Beginners Guide To App Development
“There is an app for that”. We are pretty sure you must have heard this phrase quite a few times by your friends, family, etc. when you were complaining about a mundane task. An app is an abbreviation for a software application that can run on a computer device or mobile to accomplish a task with ease and efficiency. You must have quite a few games on your mobile phone or tablet. They fall into a sub-category of app development called game development. You might even have an app for ordering food from your favorite restaurants or coffee shop. Application development can be described as the profession of people who design, develop, and deploy these applications. Application developers generally have a computer programming background. However, with the advancement in technology, there are many online tools available that give you the power to design and develop applications. This means you should not be disheartened if you are not from a computer science background. However, programming knowledge will surely take you a long way.
Application development is a highly valued skill in the market as more and more companies, services, organizations, etc. are striving to go digital. In case of any unforeseen circumstances which cause a physical shutdown, their service must continue digitally. This ensures business growth is not hampered and customers continue to get the same value continually. Any such service or company which fails to deliver in these circumstances is bound to fail.
There are a lot of reasons to learn to develop an application. We hope the following will persuade you to consider it as a hobby or even more a full-time career:
- Money is Good — Application developers are very high in demand. They usually earn around $72,000 a year. This is much higher than web developers who earn a mere $58,000 annually. The increased income can be attributed to the high demand for this skill and low supply. However, it is always suggested never to learn anything solely for the money as it might make you prone to greed and compromise on quality.
- Ever-Increasing Smartphone Users — The number of people who use a smartphone has constantly been on the rise. This rise has not been linear rather exponential. It is reported that almost half of the world uses a smartphone which is increasing market penetration at an unprecedented rate. This translates into more applications, functionalities, and dependence on mobile. Over 45 million applications are downloaded every week. People spend more time using applications than they do browsing the internet.
- Supply Demand Ratio — According to StackOverflow, iOS and android development are two of the top three areas with the highest supply-demand disparity ratio. The demand for these skills is very high whereas the demand is extremely low.
- Selling Applications — You also have the opportunity to develop your own application and deploy it on the PlayStore and generate a revenue stream. A good idea, design, and execution can take you an application to the next level where the sky is the only limit. All you need is a PlayStore developer account to achieve this feat.
- Opportunity to Learn — With mobile development, you will be part of a community that is new but constantly evolving. The learning experience will be a pleasurable one and you will always find something to work on. The community is quite warm, welcoming, and open.
Guideline For Becoming a Mobile Developer
With all the pros of mobile application development aside, let us delve deeper into how you can embark upon this journey. This journey might be frustrating at first but once you see the results coming and your thoughts and actions put into action, you shall be elated. It is just like seeing a child grow old. Raising it from a very young age all the way to an adult.
Choose a Major Platform
The very first step in mobile development is to choose a major platform from the very beginning. It is up to your personal interest. The major players in the industry are very famous Android and iOS. Other platforms such as Symbian, Blackberry, and Windows are also there to consider. You need to keep the monetary aspect in mind as well. Making an application for windows 10 might not be a very prudent choice given the current scenario. This narrows it down to android or iOS. Both platforms are poles apart from each other. You should select one and specialize in it. Of course, with all the resources available you can master everything but that is not recommended. Select one platform and gradually enrich your horizons. You can practice this skill by taking projects from many online websites or you can also build an application you always wanted to deploy.
Learn the Pre-requisite Skills
Diving into the world of application development requires that you have a firm grip on the required development skills and possess the ins and out of knowledge of the domain. Before starting anything, you need to ask yourself a rudimentary question i.e. “Where exactly am I starting from?”
This question might give you a tripartite answer i.e.
- You might be a web developer who is now looking for broadening the horizon in the application domain. If this is the case, you will find many useful platforms which shall help you with the transition. Two very popular platforms generally used are Appcelerator and titanium.
- You might not have any programming background whatsoever but you have a very basic grip on how the paradigm of object-oriented programming works. If this is your case, then you might find it very easy to learn how a mobile application is developed.
- The third scenario is that you are an absolute beginner. In this case, it will be very helpful to do a basic introductory course from online platforms such as Coursera, Udemy, etc. Many courses are available for free. YouTube also has many freely available resources. Many guided projects are also available nowadays with a side by guide on how to build an entire project out of scratch.
Now since we have the basic three questions addressed we know where you stand and we can move forward. Your case will most probably fall in one of these scenarios.
Mastering Coding Skills
Once you have selected your platform, you need to master the platform by learning more details. We will be discussing them in detail only the two major platforms i.e. Android and iOS as it is not wise to learn any other platform considering the monetary benefits.
For the iOS paradigm, you will have to choose between Objective-C or Swift. What to select between these two solely depends upon the fact that why you are learning mobile application development.
If the basic purpose is to develop apps to create your own products, you should go for Swift. Swift is not very old. It was launched in 2014, merely six years ago, and has been positively acclaimed by critics since then.
On the other hand, if you are making an app for a company or an organization, Objective-C is your go-to language. The main reason for this is that it requires a lot of documentation. Another reason is that many companies might already have an application built in this language and you might have to fix it. Documentation is necessary when you make an app for an organization as you mgt not always be there to fix or upgrade it for them.
The development of applications on the android platform requires that you know Java or Kotlin. For absolute beginners, it might be necessary to do an introductory course in these languages. A good place to begin is Google’s Android Developer Library. It is well-documented, well maintained, and up to date with good guidance and project development guidance. Before you choose android, make sure you know that it has many variants and it can be a daunting task at first causing complications in the marketplace. Android Development Newsletter is also a good place to keep yourself acquainted with the practices of the industry as well as the latest firmware.
Mobile App Development Software
Quite a popular practice these days is to use an application development software. The best part of this is that you do not even need to know how to code. There are thousands of templates to start with as well. However, the control which coding gives you is unprecedented.
There is no skill in this world which you can simply learn by reading books or watching videos only. It is quite a well known saying that you can not learn to play the guitar by just reading how to play it. You will need a lot of practice before you are able to conquer it. It is famously quoted that you require ten thousand hours of practice before you can finally master a skill. For practice, start with the following:
- Develop an Idea
The most powerful factor behind any application is the idea. This requires keen observation skills. You can look out for what problems you are facing or what are the pain points of people. List at least ten ideas and then shortlist the one which makes the most sense to you.
- Consider The Details
The design details of the application need to be carefully considered. It must be easy to use according to the stipulated age and people must be able to know how to navigate without having to read instruction manuals and other details. UI is a key aspect that many companies are paying heavily for these days. A good design goes a long way and is necessary to captivate people.
- Hiring Required People or Collaborating
In the beginning, it might not be possible to develop an entire application all by yourself. You might be good at design but struggle at coding or vice versa. Never shy away from asking people for help. The more you know the more you will grow. You can take help from experts or veterans in the field or hire people to work for you depending upon your budget and specifications.
Testing is necessary to make sure that your application does what it is intended to do. It should map on all the requirements which were laid down by the client at the time of the agreement. The input and outputs have to be thoroughly checked for any anomalous behavior. Client satisfaction also has to be considered. Bugs are unavoidable in any application built. Do not be disheartened by them rather remove them with diligence. A good practice is to give it to your friends or family to play around with and they can tell you where they notice an error or any erratic behavior. For critical applications, you might need to hire penetration testers or other testers to ensure your application does not break at any point in time.
Shift to Other Platforms
Although it is a long journey, once you feel you have completely mastered one platform, it is time to shift to another platform. Once you become an expert and make this as your career choice, you will see all sorts of customers and if you do not learn any other platforms, you will fail to capitalize on the income. Every platform has unique as well as overlapping features and you will have to tailor your application accordingly.
We have covered all the basics which should be enough to at least get you started. In a nutshell, what you should consider is not to jump into mobile development straight away rather think about a big project which is sure to revolutionize the world. Work up the idea and learn application development alongside it. This is sure to give you motivation once you see your project deployed and gain motivation as you proceed. Big ideas have always transformed the world into a better place and all the great inventions we see today were once thought in some great mind.