Literally millions and millions of mobile apps have been developed in just the last 10 years, with the iTunes App Store and the Google Play store recording more than two billion downloads between them – and the number climbs higher and higher every single day.
Mobile app developer career paths are still a little bit fuzzy (though schools and universities all over the world are starting to build courses for this relatively brand-new career field), but if you love to get in on the new “gold rush” that is mobile application development you want to fast-track your abilities as an app developer just as soon as humanly possible.
Here’s how to jumpstart your progress!
Pick an operating system to develop for and stick to it like glue
The overwhelming majority of mobile app developers out there today are working on both iOS and Android application (or versions of one asked to work on both), but almost all of them would tell you that you have to start off as an app developer focusing on one operating system and only one operating system.
These skills definitely translate across operating systems for the most part, but if you try to learn both of these operating systems at the same time you’re going to slow yourself down dramatically. Most app developers start off on the iOS side of things (the tools and the marketplace is definitely here) before jumping over to Android if that helps!
Build an app you yourself would use
It can be very tempting to want to dive right in the fray of the mobile app millionaire market right now and build your own little software company that lets you enjoy the kind of financial future most people never get the opportunity to live, but until you have the skills necessary to bring a viable solution to market you will be much better served building out an application that you yourself would actually use.
Regardless of whether or not these kinds of applications already exist makes absolutely no difference. In fact, it’s probably an advantage that these kinds of applications exist, as you will be able to “borrow” ideas and concepts from these apps while learning how to build them from scratch in your own mobile setup.
Develop the “Core Four” skills you’ll need as a professional app developer
While you will have to learn a number of different skills, a number of different programming languages, and how to use what seems like hundreds of different tools to pull off a mobile application from start to finish, there are four core skills that you need to develop as a professional.
Multiple user interface design is the first pillar that you want to build your app developer foundation off of. You need to know how to create useful, easy to use, and intuitive mobile user interfaces for your applications or people aren’t going to use your app no matter how powerful or exciting it may have been otherwise.
Computing skills are next. You’re going to need to know how to manage a database, how to leverage memory resources properly, how to build secure applications, and how to dovetail nicely with other apps (through APIs) and hardware.
Programming skills are obviously mandatory, and you’ll want to master as many of them as possible. You’ll want to learn how to develop for iOS, Android, and Windows (at the very least) and there are a handful of different programming languages that you can use across the board to do exactly that.
Finally, you’ll need to develop business expertise. Even the world’s greatest mobile applications need marketing and advertising to drive them to financial viability. There’s no such thing as the Field of Dreams when it comes to mobile applications – even if you build it, they may not come. Get your marketing and advertising down pat and you won’t have anything to worry about!