How to become an app developer: A Roadmap


25 January

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace and it won’t be long until it takes over the daily, mundane tasks. From waiting on the curb to ordering a taxi from the comfort of your home, we have come a long way. As devices become smarter and technologically advanced, the demand for app developers continues to increase at a growing pace.

Statistics have reported that only in the year 2021 users have downloaded an estimated 218 billion apps. Other researches suggest that the mobile app industry will surpass $188.9 billion come 2022. With such numbers, the only question that comes to mind is, how to become an app developer, and what is the app developer's salary?

Job Description: Application Developer


Application developers are in essence, software engineers who create, program, and test apps for various devices such as desktop PCs and mobile phones. Apps are designed either for the benefit of the general public or private clients. 

App developers use different programming languages and source code to create application software. Public applications are generally based on market research, catering to the public’s needs. They are developed in multiple formats to ensure cross-platform support.

  • Desktop apps: Desktop apps are developed to run on computers and laptops. They require downloading and installing them onto each device and are designed according to individual requirements. They provide improved performance, data management, synchronization, and security.
  • Web apps:  Web apps are accessible from anywhere. They don’t require installation and can generally be used via internet browsers.  Patches and updates are much easier to implement.
  • Mobile apps: Mobile apps are developed for handheld devices. They are more inclined towards a better user interface and user experience. These include both android and IOS applications. 

Once the app goes live, the app developers make sure it runs smoothly and that the build is stable. Minor bugs are fixed via the occasional patches, sent to the public labeled as “updates/upgrades”. 

The app development job descrption, requires aspiring developers to obtain the following skills:

  • Application design
  • Programming Knowledge
  • Ability to write native apps
  • Backend web services knowledge
  • Knowledge of UX and UI
  • Perform Unit tests, automation, and code reviews

Soft Skills needed for app developers

  • Attention to detail
  • Adapting to changes in the environment
  • Strong presentation and communication skills
  • Can manage large projects with a team
  • Creative and innovative
  • Enthusiastic to learn latest technologies

Responsibilities assumed by an app developer when working for a firm:

When joining a firm a developer has to assume many responsibilities apart from developing apps. 

  • Each app has to be developed in a manner that satisfies the customer’s needs. This requires talking and consulting with clients to learn more about their requirements and specifications. 
  • Identifying new features to be added to previously developed apps. Mostly in the form of updates and patches.
  • Developing APIs
  • Linking apps to the internet and company databases.
  • Work with a team of other developers, designers, and testers. 
  • Refining the user interface and user experience.
  • Develop a system for identifying bugs in applications. 

Suggested proficiency for becoming an application software developer


IOS developers:

  • Swift and Objective-C: The two most frequently used programming languages when developing IOS applications. For developers learning to develop their own apps, Swift is a wise choice. For those planning on working for an app development firm, it would be beneficial to learn objective C primarily because it has tons of documentation online, with thousand of IOS applications developed in Objective C. 
  • UIKit: A framework that helps design interactive user interfaces in apps. It can help implement features such as gestures, animations, and haptic touch control. 
  • XCode: An integrated development environment designed expressly for Apple developers, used to develop software for IOS devices.

Android developers:

  • Java, Kotlin, and XML: these are the main programming languages used in android app development. For beginners, an introduction to Java would be a great place to start, alongside an introduction to Google’s android developer library. Developers must also keep in mind the vast amount of different android devices circulating in our markets. 
  • Data Handling and Notifications: Android apps require storing, updating, and deleting information on an android device. Therefore, one needs to learn how to store information locally on the user’s device. The developer also needs to implement a system for push notifications, enriching the user experience. 
  • Material Design: Google developed the Material-UI library in 2014 that enables developers to import and use different components to create a user interface. Developers need to have ample knowledge about the guidelines of Material-UI and hone their design skills. 

How to become an app developer with no experience


Truth be told, entering the world of application development doesn’t really require formal education. However, many employers still prefer employees who have related educational degrees. Following are degrees favored by employers:

Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science: 

New learners with zero computer experience should opt for a bachelor’s degree. One has to commit 4 years to learn the core concepts of Computer Science and is effective for an entry-level career.

Other learning opportunities:

Workshops and Bootcamps: These are the most popular choices among aspirants learning how to get into app development. They are organized by successful app developers and teach practical knowledge primarily. Such boot camps are user-oriented allowing one to learn at his/her own pace. The practical knowledge gained, is valued immensely by job recruiters, and many secure well-paying jobs because of it.  

Self-learning: the internet contains tons of resources on how to become an application developer. If utilized correctly, one can learn a lot by themselves and even get paid for their skills. However, for beginners, it turns out to be cumbersome to learn without a structured curriculum and support.

Many app developers still opt out of receiving formal education. One can easily learn the practical aspects of application development with online courses and start earning as a freelancer. 

The Roadmap:

Choosing an app development platform: The first step would be to decide which platform do you wish to develop apps for. According to statistics, IOS and Android applications are leading the market. Thus choosing one of them could be beneficial in the future.

Acquiring knowledge: The internet is filled with resources and documentation on app development, be it online courses or books/guides. 

App development portfolio: Hiring agencies require experience and there is no better way to portray that other than creating a portfolio. Portfolios contain an overview of the skills you’ve attained over the years and the projects you’ve worked on. It also contains certifications and testimonials.

Technical Resume: A well-written resume can decide whether you’re qualified enough for a job. It helps display your top skills and qualities along with achievements and awards received. 

Internships: Companies are hiring internees with little to no experience all the time. internships are a great way to learn how the market works and coexist with clients and coworkers. Spending time in an office environment inculcates a sense of professionalism and discipline. 

Job - An Application Developer: Proving your mettle with your skills and a positive attitude towards work could guarantee you a permanent place in a firm in no time. from then onwards it’s a piece of cake. Learn from your seniors and expand your knowledge. 


This was it, on “how to become an app developer”. However, we suggest not diving into it right away. Learn stuff first. Discuss prospects with seniors in this field and look for a project that you can work on. 


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