How To Become an App Developer? Step-by-Step Guide.

Mobile app development as an industry is vast and growing by leaps and bounds. It now attracts the best talent pool, generating billions in revenue annually. With a winning mobile app venture, you can start your company or a new development career in a reputed development firm.
You can pursue a developer career after a computer science degree or even do that without this. But it needs a meticulous approach to learn the basics and progress in learning advanced skills to shape your developer career. Below, we provide a step-by-step guide to how to become an app developer quickly.

Step 1: Build Up Your Background

To become a successful mobile app developer, one should have a solid command of the key software development skills and good knowledge of tech stack and tools.

You can be just a web developer wanting to extend your skills for mobile app development, or you can start from scratch knowing everything about development and required technologies. Where you are starting from and what you want to achieve must be figured out first. For total beginners, taking a computer course from one of the popular platforms, such as edX, or Coursera, is always advisable.

Secondly, you need to have a solid understanding of all the different skills that a mobile app developer should have.

  • Business Exposure and Monetization Knowledge: Mobile app developers should have a good knowledge of how app businesses function and a solid understanding of app monetization.
  • User and Market Analysis: App developers should be able to understand user requirements and market dynamics to build a winning app. They should be exposed to key concepts such as user journey and one app competitively stays ahead of others.
  • UI/UX Skills and Creativity: App developers should be excellent at designing their apps' user interface and user experience. They should also have creative skills to introduce elements that help users to complete tasks more efficiently.
  • Agile Development Method: App developers should also be versed in agile methodology, widely embraced by complex and ambitious app projects.
  • Communication and Collaboration: App developers should also have sound written and verbal communication skills and be able to work in a collaborative environment.
  • Knowledge of Security Concerns and Measures: App developers should be versed in security concerns and key measures to prevent vulnerabilities and handle attacks.
  • Native and Cross-platform Development: App developers should be exposed to native programming languages, tools, cross-platform frameworks, and development best practices.

Step 2: Learning to Code from Scratch

For an aspiring mobile app developer, coding remains a fundamental skill. If you want to create an app from scratch that brushes shoulders with leading apps of the niche, you need more than just using the so-called app builders. It would help if you learned to code an app from scratch.

Fortunately, several good online resources are available for learning to code without paying a dime. Both Code Academy and Treehouse are great places to start from the basics and move to advanced coding skills. Apart from helping you learn to code, these platforms also give you real projects for the test, and you can evaluate your skills through quizzes.

It would help if you also learned a few things about the app development cycle. An app these days takes shape through several rounds of small iterations or updates. It would help if you learned about building a minimum viable product (MVP) with essential UI/UX design elements and features. This lean methodology allows you to develop a primary product and, based on the feedback, can further make value additions and changes through subsequent app updates. A good understanding of the MVP approach is necessary for today's developers.

Step 3: Leveraging, Testing, and Documenting

Good knowledge of writing code is just the essential step you have come across. But after learning how to code, it is necessary to practice clean coding and to document the code. Here below, we explain this.

Create a Fresh New App Idea

For a beginner to leverage their skills in a project, it is essential to build the app idea based upon some real-life problem and its corresponding app solution.

Explain the App Details

Learn to make a detailed project requirement document with all the details of your app product. This is something you need to create for any app project in the future.

Understanding How to Collaborate On a Project

Often in your career, you need to develop only some of the apps from start to finish, all by yourself. It would help if you collaborated with other developers working with the backend, designers, or QA testers in a project. This collaborative work you need to have a grasp on.

Knowing How to Test An App

Once you have finished the app development, it must undergo rigorous testing. Even if you are not going to be a QA tester, you need to understand debugging, user testing, performance testing, app security testing, etc.

Step 4: Understanding App Niches

You have a variety of app niches to choose from. Every popular niche comes with its challenges, opportunities, and required skills. Choose a particular app niche based on your inner calling or interest.

If you have always liked mobile gaming, go for it or if you found travel booking apps are something you have a genuine interest in, try to develop your skills accordingly. Some of the most popular app niches you can choose for a developer career include mobile games, social chat and messaging, enterprise apps, e-commerce and marketplace, media and entertainment, education, HealthTech, Fintech, fitness and lifestyle, small business apps, retail apps, etc.

Step 5: Get Industry Certifications

Apart from the so-called academic qualifications, an aspiring mobile app developer can always get top-notch professional certifications. Several widely acclaimed industry-grade certifications can effectively evaluate your coding and development skills experts. These certifications often enhance the career scope and chances of getting good opportunities.

Some of the most well-known certifications that would-be app developers should pursue include the following.

  • Android Certified Application Developer
  • Oracle Mobile Development Certified Implementation Specialist
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer
  • IBM Certified Mobile Application Developer
  • Associate Android Developer
  • GIAC Mobile Device Security Analyst
  • TensorFlow Developer Certification

Step 6: Adding Experience and Exposure

Finally, an aspiring app developer needs real project experience and exposure to app development challenges. You have several different ways to practice developing apps and improving existing apps. Some of these exercises are free but provide almost a fully-fledged real-life development experience. Some of the proven ways you can app experience to your portfolio initially include the following.

  • Become a Volunteer App Programmer: You can take part in app projects from non-profit organizations and tell them your aspiration to take part in the project for learning. This can easily add a project or two to your portfolio.
  • Internship in a Mobile App development Farm: Sometimes internship can only give you experience and project exposure without paying a dime. But to begin your career on a solid note, it can be a great option. Apart from learning, you can add the project to your portfolio. Don't forget to request a recommendation letter or a certificate of merit from the project manager or employer. 
  • Compete in a Coding Hackathon: Online hackathons often allow app developers from different countries to compete and learn from other coders. These hackathons can offer you a lot of scope to sharpen your skills and get recognized by development companies.

Some Professional Tips for All would-be App Developers

So, at the end of all the above steps, you must feel optimistic about your future app developer career, right? But before you leave, let us give some valuable tips to help throughout your app developer career.

  • Before investing a hefty sum in some software development courses, begin by enrolling in free programming tutorials and find out whether you enjoy this.
  • Watch many YouTube tutorials on app development, different platforms, and niches of your choice.
  • Always stay updated with what other app programmers and app developers share on leading online developer forums.
  • Stay updated with the development world's trends by reading many tech blogs regularly.
  • The average app development salary of a developer differs from location to location. For example, in the US, the average salary is $91k/year, whereas if we talk about Indian app developers, the median salary ranges from ₹1.8 Lakhs to ₹12.0 Lakhs, which is just 2k-14k in USD. Thus when it comes to a developer’s salary, don’t settle for any less. 
  • As you learn app coding and development skills and practices, always try to figure out the technologies, tools, and code used to build your niche's reputed app. Try building some primary clones of reputed apps.
  • Get versed with most app projects' leading app development, design, and QA testing tools.

Closing Thoughts

So, shaping a successful mobile app developer career is different from climbing Mount Everest when you know and follow these steps and practices acclaimed all over the industry. You can further pace your learning by practicing and digging into the leading apps for learning essential techniques. But wait, remember to concentrate on the basics first instead of running all over the place.

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Written by
Juned Ghachi is the CEO of IndianAppDevelopers, a professional mobile app development company in India for full-cycle mobility solutions. Having 10+ years of experience in the digital marketing field, he excels at offering the best technical advice to clients.

Do you want to develop an app or website? Talk to Raza and get started!

Raza is a tech entrepreneur with an experience of working with 500+ clients. His key expertise is around tech consultation, where he guides people on how to successfully build digital softwares for their businesses.


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