Mobile app development, the creation of software applications designed to work on mobile devices, is a lucrative niche that requires a specific set of skills to excel. Having the essential skills a mobile app development specialist needs can make your resume stand out from the crowd. , and ensure that you perform your duties to a high standard.
Many mobile app development skills can be learned through online courses, such as those taught at Udemy (opens in a new tab). Other skills are more nuanced, requiring particular personality traits or experience building apps over time. In this article, we take a look at the top five skills that every mobile app developer needs.
1. Programming languages for mobile
Many mobile developer job openings seem to require a thorough prior knowledge of every programming language under the sun. While you should treat them more like a hiring wish list than anything else, it’s true that mobile app development often requires an understanding of a variety of programming languages.
It’s wise to master the most used languages in mobile apps first. Each additional programming language you subsequently master is another useful tool for becoming a better mobile developer and understanding how your apps fit into the bigger picture.
2. Cross-platform development
Many development roles don’t have to worry about building apps that will run on multiple platforms. You just know the platform the code should run on and code for it.
Mobile app development is different. Your customers expect apps to work on both Android and iOS, which are developed in a totally unique way. Occasionally you’ll also see versions for Windows and macOS, not to mention a web version that works in multiple browsers and browser versions!
For this reason, skilled mobile app developers know how to reuse graphics and code across all platforms. They use a cross-platform development model and often take advantage of cross-platform mobile app development tools like React Native or Xamarin.
Being able to see how you can reuse and rewrite code across a variety of channels is a key skill to being a great mobile app developer.
3. User interface and user experience
User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) are critical to the success of a mobile application. A good user interface provides functional interaction that feels intuitive, loads quickly, and is easy on the eye. This creates a UX that drives customer satisfaction, which can lead people to want to use the app time and time again.
Mobile app developers spend time making sure their apps are easy to navigate and fun to use. This requires a solid understanding of customer tastes and preferences. Mobile app development specialists have a keen eye on user interface design, creating apps that are clean, responsive, and visually distinct.
Mobile apps rarely exist in a vacuum. There’s usually an accompanying website, and often an app for Windows and macOS. Mobile app specialists must learn to build apps that deliver consistent experiences that mirror user experiences across corresponding websites and desktop apps. This creates better user experiences as you meet customer expectations across multiple platforms, which helps build company brand and improve customer retention.
With all of the sensitive information stored on users’ phones, mobile apps must be designed with security in mind. While there are some safeguards on Android and iOS that minimize damage from malware attacks and malicious software, it is the responsibility of the developer to store and transmit sensitive data securely.
A security breach can be devastating for any business. Knowledge of potential security attack vectors is an important skill for a mobile application developer. The same goes for a solid understanding of what constitutes secure code and how you can protect your applications from malicious users.
Mobile developers work at the cutting edge of technology. Beyond being technically gifted, they must be able to develop applications under pressure and within tight deadlines. Mobile app settings are constantly changing as project requirements change, so developers need to be adaptable and always ready to change code on the fly.
Adaptability helps elsewhere too. Mobile developers often work in large teams and coordinate with departments that don’t understand the challenges of building mobile apps. Sometimes they work with marketing departments to discuss the possibilities of the company’s new app, while other times they need to share app development progress with customers and stakeholders.
This means that mobile app developers should have strong analytical and critical thinking skills, and problem-solving skills. Moreover, the best mobile app developers are very creative, coming up with new approaches and ideas that have never been tried before.
This adaptability makes the difference between a good mobile application developer and an excellent one.
Mobile application development is a challenge that requires many skills to solve. The best mobile app developers can build apps that are secure for multiple platforms using multiple computer languages. They fully understand what it takes to create great user experiences, and their flexibility helps them thrive in the high-pressure, fast-paced world of app development.
To learn how to become a specialist in mobile application development, you can register at the best online courses (opens in a new tab) on one of the many online learning platforms available today. For ideas for your next mobile app, take a look at our favorite Android apps (opens in a new tab).