How to Become a Mobile App Designer and Developer

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Want to be a mobile app designer or developer? Let’s start from the beginning with what you need to do to reach your dream job.

The importance of mobile devices nowadays can be easily compared to the importance of wallets and handbags. Therefore, mobile usage is subject to constant development and providing new technology every month.

Becoming a mobile app designer is certainly a smart profession choice, tightly connected to familiarizing with the needs and desires of customers. The purpose of this article is to give you tips on how to become a mobile app designer.

The same as in other professions, you need education and experience.

Why not study computer science?

A computer science degree is the strongest and most secure criteria for outstanding developers. There are also alternative ways that can show you how to be an app designer. You can always take specialized courses that can teach you how to develop apps.

Furthermore, some of the courses go deep into a specific aspect of app development and they can give you the exact set of skills that certain employers are looking for.

The same as in other branches, well-established companies require a degree that can guarantee them they’re hiring the right person for the job.

Still, the best way to show that you know how to do something is to actually do it. Build a great application and include it in your portfolio! Employ your creativity and employers will have no doubt whether to hire you.

The sooner you start working on your mobile app skills, the better. Why not try it at school?

Relevant degrees can also be helpful. Why wouldn’t a software engineer develop interesting mobile apps? It is never too late to go for what you really want!

Choose the appropriate platform

Choose among major platforms, such as Android or iOS. Further on, you’ll be expected to code for both of them, but it will be too complicated to do it at the very beginning.

Later on, you’ll display your work on popular marketplaces such as Apple’s/Google’s App Stores. Remember that each of the platforms has its own hurdles and programming languages.

Theory is important

Jumping into complicated Photoshop tools and learning how to use them is not going to make you a famous designer. You are starting from scratch.

A bit of theory will certainly not hurt. Look at the mobile designing basics first and start growing from there.

Look around and adopt basic practices so that you won’t end up using signature fonts when you would rather use something more readable.

Look for development programs online

Advanced mobile platforms know how to recognize talent and they support it. As an example, Apple created the iOS Dev Centre, which provides video tutorials and guides that can help your coding skills.

Android followed the approach and it created a similar site called Developers Training. However, relying on these streams is not going to be enough.

You will need professional classes and materials, either the free ones available on the web, or paid ones that can really make you more professional.

You should also familiarize yourself with various code libraries. For example, Angular, React and Vue should not be foreign to you.

Stay inspired

It’s not just talent and hard work. You will need some serious share of creativity. Don’t worry if your work is not original from the beginning. You need to master the craft so that you can start developing apps that look nothing like the existent ones.

It is the same as learning to play an instrument – you play other composers’ songs, before creating your own. The approach is the same for every art.

Don’t lose track of innovations

One of the key features of successful tech careers is to follow developments. You need to be a step ahead of your work and to predict what is coming.

Reading related magazines, or exploring the features of recently introduced technology is really cut for the purpose. You’re just supposed to keep working and not to become lazy.

It is never too early to develop an app

You want to be hired? We all do, but not all of us are so convinced they’re on the level of their tasks. In order to feel confident, we need to practice and to develop our own apps.

Even if you don’t feel like you can create something that is breathtaking and incredibly useful, don’t give up and build a basic app that can be upgraded with time.

In order to become a successful mobile app developer, you’ll need a rich set of skills: UI design skills, knowledge of various programming languages, basic computing knowledge, and some well-rounded business sense.

Work on your ideas

Having ideas is the trickiest part of app development. Still, you’re not alone – there are many successful examples to look at in order to gain inspiration.

The first thing to do is to decide on the purpose – is your app going to be a fun one, or a functional one? Draw inspiration from your own needs.

Have you ever looked for an app which can accomplish a specific task, but you didn’t find it? What is that indispensable need that people have? Ask people around you and you’ll certainly come up with few interesting ideas.

At the end of the day, nobody is asking you to reinvent anything. You can always work on improving existent apps or come across an app which can combine several tasks.

If you cannot think of something that is not on the market, think about better variants of what is already there.

Conduct some research

If you are trying to introduce something original, make sure someone is not already working on something similar. What you certainly want to avoid is reducing the potential market for the product, or facing plagiarism charges. This can easily be checked in the app stores or online forums.

Try to be as specific as you can – choose a target group and test the idea before you start developing anything. Ad hoc meetings with relatives and friends and discussing whether they’d need an app like yours can really be helpful.

Besides, it is a good way to check whether an app like that already exists. They said they’d love it? What are you waiting for? Start developing it!

Poor results, on the other hand, would mean that your app would be useless and that the need you are discussing is already satisfied on the market. However, don’t let this discourage you. You’re saving money and efforts and you’re starting the ‘hunt’ for something much better.

Less is more

Simplicity is your biggest advantage. You’re not under pressure for creating a breathtaking masterpiece and you can easily focus on simplicity.

Simple and straightforward apps are the easiest to use and people adore them. Besides, it doesn’t take to be a genius to do it – there are tons of professional tips and free tutorials on the internet.

The essential tip for keeping things simple is to keep options visually consistent. Your users need to be able to identify every button, they should not be intimidated by too vivid colors, and they should not have any troubles navigating your content.

Look for a design post

In order to become a successful developer, you need to be surrounded by such. Learn something about interaction and design, and become a part of an established team.

The constantly developing tech industry works with teams of interaction, web, and app designers who combine efforts and ideas. The best part about it is huge demand and excellent gain. Isn’t that why you decided to go for the career in the first place?

The experience is not necessarily paid. In order to be well-accepted, I recommend you visit Startup events, to volunteer in certain platforms, or to find a private project where you could assist. All of this would be really appreciated.

Employers will also appreciate designers that didn’t lose time to explore the market and launched a personal app as the central element of their portfolios.

You got the chance? Honestly, this is where real studying begins. The area will not stop developing and there will always be something you can improve yourself at. Track changes and remain sharp. The more you know, the more appreciated your presence will be.

Profiting from your app on the market

Want to be your own boss? Having a private business sounds perfect, but it is also a great responsibility.

You are expected to do and plan everything, to calculate the possibility of profiting, and to advertise your app across the web.

Private businesses also carry a bigger burden for introducing innovation. You need to make a unique app that is at the same time suitable for all devices and platforms. There is no other way to complete your design and to make sure it is going to be successful.

Bogdan Sandu
Bogdan is a designer and editor at DesignYourWay. He's reading design books the same way a hamster eats carrots, and talks all the time about trends, best practices and design principles.

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