5 Things to Know Before Building a Career in Mobile App Development

Whether you’re considering a career change or you’re still figuring out whether mobile app development is for you, you’ve surely heard about how lucrative the tech and app development industries could be. In fact, IT managers and app developers can earn as much as $160,000 to $200,000 per year depending on their expertise and years of experience. Mobile apps make a multi-billion dollar industry now, and with people glued to their phones most of the day, there’s an unlimited number of ways to earn good money making mobile apps.

There are only a few industries that don’t require people with technical and software development-related skills, and right now, there isn’t a shortage of app development jobs available for newbie and expert app developers. But, what do you really need to know before building a career in mobile app development? We’ve listed down the most important things and factors to consider before becoming an app developer:

You need to have a degree

While there are many exceptional app developers that have succeeded and established their own app development careers through self-study and online courses, the reality is, enterprises would prefer people with computer science and software engineering degrees to develop their apps.

If you’re a career-shifter, you should weigh your options and ask yourself if you are financially, emotionally and physically prepared to go back to school or study online courses during your free time. If you’re confident that you have enough knowledge about coding, development methodologies, and programming languages despite not having a software-related degree, then you can join coding boot camp programs to improve your skills and get the training you need. A great portfolio could help you win projects if you’re forced to compete with degree holders.

You need to know the work involved

Developing an app requires patience and hard work. While it’s true that a lot of independent developers and startup companies have made viral apps, obtained a solid number of users and earned billions of dollars in the process, it’s also undeniable that many developers fail and their efforts go in vain. Most of them are gone even before people know that they or their apps exist.

It doesn’t matter if your goal is to build your own company or work for stable tech giants, because both will require thorough assessment of tasks that you enjoy and things that interest you.

Are you interested in mobile games? Do you love building custom apps that solve people’s problems? Do you enjoy creating something that stirs people’s emotions or pushes them to take action, whether it be for their health, their lifestyle or personal goals? App development gives you the power to be part of people’s day to day activities, so how you value the work that you do will make a lot of difference. Also, knowing what you want to achieve will help you succeed and thrive as a developer.

3. You must know how to collaborate

You can only get so far alone, especially if you’re trying to improve your programming skills. Connecting and collaborating with more experienced programmers will help you get better, faster. There are a lot of platforms like Stack Overflow and Github where you can find developers with programming questions similar to yours and developers who will go all-in when it comes to helping others solve their programming issues.

Although developers do the hard work most of the time, they also rely on people with other skill sets in terms of designing mobile apps and marketing them. Collaboration is very important because it helps strengthen the bond between people with different experiences and skills and it enables projects to be delivered smoothly. Collaborative skills are highly sought after and are necessary if you’re looking to further your career as a developer.

While nothing beats collaborating with other developers face-to-face, living in the digital world means you surely won’t run out of options when it comes to finding coding issues to solve, developers to help, or platforms to come to if you need help.

4. You should know where to find jobs

The best thing about being an app developer is that you have the freedom to work where and when you want if you don’t want a traditional 9 to 5 job. There are currently millions of gigs available on UpWork and other freelancing platforms, and developers aren’t required to work full-time jobs if they don’t want to. The key is knowing where to find short and long term gigs or high paying vs cheapskate clients.

5. You must be open to continuous learning

As an app developer, you need to stay up to date with new programming languages. As technology changes, your goal is to ensure that you’re not becoming stuck with what you already know. You have to constantly seek ways to improve your coding skills by practicing daily and challenging yourself to solve complex issues that you haven’t encountered in the past.

If you’re really determined, having a successful career in app development is achievable. If you’re able to find what truly excites and empowers you, it won’t be impossible to translate your passion into beautiful, functional apps that touch the lives of users.


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Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.
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