as a mobile app developer?

Programming languages, UI and UX design, cross-platform app development, and business capability. You also need to have excellent analytical and collaboration skills.

Why should I become a mobile app developer?

Mobile app development is a lucrative career. You will receive an impressive salary even as an entry-level developer and have the freedom to work in any field. Additionally, as the demand for mobile apps goes up, so does the need for mobile app developers.

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