A mobile app developer is a relatively new career that is offered as a work-at-home position, but it is one of the most in-demand jobs available today.
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Mobile app development wasn’t even a term several years ago, although the idea had been introduced in the summer of 1983 by the late, great Steve Jobs. During a conference speech in Aspen, Jobs was still developing the first Mac, and he predicted a new digital distribution system where software could be downloaded over phone lines. He saw the future of apps and app stores, about 25 years before launching the Apple App Store officially.
If you’re interested in a career as a mobile app developer, read this guide to get you started.
3 Characteristics of an Ideal Mobile App Developer
- Up for a challenge – The world of mobile app development involves plenty of studying. Because technology is always evolving and every platform requires knowledge of a particular language and relevant technical skills, you’re likely to be researching for solutions throughout the app development process. If you’re always up for a challenge, this career could be potentially life-changing.
- Leader personality – While there are thousands of mobile apps already developed, there are more apps that haven’t been invented yet. If you are attracted to the idea of creating something new, and would like to become an innovator in a specific niche.
- Flexible – As a mobile app developer, your job might include traveling to attend conferences, learning specific skills at a third-party company, and communicating with other professionals in the field.
Mobile App Developer Job Requirements
Like most careers in IT, a mobile app developer job requires more than just a diploma. It’s a career that entails continuous learning.
- Degree – Most employers require mobile app developers to possess at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Software Engineering, or a similar discipline. There are a few colleges that already offer Mobile App Development courses, but it is still rare. If you already have such degrees, you can study online training programs to become a Certified iOS App Developer or Certified Android App Developer.
- Certifications – If you want to have an edge over your competition, obtain certifications such as OCA (Oracle Certified Associate), OCP (Oracle Certified Professional) or CompTIA Mobile App Security+.
- Familiarity with Mobile App Development Platforms – In late 2016, TechWorld published the most popular mobile app development platforms being used in the market. Learning as many platforms as possible from that list helps in bagging your dream job.
Of course, these requirements would vary depending on what platform (iOs or Android) you plan to master, or which company you’d like to work for.
Tasks of a Mobile App Developer
Simply put, a mobile app developer turns an idea (such as creating a mobile-friendly program that could track how many 8-ounch glasses of water a person has consumed in a day) into a working app that can be installed on a smartphone. The job of a mobile app developer is to write the program, test, tweak the program, launch the app, and fix possible issues found after release.
The tasks assigned to a mobile app developer depend on:
- The employer – If you’re a work-at-home freelance developer, you’re mostly going to work on it alone, with the instructions given to you by a client. If you’re employed with a company, it is often a team-based project and your tasks could vary depending on what parts of the app development is assigned to you.
- Your skills and expertise – Of course, the task a mobile app developer performs would rely largely on the platform/OS and programming language you know.
Salary & Outlook as a Mobile App Developer
Full-time, office-based mobile app developers can earn anywhere from $90,000 to $125,000 per year. As a freelancer, mobile app developers can earn anywhere from $20 to $100 per hour, or $700 to $5,000 per project. Upwork, one of the biggest freelancing job board online, explains that “rates of platform-specific (iOs-only or Android-only) developers vary significantly”
With almost 5 billion mobile phone users around the world, the demand for mobile app continues to grow. Every company, big or small, wants its own app. Because of the rapid growth in interest, there are plenty of opportunities for mobile app developers, even those who prefer to work at home and go the freelance route.
It is expected that by 2020, the jobs available for mobile app developers would reach up to 300,000, but as of 2017, the demand for developers exceed the supply. Plus, global mobile app store gross revenue is expected to exceed $101 billion in 2020.
This job outlook means that if you have the skills and knowledge to pursue this career, it is the best time to do it now. Work-at-home mobile app development freelancers would fit perfectly in this field because you’ll be able to specialize in a particular programming language or platform, as you work your way up to handle more complex projects.