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.
No, you do not need a college degree to learn how to develop a mobile app. However, you will need some dedication and hard work.