How To Become An App Developer

Last Updated on August 30, 2023

Contrary to popular belief, learning how to become an App developer is not a mystery. It’s not magic. It doesn’t take a secret Silicon Valley bloodline or years of schooling and thousands of dollars in tuition to start creating great Apps for the iPhone and iPad.

Do you want to learn how to become an app developer? With this guide, you’ll learn step-by-step how you can make your own app. It doesn’t matter if you have never made an app before and even if you have no experience in coding.

Have you always wanted to build an app? Interested in learning how to become an app developer if your a complete beginner? If so, then this free ebook is for you. Learn what tools, software and most importantly the resources to succeed. You will also learn where to get the best training for becoming a highly paid app developer.

The Internet is full of resources and tutorials, but not all of them are good. We’ll show you how to become an app developer at a professional level. Learn how to get your first clients, set up teams and work with other people, effectively manage both personnel and organizations, and much more… the material builds on practical knowledge in the form of well-structured lectures, case study examples and assignments.

This article gives you an overview of the app developer salary and how to become an app developer with no experience. Also, it tells you the recommended app development tools and languages that every app developer should know. How to Become App Developer With no Experience You want to start your career as an entry-level app developer without a degree? This can take years of experience and formal training in computer programming or software engineering. And then, there are those who have an interest in and passion for apps, but have not acquired the ability to be a programmer. What alternatives do these people have? The truth is there is plenty of opportunity out there for individuals interested in learning about app development and gaining real experience in the field. There is no need to wait until formal schooling

How To Become An App Developer – The developers create an application that can be used as a beta version which will work in much the same way as the real application, just without all the features. This helps the user to test various features of the app to ensure it is easy to use and easy to understand.  This beta version can then be refined before being launched onto a global scale. A big part of how to become an app developer is learning how to design and how to program code. The good news here is that there are plenty of apps available today which will help them learn both of these skills in a professional manner. If you want to become an app developer, you should start by learning HTML5 and CSS3 which is ideal for creating cross-platform applications.

What is a Mobile App Developer?

Mobile app developers create functional and aesthetically pleasing apps for people to use which meet the needs of a target customer.Mobile app developers create apps on iOS or Android devices and maintain these apps over time. For example, an app developer may be tasked with creating an app which allows customers to track deliveries on their phone; they may have to build a feature on a social network.

How To Become An App Developer

In this article, you will find a five-step-guide to becoming a successful mobile app developer. So let’s begin.

Choose One of the Major Platforms

The very first step towards learning to develop a mobile application is to choose a major platform. You will find plenty, such as Android, iOS, Windows, Symbian, and Blackberry RIM. However, it’s clear that Android and iOS are dominating the mobile industry. Windows 10 apps may still be relevant, but it’s still not the most profitable platform. Thus, it would be a wise choice to start your journey by opting either for iOS apps or Android apps.

One is entirely different from the other. You need to consider which one you want to specialize in. Of course, you can attempt to master everything, but that’s not recommended. It’s better to cover only one, and then gradually expand your horizon to include other app developing platform as well.

Learn Essential Background Skills

To be a mobile app developer, one must possess the required software development skills and knowledge.

But before you dive into the world of programming, it’s important that you answer one simple question –

Where exactly are you starting from?

There could be three scenarios to it.

  • You are a web developer who is looking to learn mobile app development. In that case, you will find many useful platforms that will help you transit to mobile app development such as Appcelerator Titanium.
  • You may not have done any coding before, but you have a basic idea of how object-oriented programming works. In that case, it would be easy for you to understand and learn how developing a mobile app works.

III. You are an absolute beginner. In that case, it’s best to take up a short introductory course on computer science. You can easily find such courses online on sites like Coursera, edX, etc., and that too for free.

Mastering the Coding Skills

Once you have chosen your platform, the next one you need to do it learn its core concepts.

For iOS,

You will need to learn Swift or Objective-C. But how do you choose? That depends solely on the reason why you are learning mobile app development.

If you are learning to develop apps to create your own products, then Swift would be a wise choice. Swift was introduced in 2014 and since then, it has received mostly positive feedback.

However, if you are planning to become an iOS developer for a mobile app development company, the best choice might learn Objective-C first. Primarily because tons of documentation is meant for Objective-C, and there are still thousands of iOS apps out there built with Objective-C. You may need it to maintain or fix the code.

Apple offers the iOS Developer Library, which is very well-documented. You will find many tutorials and videos to help you learn to code. It helps you break down the complexity of the iOS development program into small basic parts for easy understanding. In fact, there are many great blogs on iOS development.

For Android,

To develop apps on the Android platform, you need to know Java or Kotlin. For those who have no clue how it works, you will need an introductory course to the programming language Java. The best place to begin is Google’s Android Developer Library. Again, these are extremely well-documented and have a comprehensive set of training materials.

Before you decide to choose Android, you should be aware of the fact that there are many different types of Android devices on the market. It can cause a bit of complication in the beginning. But once you get past it, you will have the potential to reach a wider market.

Furthermore, you can also subscribe to Android Weekly Newsletter to stay updated on the latest software.

Using Mobile App Development Software

One more alternative to developing an app for your own product is by making use of mobile development software. You don’t even require coding, and it usually has thousands of templates to get you started.

Practice Your Skills

Knowing how to write code is simply the beginning of building an app. The best result comes from writing and practicing clean code and documentation. This is how you can organize your practice session:

I. Develop an App Idea

Start by developing an app idea. Find out the problems that people are facing in daily life. List them out, and shortlist the one that makes the most sense. And once you have decided, start mapping out your app.

II. Lay Out the Details of the App

Another important thing while developing a protocol is to make sure that your app is easy to understand. Users should be able to figure the navigation without any reference to other pages. Besides, you need to figure out the features of the app as well. It’s crucial that you build an excellent user interface if you want your users to stick around.

app developer salary

iOS developers can expect to earn, on average, over $113,000, with some jobs offering salaries of up to $171,500 per year. Android developers, on the other hand, expect to earn over $111,000, and more experienced developers can earn up to $162,000 per year

The salary you can expect to earn also depends on the company you work for and your location. For example, Android developers in San Francisco earn an average of over $130,000 per year, while the same developer in Atlanta can expect to earn around the national average.

The amount you earn will also depend on your seniority. The average salary for senior iOS developers is over $133,000 per year; the average salary for senior Android developers is over $126,000 per year. Remember, these salaries do not include stock options or other employee benefits, so you should keep that in mind when searching for a job.Some mobile app developers do not work in an office and instead pursue freelancing opportunities. These jobs can pay hundreds of dollars an hour and allow someone to earn a good living as an independent contractor.

Essential Technical Skills for iOS Developers

The following technical skills are necessary to become a successful iOS developer. These skills include programming languages, development tools, and other programming concepts.

  1. Swift.Swift is the main programming language used for iOS development. This is a very modern programming language which is easy to get started with and receives frequent updates. A successful iOS developer should have a good understanding of Swift and its core concepts.
  2. UIKit.UIKIt is a framework that helps iOS developers design their user interfaces. UIKit includes features to implement gestures, animations, default components, and haptic touch control into applications.
  3. Xcode.Xcode is an application developed by Apple that makes it easy to write applications for any Apple device. As an iOS developer, you should be able to navigate your way through Xcode and understand how to use various features in the tool.

Essential Technical Skills for Android Developers

The following are a few skills Android developers should have to be successful.

  • Building User Interfaces.You should be able to convert a design into a functional Android application using Java and XML. To do this, you’ll need to know how to use all conventional view containers and know all the standard views and other components which may come up in an Android app.
  • Data Storage and Notifications.You should know how to store, update, and delete information on an Android device. Even if you rely on outside APIs for an app, you’ll still need to store information locally, on the user’s device. Further, you should be able to implement push notifications to reach users.
  • Material Design Guidelines.Many Android apps use the Material Design framework, created by Google in 2014. You should know about how Material Design works in the context of designing and developing new apps. You should also be familiar with how to implement basic Material Design guidelines into an application.

Essential Soft Skills for Mobile App Developers

To be a successful mobile app developer, you’ll need to have a set of “soft” skills. The soft skills you should have include:

  • Problem Solving.All coding jobs require some element of problem solving and analytical thinking. You should be able to think through a problem effectively and figure out a way to solve that problem using code. You should also be able to fix problems in existing code, or make changes to an application to meet new specifications.
  • Attention to Detail.Details matter in coding — each detail will affect the output of a program. One typo could cause an application to crash or not function as intended. You should spend time considering every detail when you are coding.
  • Teamwork.As a mobile app developer, you’ll most likely have to work on a team. You should be able to respond well in collaborative environments, and work well with others to accomplish a certain task. You may also have to provide support to the rest of your team, which you can only do if you can work well with others.

how to become an app developer with no experience

10 Steps To Become An iOS Developer With No Experience:

  1. Buy a mac and an iPhone
  2. Install Xcode and write your first app
  3. Learn Swift and fundamentals of programming
  4. Build a full stack application
  5. Build a clone of your favorite application
  6. Create a portfolio and resume
  7. Apply for internships and junior level positions
  8. Get involved with the iOS community
  9. Study for interviews
  10. Continue learning and building your own apps

1. Buy A Mac And An iPhone

A mac is a great investment for an iOS developer. Sure you could get by on a Windows machine, but if you’re serious about becoming an iOS developer, it’s time to invest in a mac.

Although I recommend a MacBook Pro, don’t think you have to get the latest and greatest. You could buy a refurbished MacBook from Apple’s website.

If you already own a Mac computer, I wouldn’t upgrade it. Most Macs can be used to code just fine, even one from 5+ years ago!

Yes, this includes MacBook Airs and Mac Minis. If you own one, I would try to use it first and only upgrade if needed.

Next you’ll need an iPhone. You may already own an iPhone, so for many of you this won’t be an additional cost.

If you don’t own an iPhone, I would recommend picking one up if possible.

You can develop on something called simulators which are basically software emulators that run on your computer. If you’re stretched for cash, I would delay the purchase of an iPhone.

To be honest, I spend most of my time developing on simulators, simply because it is faster and I can test on multiple virtual devices. I test on a physical device near the end of my development.

Again you don’t need the newest iPhone, considering refurbished from Apple or buying one used off a website like eBay.

Now that you have all the hardware you need, let’s move onto the software.

2. Install Xcode And Write Your First App

Xcode is where you’ll be spending most of your time as an iOS developer. It’s made by Apple and it’s free from the App Store.

Go ahead and install it now, as it will take anywhere between 20 to 60 minutes.

Here’s a piece of advice that most beginners need to hear…

Start coding. Like now.

Not “reading” about coding or “learning” by passively watching videos… actually coding.

Typing code into Xcode. You can get your first app running in Xcode in less than 15 minutes.

Once you have Xcode installed, you should spend most of your time coding.

3. Learn Swift And Fundamentals Of Programming

The programming language you’ll be learning is Swift. Swift is maintained by Apple – which means it receives regular updates and is super modern.

What does that mean for the beginner? Although it may seem tough, Swift is definitely one of the easier languages for beginners.

I personally love the language and prefer it over many others such as Java, Objective-C and Javascript.

There are many fundamentals you’ll have to learn such as:

  • Constants & Variables
  • Data Types
  • If Statements
  • Loops
  • Functions
  • Classes & Structs
  • Initializers
  • Inheritance & Protocols
  • Optionals
  • Arrays
  • Dictionaries

Mastering the above topics will give you a good handle on the Swift programming language.

4. Build A Full Stack Application

A full stack application is one that connects to some sort of back end server. What’s a backend? Simplified, it’s a basically somewhere you can save, update and manage data.

A full stack iOS application talks to another server, this could be a weather channel that gives you real time data or maybe a stocks server that tells you the price of the stocks.

Why is this important? Because these applications are online and connected.

Think about it, most of your favorite apps talk to some kind of backend server. This is what enables communication in chat apps, photo sharing in Instagram and accommodation booking in AirBnB.

Offline applications such as calculators or tic-tac-toe are great for beginners, but in order to be a true iOS developer, you’ll have to make a full-stack app.

Here are some good beginner full-stack app ideas:

Food Truck App

Most major cities offer their food truck data for free online. Get the data from your local cities website or API (application programming interface) and try to map out the food trucks.

Take it a step further by adding opening and closing times.

A Todo List Application

This is a classic. Create a to-do list application that will stay in sync when you close the app or access your to-do list from another device.

Stocks App

Get the latest data from Yahoo Finance and try to display it in your application. Add notifications when a stock reaches above or below a certain price.

Weather App

Get the users location via their device and display local weather live. You could extend this by sending notifications when it will be raining or snowing.

5. Build A Clone Of Your Favorite Application

Next it’s time to build a bigger project. I’m talking one that could take a month or two.

This type of experience cannot be replace by reading or watching videos.

Pick your favorite app from the App Store. Instagram or YouTube are good choices.

Now it’s time to reverse engineer these apps and try to build it yourself.

Break down the app into pieces and set your own deadlines. This will teach you a lot about software planning and design.

Here are the some questions you’ll want to ask yourself while working on this:

  • What screens will I create?
  • What data will I need to save?
  • What backend solution will I use?
  • How long will each part take?

You don’t have to clone every single feature of the app, that could take a while…

Just get the main ones done. You’ll struggle here, but you’ll come out as a much more confident developer.

This will also become a great project for your resume.

6. Create A Portfolio And Resume

Now it’s time to create a portfolio and resume.

Your LinkedIn profile should also be up to date. You can now set your LinkedIn profile to let recruiters know you’re looking for a job.

Upload your code to GitHub and register your domain. I usually use Namecheap.

Now it’s time to build your website portfolio.

You should include images and videos of the apps you’ve created as well as links to their source code.

I recommend either using Carrd or SquareSpace.

You might think, I’m a developer! I should build my website from scratch!

Well… do you want spend time learning web development? Or are you trying to make a beautiful portfolio?

Remember your business goal here, which is getting hired as an iOS developer.

This skill of looking at the big picture will serve you well as a developer. Always keep the goal in mind and never code for the sake of coding.

Carrd is $9 a year, what’s your time worth?

7. Apply for internships and junior level positions

Next it’s time to apply to internships and junior level positions.

Here’s where preserving will play a key role. For every 100 applications, you may only get one or two responses.

Keep applying. Online and also locally. It’s a numbers game.

Here are some websites where you can apply for an iOS job:

Don’t get discouraged you’re almost there 🙂

What To Look For In A First Job

The qualities you look for in your first job are quite different from every subsequent job.

This is because… well you’re new. You’ll want to land a job that has the mentorship and more senior developers that can teach you.

The more senior iOS developers that are willing to mentor and teach you, the better.

You essentially want to optimize for learning in your first job.

Salary, culture, work-life balance… these all matter, but for your first job, you’ll probably be working a little harder and earning a little less.

8. Get involved with the iOS community

Most jobs are never posted. They’re filled by a friend or a friend of a friend.

This is how the world works, it isn’t unfair, it’s just human nature.

People want to hire people they know or trust. That’s why it’s important to get connecting.

Cold emails and cold DMs (direct messages) are simply the way to go. They have a much better return on investment than in-person meetups or events.

They’re basically free and just cost you time.

A good way to get a response is to propose a fix to a bug in their app.

Recreate their app, show the bug and the fix. Record a video of this and send it in an email or direct message.

There’s no guarantees, but by providing value upfront, you’ll have a high chance of getting your foot in the door.

Here are some places where iOS developers hang out:

9. Study for interviews

Now that you’ve got some interviews in the pipeline, it’s time to start studying for those interviews.

Interviews are different than actual development.

This is because development takes time, but interviewers only have about 45 minutes to an hour to make a decision.

Look up all relevant iOS developer questions and practice coding those solutions up.

Don’t be afraid to ask the recruiter what the interview process will be like. Any information here can help you better prepare.

Yes you will bomb some interviews, I’ve bombed a ton. Everybody does. It’s not a big deal.

With each interview you’ll get better and eventually you’ll land that job.

Here are some great resources for iOS interview prepping:

Be sure to study up on the company. Understand how their business model works. And come prepared with good questions to ask.

10. Continue learning and building your own apps

Here’s the reality of working in tech. The industry changes.

It changes a lot and it changes fast.

As a software developer you never really stop learning. New technologies and libraries are always coming.

You’ll have to keep your app up to date with Apple’s changes.

So continue learning, keep up with the latest iOS trends and continuing coding.

Publish more apps. Connect with more developers.

how to become an app developer without a degree

A mobile app developer is a person who can design, build and then maintain mobile applications on one of the two main platforms. There are a few other platforms out there, but the two main platforms are Android and iOS. The big question today is if you have to obtain a college degree in order to be an app developer. The easy answer is no, you do not have to go to college and get a degree in computer programming or a related field to be develop apps. Really, all you need is the knowledge base and that can be mostly, if not totally, self-taught.

Background Skills and Training Needed for App Development

While you do not have to go out and get a college degree, you do need to have software development skills. You can of course get this knowledge by earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in information systems or computer science, but you can also gain this knowledge by taking an online coding boot camp program. In essence, you’ll need a solid background and basic skills including:

  •                Software design
  •                Software development processes and lifecycles (this includes design-develop-test-release-maintain cycle)
  •                Some understanding of development methodology, platforms and environments
  •                A solid knowledge of programming languages (at last two and preferable in-demand languages such as Java, C#, C++, SQL, PHP iOS, or Python)

These knowledge bases and skills can be learned online, basically self-taught.

Getting Started in Mobile App Development

Learning a platform takes effort, dedication and time on your part. Most solution providers some limited-use or evaluation versions of their platforms available at little or no cost. This gives an opportunity to aspiring app developers to learn them. There are also a lot of low-cost, or no-cost self-study modules to assist novice developers learn. Check out jQuery for example.

Learning the Trade

There’s no better way to learn than by doing. Best case scenario, you find a master and work with or under them to learn the trade. This gives you guidance and some hands-on experience. Short, intense learning programs can have you developing apps in as little as 8 to 12 weeks. It will take dedication, but those who are motivated will be able to complete boot camp themselves. Many find the structure of the classes and the access to knowledgeable practitioners very much worth the cost.

Learning a platform helps you understand how it works and gives you the opportunity to explore development resources. This is more than just the help files or training materials. Developer forums and online communities often develop around the various languages and tools. Look around for open source and other freely available resources to help you learn the trade. Having access to these types of materials, and access to knowledgeable, experienced developers helps shorten your own learning curve. It also provides many opportunities to learn by doing and example.

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