We live in an digital era, with many satisfying and well-paying jobs in the industry. One compelling career aspect is that of a mobile app developer. Let’s face it, we’re all addicted to our phones–and, for good reason. In ode to the digital revolution, we can now connect and do anything just by having a smartphones.
We can even run our businesses using apps as our digital assistants, with the acknowledgment of improvements. We have just started venturing into the augmented reality niche, and where that can take us is anyone’s guess. This is why mobile application development is such an exciting field for those who want to conquer programming and development. In order to take your first step into the world of digital dragons, you’ll need a set of serious skills.
So, you want to be an app developer?
The world is now mobile. You can shop, browse and watch your favorite cat videos on your smartphone. In addition, our mobile phones are how we socialize on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. As an app developer, you can play a vital role in helping to build upon the social networks of today–with an eye towards the social networks of the future. Plus, many applications help to drive more sales for businesses.
We’ve gotten to the point where even small businesses are developing company mobile apps simply because it’s where their customers are. Mobile apps are much more convenient because you simply have to tap as opposed to typing a URL. And, you don’t need a laptop. Starting salaries for app developers can range from $50k annually to the low six-figures. In 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found the mean annual wage to be at $96,260.
It is also predicted that job growth will be 11% above average for all occupations. This makes it the type of job that not only satisfies your need to create, but can also provide a comfortable lifestyle if you’re successful and driven.
1. Get a degree or certification: Show Your Skill
There are many app developers who are self-taught. This is fine, but it helps to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or software development. On the other hand, you can complete a specialized associate’s degree or build upon your education by taking training courses in development languages and mobile user interface design.
2. Cross-platform development: Buzzing Now-a-days
If you’re looking to secure a position in the mobile app industry–whether you work for someone else or freelance–many clients and employers want someone with experience in cross-platform development. As a result, it is critical to be versatile enough to create an app on any device. Of course, the top two platforms are iOS and Android, but there is also Blackberry, Windows and more. If you can develop apps on multiple platforms, it makes you much more appealing to employers.
3. Build a portfolio: A Must Do
The best approach is to learn how to develop an app and start practicing as much as possible. The reason is both companies and clients want to see what types of mobile apps you’ve developed. Other necessary skills include:
- Familiarity with programming languages such as Java, C++, Adobe Flash Lite, PHP, Python and HTML
- Understanding how to create a user interface
- Strong computing skills in security and database management
- Analytical skills which helps you design an app based on a user’s needs
4. Swift programming: Flexible Yourself
This is the language Apple created specifically for developing their apps. It’s not a small language, but you need to be comfortable with several aspects such as:
- Basic syntax
- Control flow
- Error handling
- Classes, inheritance and initialization
- Objective-C Interoperability
This is why you should take a Swift Syntax course.
5. UX/UI Design: Be Creative
Your apps need to do more than just valuable. They need to be user-friendly. This is why companies want developers who have a good background in User Experience and User Interface skills. There are millions of apps already on the market, and UX/UI design skills are what help them stand out. The good news is there are many courses on UX/UI to help you get a better idea of what really works. These can include:
- Positioning components to where the user expects them.
- Using colors.
- Fast loading and operation of the application.
- Activity indicators
- Basic tips
- General help
There you go, these are the top skills employers look for when hiring a mobile app developer. Don’t forget, the more versatile you are–the better your employment chances will be.
Ryan Stewart is a digital marketing leader with over 8 years of experience working to help Fortune 500 brands grow their online presence. He currently resides in Miami, where he operates the boutique creative agency, WEBRIS.
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