Mobile Apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, TrueCaller, Swiggy, etc. are nothing but software programs that run on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. These apps are developed by software engineers or programmers who design, develop and test the mobile applications on different mobile operating systems and devices.
According to the 2017 statistics, India has over 281 million people using the mobile internet every day. Recently, it has also been ranked as the world's fastest market for maximum mobile app downloads on popular mobile operating systems - Apple iOS and Google Android Play Store, with Netflix and Tinder emerging as the top two favourite mobile apps. There is endless data to support that in the technology market, app development is the current favourite.
But building a career as an app developer requires planning. For starters, knowledge of programming languages like Objective C, C++, C# or Java is a must. And unless you are an iPhone loyalist, in which case you will only need Objective C, knowledge of other programming languages like Java is required for creating Android Apps and also to develop your own mobile apps. Knowledge of HTML5 is needed for developing cross-platform mobile apps.
As an app developer, you will spend your day developing, testing and improving apps. Besides the prerequisite qualification, the job will require you to have a basic understanding of UI and application design. A bachelor's degree in Software Engineering, Mobile Application Development, Mobile Computing or Computer Science is the minimum most employers look for when hiring mobile apps developers. Interestingly, although most apps are built for the Apple (iOS) and Android platform, neither Apple nor Google offer any courses on app development.
Colleges in the US are the best for pursuing a course in app development. The computer science undergraduate programs at US universities focus on education as well as experience in application development. Students learn the essential components for application development including programming, data visualization and human-computer interaction design. Students are also encouraged to participate in mobile application challenges (U-M Mobile App challenge in University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) and organize themselves in clubs (GIT MAD in Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta) where they develop innovative mobile apps.
The UK is a good place to pursue short-term introductory app development courses which focus on comprehensive, step-by-step process for designing and deploying mobile applications. The UK has excellent postgraduate programs (M Sc.) programs in mobile application. Most institutes in India also offer short-term certificate courses in app development. Only the Bharati Vidyapeeth University offers a three years full-time course in Bachelors of Science in Mobile Application Development, admission to which is through an entrance exam for the limited 90 seats.
Duration: 3 Months - 3 Years
Fee per course/annum: ₹ 75,000 - ₹ 2,00,000
The smartphone app trend reached India six months late which is why although globally the app usage has grown by a mere 11%, India is still an expanding mobile app market. Quick adoption and integration of advanced technologies have resulted in massive growth in this space with music, media, entertainment, business and finance, and utilities as the top apps currently being most downloaded and used. Another reason for the comparative large-scale growth of local app developers is the low cost of app development in India. It has been derived that the average price for Android development in India is $26 per hour as against $168 per hour in North America.
Augmented reality and virtual reality-based apps particularly in the gaming world are quite popular. Furniture stores, retail and real estate industries are also now exploring growth options through AR based mobile apps. Apps based on Internet of Things (IoT) is also gaining prominence.
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While the primary job of app developers is to create apps in accordance with the client’s expectations of quality and functionality, they are also responsible for consulting and designing the app’s interface, devising fixes on the app and providing support in the cross-platform alignment of apps.
It has been estimated that by 2020, approximately 300,000 new mobile app development roles will be created which will involve work on iOS and Android apps.
Following are some of the profiles an app developer can work as:
In the US, the average salary for an application developer is $5,500 a month with New York, Houston, Atlanta, and Washington, DC as the highest paying cities. In India, the average salary for an app developer is around Rs. 42,000 per month. These figures do not, however, include bonuses and other perks. Employees with knowledge and experience in Spring, Java/J2EE, Hibernate, and PL/SQL command a greater average pay with more opportunities for growth in position and pay.
Along with the core technical skills, app developers should learn how to create a marketable product and optimize its visibility amongst its competitors. The job involves a high level of interaction with the internal team as well as with clients, hence, ability to collaborate well with others, adaptability, strong communication and interpersonal skills will help succeed in this career. Here are a few advantages and disadvantages of being an app developer:
Best known for his app - ‘Summly’, an automatic summarization algorithm, Nick was all of 15 (the youngest person ever) when he received his venture capital in technology. Summly was later sold to Yahoo for around $30 million which made him one of the youngest self-made millionaires. Nick has won several awards including the Wall Street Journal’s ‘Innovator of the year’ and TIME Magazine's 'Time 100' as one of the world's most influential teenagers.
The co-founder of Kiip, a mobile app rewards platform, Brian has raised more than $15 million in venture capital for his company which is now in strategic partnership with world famous brands including Amazon.com, Disney and Pepsi. He has spoken on platforms including TEDx and SXSW and has been featured in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur and The New York Times.
The inventor of ‘Bubble Ball,’ a 72 level physics puzzle game app that got downloaded 2 million times from Apple iTunes, Robert now develops games under his own brand name – Nay Games. The game had created history by surpassing the hugely popular 'Angry Birds' out of its number one most downloaded free game spot in the Apple app store.
2000 Apple launches Apple Store/ Android launches Android Market.
2009 Android Market get 200,000 applications listed and 4.5 billion applications installed.
2011 App Store get 9.9 billion downloads.
2012 Android Market gets new branding – Google play.
2013 Google play features more than 1 million apps and passes 50 billion app downloads.
2014 App Store reaches 75 billion app downloads.
2017 268 billion app downloads.