How to Get Started as
a Mobile App Developer

Refine Your Skills and Remain Relevant

This increase in mobile phone users is welcome news to brands and companies engaged in selling goods, services, games, and technology. This is why mobile app developers will never run out of projects.

If you are interested in building a mobile app, you can start a lucrative career working as a mobile app developer. You can also become an applications architect. Mobile app developers and architects have opportunities to work at huge tech companies as independent contractors or even entrepreneurs.

In this guide, we provide comprehensive information on the education paths you can pursue, along with the employment and salary outlook. If you’re ready to jumpstart your mobile app development career, read on.

What Is a Mobile App Developer?

A mobile application developer is a skilled individual who writes software for different mobile devices. They are usually tasked with creating applications from the ground up within a limited time. Mobile app developers nurture their skills according to the operating system they are working on.

There are two critical operating systems currently being used: Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android OS. Though there are other operating systems out there, iOS and Android are by far the most in-demand.

Most developers learn one OS before moving to another as they also progress in their careers. However, if you are knowledgeable in both OS systems, you will have a competitive advantage in the app development market.

How Does Mobile App Development Relate to Data Science?

Mobile applications are beginning to add new features powered by data science. They use natural language and machine learning processes. Data scientists bring a new suite of languages, libraries, and tools to the app development process. Data scientists can aid a mobile app development team.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Mobile App Developer?

It will take around four years to become a mobile app developer. A bachelor’s degree is the industry standard for minimum education requirements, and most computer science degree programs last around four years.

However, other education pathways to becoming a mobile app developer differ in length. If you choose the alternative option of enrolling in coding bootcamps or online education platforms, you can learn the necessary skills in a few months. After this, you can earn the necessary qualifications after a few weeks or months of intensive hands-on training.

Where to Study Mobile App Development

Where you study will depend on what your goals are. There are different education pathways for individuals wanting to be mobile app developers. The traditional route is earning a four-year degree in information technology or computer science. After that, you can even further your studies and earn a master’s degree.

However, even if you don’t have a degree in computer science or information technology, you can pursue an alternative education setup. Coding boot camps and online courses offer an alternative learning platform. Though you won’t receive a degree with these options, you will still learn the necessary knowledge and skills.

Mobile App Developer Community Colleges

You can get associate degrees and mobile app development certificates from community colleges in your area. An associate degree takes two years to complete, while a certificate usually takes up to one year to complete.

Mobile App Developer Universities

You can work as a mobile app developer if you earn a four-year Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology or Computer Science. Most companies hire degree holders for entry-level jobs and offer opportunities to advance into senior developer positions.

Pursuing a master’s degree can create opportunities for higher-paying senior positions. You can also choose to specialize in a topic and hone your development skills. Most master’s programs take two years to complete.

Mobile App Developer Coding Bootcamps

If you don’t have the time and resources for a university, you can still jumpstart your career by enrolling in a coding bootcamp. You will be under a guided learning program where you learn the essential aspects of mobile app development.

Because these sessions only last for a couple of weeks or months, you can expect them to be extensive and rigid. This means you’ll be given exams, tests, and projects to gauge how much you’ve learned. Some bootcamps offer career connections to big companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Mobile App Developer Online Courses

Aside from coding bootcamps, you can also opt to enroll in online courses from platforms like Udemy, Coursera, edX, and LinkedIn Learning. These platforms offer many courses on app development, some of which are free. The course content and level may vary, so it’s best to visit these sites and look at the course syllabi for more information.

How to Become a Mobile App Developer A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Become a Mobile App Developer: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you’re serious about starting a mobile app developer career, you can check out this straightforward step-by-step guide.

Commit to an education pathway

The first thing you’ll need to do is choose whether you want to enroll in the university, a bootcamp, or an online learning platform. This step will also depend on where you already are in your career.

Earn relevant experience

Applying for internships or studying specific online courses are two ways to gain experience. The more industry knowledge you acquire, the higher your chances are of getting hired.

Build an impressive portfolio

If you wish to land a high-paying job, you need to impress your prospective clients or employer with your background. This is done by showcasing well-rated and successful projects in your portfolio.

Earn certifications

While this is an optional step, certification confirms your skill level to current and future employers. Most certifications require a certain amount of experience before you can qualify.


No matter how many years you’ve been in the field, you can always find opportunities to learn more. Technology changes quickly, and what’s in today might no longer be the trend tomorrow. Grab every opportunity where you can learn new things related to your niche.

Entry-Level Mobile App Developer Job Requirements

To become a mobile app developer, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree. If you have the right amount of industry experience, you can get a job with a lesser qualification. However, the more education you have, the better. Before applying for entry-level jobs, make sure you create a portfolio and prepare for your interview.

Mobile App Developer Salary and Job Outlook

According to PayScale, the average salary for mobile app developers is $73,051. This number can change depending on your experience level. As well, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that software developer job opportunities will increase by 22 percent. This is much faster than the average for all occupations.

Example Mobile App Developer Job Interview Questions

Aside from the tips mentioned above, you can also ace your interview by taking time to practice these common mobile app developer interview questions.

  • Tell us some of the notable mobile apps that you’ve developed in the past. Discuss their features, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • Share with us the most memorable project that you’ve worked on. What were the challenges you faced, and how did you handle them?
  • How do you usually cope with an angry or difficult client?
  • Discuss the development platforms you can recommend for our company’s mobile app.

What Does a Mobile App Developer Do?

Mobile app developers are usually tasked to develop, build, and update mobile applications on iOS or Android. Listed below are some of their most common responsibilities.

Creates App Mockups

Most of the time, mobile app developers work with user experience (UX) designers. They ensure that the design they’re working on aligns with the user’s needs. For this task, they create app mockups to gather feedback for improvement.

Works on Various Platforms

Mobile app developers need to have high-level knowledge of the different tablet and smartphone platforms. They should also be exceptionally adept in using computers running on operating systems like Mac and Windows. As a result, development companies usually hire cross-platform developers well-versed in both Android and iOS apps.

Creates and Develops Mobile Apps

A skilled mobile developer needs to be adept in IT programming. They should learn Python, Swift, Kotlin, Wireless Networks, Objective-C, PHP, MySQL, HTML, Java, and C++. They work with computer engineers and analysts in applying and adapting different software development languages for building and developing mobile applications.

Essential Mobile App Developer Skills and Certifications

Essential Mobile App Developer Skills and Certifications

To perform those tasks, a mobile app developer needs to possess certain skills. These professionals may also want to prove these skills by exploring certifications. We have listed some skills and certifications below.

Mobile App Developer Skills


Swift is known as the primary iOS programming language. Though this programming language is easy to comprehend, you need to understand the frequent updates.

Furthermore, if you want to advance your career and compensation opportunities, you need to have a profound grasp of Swift and its different core concepts.


UIKit is the primary framework that allows iOS developers to design their user interfaces. With UIKit, you can implement haptic touch controls, default components, animations, and gestures into different mobile applications.


Xcode is an Apple-developed application that makes writing Apple device applications easier. If you’re an iOS developer, you need to navigate through Xcode and comprehend the tool’s different features. This can streamline the app development process.

Mobile App Developer Certifications

Certifications prove your skills and look impressive on your resume. Below are the top three mobile app developer certifications you might want to consider.

Mobile Development Institute Certified Developer (MDICD)

This certification encourages seasoned mobile app developers to become nationally certified through a practical demonstration of their skills. This proves that the holder has extensive hands-on experience as a mobile app developer.

IBM Certified Mobile Application Developer

This certification is an intermediate-level one. It’s intended for developers who want to gain hands-on experience and subsequent certification in Mobile Foundation V8.0 as a mobile app development tool.

Google Associate Android Developer

This type of mobile app developer certification program is for entry-level Android developers. You need to pass both the exit interview and coding exam sections to be granted a certificate. This is a good certification to start your mobile app development career.

Reasons to Become a Mobile App Developer in 2021

As mentioned above, the mobile app development industry is flourishing. Besides that, the median salary is higher than average. These are more than enough reasons for you to consider this career. If you think you can build the next great app, you should become a mobile app developer.

Mobile App Developer FAQ

Are certifications mandatory to become a mobile app developer?

No, certifications are not mandatory. You can choose to get certified or not. However, if you want to upskill and improve your chances of getting promoted and receiving higher pay, consider these certifications a good investment.

How much money do you need if you want to make an app?

The amount of money depends on where you work. If you are creating an app with a company, you won’t have to spend a penny. However, if you are creating an app on your own, you might have to account for your time and any extra help you may need.

What is the best app development language to use?

According to experts, Java is the best and most preferred language for developing Android apps. You can also learn Kotlin for Android apps. For iOS, you can learn Swift.

Is a mobile app developer a promising career?

Yes, app development is a promising career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software development job opportunities will grow by 22 percent by 2029. This means there will be many more jobs for you in the future. Mobile app developers also have high salaries.

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