App development is an ever-changing field with constant challenges and if you are looking to start a career building apps either for yourself or for a company here are some bits of information you should know before deciding on it as a career.

App development is well paid but it’s also a stressful job and most won’t be cut out for it.

Let’s discuss – How to become an app developer?

1) Salary

The salary for an app developer is a huge draw to most people and can start from $100,000 in silicon valley. What people fail to mention is that an app developer works most of the hours of the day and when they go home they can’t switch their brains off and think about something else.

App development is more of a lifestyle choice than a job and if you want the high-paid jobs you should be prepared to work as much as your boss needs you to. Some app developers end up sleeping at their work because of the amount of time they spend there.

The competition in silicon valley is tremendous so if you aren’t willing to put the hours in and basically make development your life you should probably look for a job elsewhere. These jobs won’t be as high paid but will still pay you a good salary while giving you a better quality of life.

2) Getting Started

Most developers will have started earlier in their lives programming and if you ask them they would have begun programming on some ancient device that more than likely doesn’t exist these days, but if you haven’t programmed before and you’re older than the average developer don’t let that put you off.

I’ve seen people with no coding experience teach themselves to a high level and land respectable roles within household companies within 2 years of self-learning.

You could speed up this process by attending an app development training workshop but they can be costly. The Big Nerd Ranch is a well known IOS and Android training company where they train you to become a developer within a week for a few thousand bucks.

If you can’t afford training seminars you can look to places like Youtube for video tutorials, books to learn the fundamentals, and coding for kids tutorials. Just be careful because the technology behind apps changes all the time and books and videos can become outdated very quickly.

3) Types of apps

There are many different types of apps out there that you could potentially build and most companies will work in one niche and specialise in it.

The Caria app for example is an app that helps women track their menopause symptoms, while the Blue Apron app is an app that orders food to your home depending on the recipes that you want to make.

Both of these apps run on the same language while the developers would need a different skillset to carry them out.

Thinking of the apps that you want to build will help you decide on some of the areas of app development that you will need to learn.

Game developers will need to learn separate game engines to make a successful game while other app developers may want to learn about APIs so they can connect to other services such as ordering food to fit your recipe.

4) Practice and don’t give up

App development is a frustrating field to work in because of the constant updates and changes to languages over time. When Apple introduced Swift developers had to learn a new language after learning Objective C.

If you aren’t prepared to keep up with these changes going into the app development field isn’t going to be the job for you.

As a new developer, you are also going to be limited by your knowledge, and making complex apps may seem impossible, but over time as you practice more and develop your knowledge it does become easier.

That said you still will hit problems and be searching on websites such as stack overflow for answers. Yes, even veteran coders use websites such as StackOverflow.

Don’t be frightened to ask questions, just be sure to search for the answers online first as some developers can have a holier than thou attitude but with that said the majority are nice and willing to help.

5) Network and attend events

Networking with other developers and hiring managers is a great way of getting your foot in the door at companies you admire, it’s also a great way of meeting other developers that you can bounce ideas off and learn from too.

Having a mentor in the development industry is a great way of learning app development and if you can get one it would be highly advised.

If you are an introvert, you can use social networks such as LinkedIn to connect with these people too. You can also use LinkedIn to connect with IT recruiters who are generally excited to place programmers within jobs because of the money that’s involved in a successful placement.

There’s no right or wrong way

App development takes time and patience and there is no right or wrong way of becoming an app developer. Some are self-taught while others go to university or college to study programming.

Whichever route you decide to go down, be sure to keep up with the best practices and coding standards and you won’t go far wrong.

When applying for jobs you are going to need to demonstrate you have the technical knowledge and the ability to carry out the job as a developer, for this reason, the best to have a portfolio of work that you can show to a potential employee.  

Having a Github repository is a great way of showing your work and your code to potential employees, it’s also a great way of getting invited to jobs as employees often crawl through Github looking for suitable candidates.  

If you have an app development account on the IOS or Android store with live apps this can also help you when applying for jobs as potential employers can download your apps and use them, this gives them a feel of your technical knowledge along with your attention to detail when catching bugs.

Hope these tips answered you how to become an app developer and can make you a successful app developer. You can check available app developer vacancies here.

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