What Makes a Good App Developer?

Michaela Markley Picture

by Michaela Markley | Last Updated: Apr 30, 2020

Maybe you are a newcomer dreaming about being an app developer or an app developer with a couple years of experience interested in learning more about the industry. Or, perhaps you’re looking to hire app developers to build your next app but you aren’t sure how to distinguish those who can get the job done versus those who will build you an exceptional app. Whichever the case may be, it is important to understand the characteristics and skills that are key for a successful app developer. Background and Training Needed Most entry-level developer roles typically have a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field. It can be extremely beneficial to have a computer science degree if you are strictly interested in mobile app development. With a computer science degree, you learn the fundamental topics related to math, software, networks, programming, databases, operating systems, software engineering, and many more technical skills. And many computer science majors often have internships where they gain real-world experience. Although it is highly recommended to receive a formal education to become a mobile app developer, it is no longer a requirement. There are online coding bootcamp programs that teach software design, software development, platforms and environments, as well as provide a solid knowledge of programming languages. A few highly accredited bootcamps are App Academy, General Assembly, Udacity, and Springboard. One great benefit to these bootcamps is the cost associated with them compared to the traditional college route. For example, App Academy’s tuition is deferred until a graduate secures employment in software engineering. Experience Is Key Along with education, you also need experience. It is crucial to have some experience under your belt prior to getting your entry-level position. I was speaking to our VP of Engineering and he mentioned how important experience is and how crucial it is that engineers have projects they can share that demonstrate their work. Whether you are earning a bachelor's degree or going through a bootcamp program, make sure you look for internships that provide you experience prior to searching for a full-time role. These internships will allow you to gain first-hand exposure in the app development world while also allowing you to harness the skills and knowledge you’ve gained during your education. Understand the Difference Between Development and Mobile Development Lastly, as a developer who is intentional on being specific to mobile app development, it is critical to understand the difference of development and mobile development. Within mobile development, you need to be aware of memory on mobile devices, compute cycles, storage, and bandwidth. It is also important to understand what type of mobile development you actually want to do. Are you going to focus on native mobile apps and be an expert on iOS or Android? Are you going to focus on web apps or Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)? It’s possible to learn multiple app development types but it’s important to focus on a niche at the beginning. Starting your journey as an app developer can begin a few different ways but the important part is taking the first step. Don’t let the fear of all the knowledge you have to gain keep you from pursuing your dream to become a great app developer! I’ve heard many crazy stories about individuals teaching themselves how to code and ending up selling their app to venture capital! There are no obstacles too large to go after your dream as an app developer!

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