The 20th Century saw an unprecedented rise in the use of computers. That revolution has only grown stronger in the 21st Century. There are 1.3 billion personal computers in use worldwide, according to Statista.com.
About 2.7 billion of the world’s 7.7 billion population use a smartphone. There are over 1.5 billion tablet users worldwide as well. The utility of a smartphone is based on the apps on it. A personal computer functions through the different applications installed on it.
Where does this leave the app developer? The statistic above shows that this era rides on the back of app developers. This is why the demand for these professionals has grown so much over the years.
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for app developers is expected to grow by 31% by 2026. This is higher than the average for all other occupations. There are about 14 million app developers worldwide, whereas there were only 2 million as of 2006. This is according to a study by Evans Data Corporation. These statistics are justified. Consider the rate of increase in smartphone and tablet users over the years.
Who Is An App Developer?
An app developer creates and programs application software for computers. Computers in this regard refer to personal computers, tablets and smartphones. They use programming languages like Java and Oracle to create these apps. Some app developers also create apps for cars, TV, and other devices. But most app developers are mobile app developers.
They create apps for mobile devices like tablets, smartphones, and PCs. Examples of such apps are games, messaging apps, and social media apps. An app developer may create apps for a specific customer or for commercial use. Commercial apps are sold to the general public. Some app developers create complex data bases for big organizations.
App developers usually work in a team. These teams consist of IT professionals working together on computer related project. They may work with graphic artists, data analysts, programmers, and system developers. The work of the team may be to create an app or software for a particular client. It may also be for public or commercial use. Application developers are responsible for testing the app. They’re also responsible for fixing bugs before the launch of the product.
Difference Between App Developer And System Developer
People usually mix these two up. There are distinctive differences between an app developer and a software developer. A software developer creates system software. The app developer builds apps that work on the system. A software developer creates the underlying system a computer device works on. This could be operating systems for devices sold to the general public. It can also be specific systems for a company’s computers. Such programs are called operating systems. All computer devices have an operating system. The system helps the device function. It serves as the underlying software that the apps on the device work on. System software developers may also build the system’s interface. This is what allows users to interact with the computer.
An app developer specializes in building application software. They build apps to be used on an existing operating system. The app developer studies the programming language for the chosen Operating System. They also study the software development environment for the platform. Apple’s iOS and Android are the two most popular smartphone Operating Systems. Most mobile app developers either build apps for Android or iOS. Other cell phone operating systems are Symbian, RIM, and windows mobile.
6 Vital Skills An App Developer Should Have
Every profession has a set of skills anybody practicing the profession must have. There are certain skills that qualify someone as an app developer. It’s important to be proficient in these skills. A good knowledge of the qualifications below will put anyone in good stead as an app developer. This is how to become an app developer.
Cloud computing is the use of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, process, and manage data. This is used instead of a personal computer or local server. It’s a system that allows on-demand delivery of database, storage, applications. And other IT resources via the internet without direct active management by the user.
An app developer should be able to build cloud computing infrastructure. This will support the ecosystem of mobile apps stored within the cloud server. This way, users of an app can access the app and its data via browsers on various platforms. Cloud Computing facilitates cross-platform development for mobile apps. This is why an app developer should be well versed. Especially in different mobile app development platforms.
Internet of Things
The rapid growth of IoT over the years has made it a necessary skill for app developers. Internet of Things is the connection of various devices to share data over the internet. It is a system of interrelated devices that interact over the web. Their interaction can be monitored and controlled. These devices can collect and share data among themselves without human-to-computer interaction.
The opportunities IoT offers to app developers are limitless. You can make a mobile app interface with other devices connected to the internet. Internet of things facilitates e-payment for enterprise apps. It also allows offering more rewards to customers and users.
Modern Programming Languages
An app developer should understand the different modern programming languages. This is a key skill any app developer must have. Some of the programming languages are PHP, HTML5, Java and CSS. Python, C# and Objective C are a few others worth learning. It’s important to have a good grasp of these programs and how to use them. An app developer should also have experience working with these programs.
An app developer should be familiar with mobile platform APIs. The popular ones are Android, Apple iOS, and Windows Mobile. They should be able to use cross-platform mobile suites like Antenna and AMP. It’s also important to consider niche languages. An example is Apple’s Xcode development language.
This is the ability to create apps that can work across many platforms. They can also work across different software environments. Developers need to ensure their apps can function on more than one platform. An app developer needs to know and apply methods to accommodate different OS for one App. The popular platforms for a mobile app are Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS, Windows Mobile, and RIM.
It’s important that the app can function and display across different OS. This means the UI and UX must be intact. Cross-development software that can offer Agile Design Tools can be very helpful. These tools give you important options like multi-layer manager and drag-and-drop functionality.
User Interface and User Experience are twin concepts in app development. They are inseparable. It is important that an app developer understands the interrelations between them. This understanding will help you create apps with excellent usability and functionality.
User Interface refers to the graphical and physical display on the app. It is what the user sees and interacts with. UI is how an app looks. User experience refers to the user’s emotions and attitude about using the app. It is the totality of the user’s feelings, whether positive or negative, as derived from the use of the app. A good app should give users a seamless experience, but this cannot be achieved without a good UI.
Many developers do not understand the importance of this concept. They occupy themselves with the programming aspect without considering the end user. Such apps usually fail. A good UI/UX is what determines how successful your app is. It also improves the marketability of the app, especially if it’s a commercial consumer app. Poor User Interface design can lead to poor accessibility for users. This will discourage people from using or spending more time on the app.
Cyber security is the protection of internet-connected systems and data from cyber attacks. It refers to the tools used in ensuring that data is safe from theft. These attacks include password theft, eavesdropping, phishing, cross-site scripting and SQL injection. You can also have Denial (Dos) attack and man-in-the-middle attack.
An app developer needs to ensure the mobile app built is well protected. Users store sensitive data and metadata in them. They are too important to leave vulnerable to attack. They must know how to build apps whose code is bug-free. They should also ensure proper encryption and data loss prevention.
5 Certifications You may Need As An App Developer
It’s proper to have different certifications. This will put you in a good position to be hired by clients and organizations. Certifications boost client’s confidence in you. The certifications listed below are the most sought after by developers and employers.
Associate Android Developer
This certification is offered by Google. Google provides this training to help churn out competent Android Developer professionals. The certification tests skills in designing, building and debugging Android Apps. It also tests the ability to design solutions for storage and designing apps. They should integrate with interfaces outside core Android applications. The certification offers a single performance-based exam. Google also offers free courses for newbies. These courses can be accessed through Udacity. There are also for-a-fee courses you can take on the platform.
Microsoft Technology Associate Developer (MTA Developer)
This certification was created with high school and college students in mind. It is meant to help them get started with technology certification. But, it has proven to be a good starting point for anyone who is entering the IT field. It’s also a good starting point for IT professionals who want to learn App Development. Only one exam is required to earn this certification. There are other MTA certifications like Software Development Fundamentals and Cloud Fundamentals. You should also consider Mobility and Device Fundamentals.
Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer App Builder
Microsoft offers some of the best certifications to app developers and software developers. There are other requirements before taking this course. The MCSD defines such requirements. Candidates must have an MCSA in Web Applications or Universal Windows Platform certification. Apart from this you should pass in any of the exams on Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Visual Studio. You should also pass Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server.
GIAC Mobile Device Security Analyst (GMOB)
GMOB targets software professionals who specialize in mobile phone and tablet security. Candidates should understand penetration testing for mobile devices. They should know how to use and configure encryption. They should also be able to conduct mobile security analysts’ tasks. GMOB does not have any prerequisite requirements. But candidates must pass a single exam to earn the certification. The certificate is subject to renewal every four years.
Salesforce Certified Platform App Builder
Salesforce is a leading customer relationship management company. Candidates are required to pass a single exam. This covers data modeling and management, security and user interface. It also includes business logic and use cases for social features. This is for custom applications. Holders must pass maintenance module exams with each product release cycle.
How Much Does An App Developer Earn?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for app developers is $103,620. This means half of the developers in the U.S. earn more than one hundred and three thousand dollars yearly. The other half earn less than that. The highest earners who fall within the 10% bracket earn more than $160, 000. And the lowest 10% earn less than $61,000. This statistic is for the year 2018. The earnings are expected to shoot up during 2019.
App developers working at software publishing companies were the biggest earners in 2018. They earn an average of $114,320 each year. Those in the manufacturing industry earn an average of $110,290.
App developers in the finance and insurance sector earn an average of $107,960. Those in Management of companies and enterprises earn a median wage of $104,420. Developers in computer systems design and related services earn a median of $100,080. These app-developer earnings are far more than that of most other professions. The beauty of it is that it is still growing.
What Does The Future Look Like For App Developers?
The mobile app market is set to experience a 385% growth rate through 2021. China will hold the record for growth with an estimated $2.6 trillion in revenue. The United States will have the biggest show with a 310% rise accounting for $820 billion revenue. The future seems bright and app developers will have a huge share of it. This is the best time for anyone interested to enter the profession.
According to Apple, developers that have apps on the Apple Store have earned $86 billion. This earning is from the debut of the store in 2008 to date. Data from Apple shows that mobile app downloads grew by more than 70 percent in the last year alone. The Apple Store now has over two million apps available to customers. Developer apps take the lion’s share of that figure and will continue to. These earning figures are expected to grow in the coming years.
App development is a very lucrative industry. There is a high demand for App developers in the IT industry. The growing interest in computer devices is increasing the demand for developers. The e-commerce boom is also another factor that has kept app developers in high demand. Most e-commerce platforms want to make customer experience smooth and hassle-free. Hence, the need to build an app their customers will love.