Learn mobile development with online courses and programs
What is mobile application development?
Mobile applications enable us to perform a nearly endless array of tasks. They allow us to send and receive messages, provide us with entertaining games, and help us keep track of appointments. App developers are responsible for creating and maintaining these programs.
Applications are developed for a variety of purposes. Shazam was created to help people identify songs being played in real-time. The Yelp! app allows users to read reviews and helps them find restaurants while on the go. MyFitnessPal helps individuals track their exercise and food intake to better reach their fitness goals.
Regardless of the specific app or device, mobile application developers should be able to think creatively, understand the app’s logic, and troubleshoot potential user errors before they occur. In fact, the best mobile applications run so smoothly that their functionality is taken for granted. Additionally, knowledge of user experience (UX) and the user interface (UI) gives developers a big-picture perspective and enhances their technical skill set.
Designing a beautiful, easy to use app is one thing, but being able to code it for use across all device types can make your skills more appealing to employers. While not all mobile application development jobs require coding knowledge, many roles use programming languages in their everyday work. Mobile app developers use basic fundamentals similar to that of traditional web application development. However, they must also consider the unique features and functionality of Android and iOS operating systems. Learning how languages like C#, HTML/CSS, Java, and Swift are used in mobile app development can help you stand out from other candidates when applying for positions in the field.Footnote 1
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Mobile app development course curriculum
edX offers a variety of mobile development courses catering to both creative and technical pursuits. Introductory courses may cover how to develop for specific operating systems, how to think like a user, or how to use technical tools in your app design. Additional programs may focus on the intersection of computer science and mobile application development.
As an app developer, you can create software to be preinstalled on a device, downloaded from a mobile app store, or accessed through a mobile web browser. In order to do so, you’ll need to know how to write code in programming languages like C#, HTML5, Java, and Swift. Front-end developer courses and boot camps that teach coding for beginners can be a solid starting point for anyone interested in mobile app development.
Learners may also continue on to earn an online bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree, which can dive deeper into advanced operating systems, software modeling, virtualization, security, and machine learning algorithms.
Mobile app developer jobs
As mobile app technology continues to evolve, companies will need to hire mobile app developers. When considering a career in mobile app development, keep in mind that there are many different ways to enter the field. Additionally, consider the differences between becoming an iOS mobile app developer or an Android mobile app developer.
While it’s possible for one person to build an app from start to finish, the process can also be delegated across multiple roles. Some of the more common positions involved in mobile app development include:Footnote 2
UX designers, who are responsible for conducting user research and developing an app experience that matches their needs.
Mobile app developers, who are responsible for translating the UX designer’s vision into a coded, usable prototype. This eventually becomes the final product, which is typically maintained by a developer.
Back-end developers, who are responsible for building the logic and connecting the necessary databases for an app to function properly. They do this primarily by writing code.
Quality assurance (QA) engineers, who are responsible for testing and reporting any issues found within the app prior to a formal launch. Depending on an issue’s source or impact, QA engineers may communicate with a variety of project stakeholders.
Project managers, who are responsible for guiding the application development process throughout its lifecycle. They help to set reasonable deadlines and expectations while communicating the project’s progress to all stakeholders.
Mobile app developers may also pursue freelance opportunities or work on a project-by-project basis as independent contractors. These jobs can be rewarding through a desirable work-life balance.
How to become a mobile app developer online
Keep in mind that some developers may have obtained a degree in a field such as computer science, but others may have been self-taught or completed a boot camp. Aspiring mobile app developers can begin their journey by taking the following steps:
Choose a learning path. Whether you take a few self-paced front-end developer courses, join a coding boot camp, earn your degree online, or opt for a traditional college experience, choose the type of education that suits you best.
Refine your technical skills. If you’re interested in iOS development, you’ll need to learn the Swift programming language, gain an understanding of the UIkit framework, and know how to navigate the features in Xcode. If you’re interested in Android development, you’ll need to build user interfaces using Java and XML, learn how to store data, and develop an understanding of Google’s Material Design framework.
Cultivate your soft skills. Seek out projects that can help you strengthen your problem-solving skills, attention to detail, teamwork abilities, and empathy for the mobile app user experience. These skills will all serve you well as a mobile app developer.