How to Become a Mobile App Developer?

October 12, 2020

How to Become a Mobile App Developer

Do you have a burning desire to create the next big mobile app? Are you fascinated by the process of designing and developing apps? If you answered yes to both of these questions, then you might be wondering how to become an app developer without experience or credentials.

The good news is that it’s not as difficult as you might think. With the right tools and some hard work, you can become a successful mobile app developer!

Where should you start?

Let this blog be your guide! Learn the needed skills, get steps on becoming a developer, and find out what it takes to make it in the cut-throat world of app development.

What is Mobile App Development?

first iphone

Since the release of the first iPhone in 2007, the app market has grown at an unprecedented rate. With over 2 million apps available, iOS and Android are now home to some of the most popular and lucrative applications in history. But what exactly is mobile app development?

Mobile app development is the creation of software programs designed to run on devices like smartphones or tablets. App developers use different programming languages and usability tools to create apps for different purposes.

To become an app developer, you should master these skills. If you’re not a born coder, don’t worry—there are plenty of resources out there to help you learn the ropes. We’re here to give you an overview of what you need to know to start mobile app development!

Types of Mobile App Developers

There are two main types of mobile app developers: those who develop for iOS and those who develop for Android.

iOS Developer

iOS developers use the Swift programming language to create apps for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Swift is a powerful and easy-to-use programming language that makes app development more fun.

Android Developer

Android development uses the Java programming language to create apps for devices running the Android operating system. With over 2 billion users worldwide, it’s a big platform for Android developers!

Types of Mobile Apps

Before we dive into the steps, let’s briefly tell you about the different apps you can develop. Here are the four main types of mobile apps:

Native app

These are written in the specific programming language for the operating system they’re meant to run on—such as Swift for iOS apps or Java for Android apps.

Hybrid app

They are written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and they run in a web view—a full-screen browser window within the app.

React Native app

Similar to native apps, they’re written in JavaScript instead of the native language. They run in a web view, but they can access native features like the camera and push notifications.

Progressive web app (PWA)

These websites look and feel like apps but run in a web browser, but they’re designed to look and feel like a native app. They’re built using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

startechup mobile app developer

Now that we’ve covered the basics of mobile app development, let’s move on to the steps you need to take to become a developer!

8 Steps on How to Become an App Developer

Like any other profession, becoming an app developer takes time, effort, and dedication. But if you’re passionate about coding and building mobile apps, it’s definitely a career worth pursuing!

Here are the steps you need to take to become a successful app developer:

1. Consider taking classes or short online courses

While you don’t need a formal education to become an app developer, taking classes can help you learn the necessary skills. If you’re still in college or studying at a university, classes on computer science or mobile development will put you on the right track.

A summer Coding Bootcamp program is also a great way to learn the skills you need to become a developer. These programs are typically around 12 weeks long, and they’ll teach you everything from the basics of coding to more advanced topics like app development.

However, if you’re changing careers and unsure where to start, check out top tech training programs in your area or online. Here are some of the most popular online resources for learning mobile development:

  • Coursera
  • Udemy
  • edX
  • Zero To Mastery
  • Udacity
  • Codecademy
  • PluralSight
  • LinkedIn Learning

Believe it or not, you can learn mobile development for free! There are YouTube videos where software developers share their skills and experiences that can help aspiring developers like you. Here are some YouTube channels you should follow:

Although these courses are free, you might want to consider spending money on a mobile app developer course if it’s from a reputable source, as it will likely offer more comprehensive and structured content.

2. Develop your technical skills

iOS and Android myth quote

While you may have the right personality for coding, you also need to have the technical skills required for mobile app development. Let’s take a look at the soft skills and the hard skills you need to hone:

Soft skills:

  • Communication: being able to communicate your ideas clearly and work with others on a team
  • Creativity: coming up with new ideas and solutions
  • Management skills: creating apps need project management

Hard skills:

  • Programming languages: knowing how to code in languages like Swift, Objective-C, or Java
  • Development tools: using software like Xcode or Android Studio to develop apps
  • Design skills: using design principles to create an attractive and user-friendly interface

3. Choose a platform you want to develop for

Android or iOS? It’s a common myth that you need to know how to code for both platforms to be a successful app developer. In reality, you can focus on one platform and still find success!

If you’re starting from scratch, consider the following factors:

The market share of each platform

As of a 2022 report, Android has a market share of 71.62%, while iOS has a market share of 27.73%.


Which platform your target audience uses

If you’re targeting consumers in the US, for example, you’re more likely to find them on iOS than on Android.

The revenue model you’re using

If you’re planning on monetizing your app with ads, Android is a better option; if you’re selling paid apps or in-app purchases, iOS is a better option.

Your skills

If you have prior experience coding in Java, Android is a better platform for you. It goes the same as knowing Objective-C or Swift; iOS is a better platform for you.

Your preference

If you prefer one platform over the other, go with what you want.

While these are the two most popular platforms today, there are other platforms worth considering, such as Windows Phone and BlackBerry. However, you may find yourself more limited in terms of app development opportunities and jobs if you choose to specialize in one of these platforms.

4. Acquire the tools you need for app development

latest devices quote

After learning the core concepts, you have to put your technical skills into practice. Of course, you need the tools to make that happen, such as a powerful PC and the appropriate mobile devices.

In iOS app development, you need the following:

  • Mac computer running the latest version of macOS
  • Xcode development environment
  • UIKit framework and SwiftUI framework
  • Apple mobile devices, such as iPhone, iPad, MacBook, etc.

For Android platform app development, you need the following:

  • PC running Windows 7 or higher
  • Android Studio
  • Java SE Development Kit
  • An Android device to test your app on, such as a phone or tablet

Today’s app developers may have the latest devices, but this is not a requirement because you can develop apps on an older device or computer as well.

5. Start coding!

Once you have your requirements and decisions in place, it’s time to create your own app!

Follow these steps to start coding your very first app:

I. Brainstorm ideas

Mobile applications start from an idea. To get started, brainstorm a list of app ideas that solve a problem or meet a need.

II. Research the competition

Once you have a list of ideas, research the competition to see what similar apps are already out there. This will help you refine your own ideas and create mobile apps that offer something unique.

III. Create wireframes

After you’ve done your research, it’s time to start planning the design of your app. This is where wireframing comes in. Wireframes are essentially blueprints that help you map out the functionality and layout of your app.

two men designing an app

IV. Design your app

Once you have a solid wireframe, it’s time to start designing your app. This is where you’ll create the user interface and user experience for your app.

V. Write the code

After you have a design in place, it’s time to start coding! This is where you’ll take your design and turn it into a reality using the programming language of your choice.

VI. Test your app

Once you’ve written the code for your app, it’s time to test it to make sure it works as intended. This is where beta testing comes in. Beta testing is essentially a process of releasing your app to a group of users before it’s officially released to the public.

Successfully creating user-friendly apps that provide a great experience is essential to success in the mobile app development market.

6. Practice your skills

Gaining expertise doesn’t happen overnight. With anything in life, practice makes perfect. The same goes for mobile app development. To become a better developer, you need to practice your skills on a regular basis.

play the app with friends

By practicing your mobile application development process, you can improve or change the areas and techniques that need improvement. Create simple apps and let your friends download them, then get feedback.

Another good idea for practicing software development is recreating an existing software or app. You can find a lot of sources for this on YouTube. This activity will not only help you learn to recreate them to new apps effectively but also allows you to explore your technical creativity.

Short freelancing projects are also a great way to get started in the industry and hone your skills. Not only will you gain valuable experience, but you’ll also be able to add these projects to your portfolio to showcase your abilities to potential technology companies.

There are a few different ways to find freelancing projects:

  • Major platforms such as Upwork, Freelancer, and PeoplePerHour
  • Job boards such as Monster and Indeed
  • Social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn

Remember that employers are picky with hiring mobile app developers, so you also have to know how to market yourself. Marketing skills are as important as coding skills in the technology industry.

7. Get certified (Optional)

A computer science degree is not required to become a mobile app developer. However, getting certified in mobile application development can help you stand out from the competition and show employers that you have the skills and knowledge to be a great app developer.

Google Developers Certification website

There are a variety of certification programs available, such as:

  • Mobile App Development certification from Google
  • App Development with Swift certification from Apple
  • Android Developer Nanodegree from Udacity
  • Java ME Mobile Application Developer certification from Oracle
  • MTA Developer certification from Microsoft

As you can see, some of these certifications are offered by major app developer companies. But you don’t necessarily need to get certified by attending a Coding Bootcamp.

The downside is, however, that getting certified takes time and money. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.

8. Network with other professionals

In any industry, it’s all about who you know. Well, you can expect that in the mobile app industry as well.

It’s not enough to start a career as a mobile application developer with a diploma; you have to know the people in the industry to get your foot in the door. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to network with other professionals.

Here are your options:

Attend conferences for android developers

Many of them are being held online, so you don’t have to worry about spending money on transportation. Keep an eye out for events in your area or city, as well.

Joining online forums and groups

This is also great if you want to expand your network. Reddit has a number of active programming communities that you can join, and LinkedIn is always a great platform for connecting with other professionals in your field.

Meet up with communities for app developers

Several programming language communities hold regular meetups. You can find one near you by doing a quick Google search.

It’s also important to follow the right people on social media. Many professionals in the mobile app industry are active on Twitter, so make sure to follow them and get involved in the conversation.

5 Tips to Get Your First Job in Mobile Development

mobile app developer interview

You’ve done the research, learned the skills, and are now ready to enter the job market to take your career to the next level.

But as you’ve probably realized by now, finding job prospects is easier said than done. That’s why we’ve put together this list of tips:

1. Learn more than the coding basics

Yes, we get it. You know how to code. But in order to set yourself apart from the competition, try to learn more than just the basics. Employers are looking for people who can think outside the box and solve problems efficiently.

We recommend that you try to get into language learning for specific platforms or take on some difficult projects that will really showcase your skills.

2. Develop your portfolio

Another important tip to becoming an app developer is to ready your portfolio. Your portfolio should showcase your skills and experience, as well as any projects that you have worked on.

Employers will often look at portfolios when considering candidates for open positions, so we recommend that yours is up to date with complete information about your degree programs and references, if you have them.

3. Get experience through internships or projects

If you’re still finishing up your bachelor’s degree in IT, don’t worry. You can still get ahead of the competition by gaining some experience in the field.

There are many ways to do this, and your best bet is to get them from internships in a tech company that specializes in developing apps for mobile platforms. Here, you’ll learn first-hand how the industry works and what it’s like to work on real-world projects.

Essentially, this experience will buff up your resume and make you a more attractive candidate when applying for jobs.

android app developer

4. Stay up to date with new technologies

Mobile development is an ever-changing field, so it is important to stay updated with new technologies. One way to do this is to read industry news and blogs, as well as attend conferences and meetups.

If you want to master iOS development, for instance, familiarize yourself with the latest features of Apple’s newest operating system, Swift. This will show employers that you are proactive and genuinely interested in the field.

5. Never give up

The tech industry can be tough to break into, but it is important to never give up on your dream of becoming an app developer. If you are passionate about software development and have the right skills, you will eventually find the right job for you.

Remember that no mobile app developer got to where they are today without putting in the hard work and dedication. So, if you want to succeed in this field, keep applying and networking, and eventually, you will land your dream job!

Work with Us!

Breaking into any industry can be tough, but with hard work and perseverance, you’ll become a mobile app developer.

We can help you get started.

team raising their fist

StarTechUP is a team of software app developers who are passionate about helping people achieve their dreams. We offer internships and project-based opportunities so you can get the experience you need to succeed!

If you want to learn more about how we can help you become a mobile app developer, contact us today!

About the author: Andrea Jacinto - Content Writer

A content writer with a strong SEO background, Andrea has been working with digital marketers from different fields to create optimized articles which are informative, digestible, and fun to read. Now, she's writing for StarTechUP to deliver the latest developments in tech to readers around the world. View on Linkedin