Since the advent of smartphone technology, mobile apps have played a significant role in how we live our lives. What would you do without Google Maps, Uber, or Instagram?
Though just a few major companies initially offered mobile applications, the market has since grown exponentially because everyone has a smartphone in their pocket. Most companies that provide a service have some kind of mobile app option. Some mobile apps are even the business themselves, as is the case with dating apps and fitness-tracker apps.
If you want to become a mobile app developer, a mobile application development degree might be the best step forward.
What is Mobile App Development?
It’s exactly what it sounds like, though it’s not that simple. Mobile apps are made for mobile iOS or Android devices like smartphones and tablets, but they are often based on a pre-existing website or business. Mobile app development is unique in that it is a chance for the developer to build an entire application from start to finish in a relatively short period of time.
Mobile app developers have to learn different skills based on which operating system they are developing for. The main difference between Android and iOS is that they use different programming languages. A mobile app developer could learn how to work with one operating system initially and then learn the other as they progress in their career. Being able to work with both operating systems would make you more competitive in the mobile app developer job market.
What Does a Mobile App Developer Do?
A mobile app developer designs, creates, and updates mobile applications. They may work closely with a UX (user experience) designer to make sure that their design is in line with the user’s needs. A developer must also work closely with the app’s business leaders to make sure it can help them achieve their goals.
It may not seem like a big deal, but at the end of the day, mobile app developers do extremely key work. Without a mobile app, many businesses would not be able to reach their full potential. This is especially the case with businesses that get much more traffic on their mobile app than they do on their website.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software development is a growing field. In fact, the industry’s growth is faster than average, with a projected growth rate of 21 percent by 2028.
Though the bureau does not have more specific statistics about mobile app development, it’s safe to say that it is also a growing field within the software development space. This bodes well for your job prospects after earning your mobile development degree.
A software developer’s average salary is almost $106,000 per year. Again, the Bureau for Labor Statistics doesn’t have the individual stats on mobile app development, but the data for software developers is a good indicator. Because web developers and mobile app developers are increasingly in demand, salaries have to be competitive. A mobile app developer can expect to reach a competitive salary early on in their career.
Why Should I Get a Degree in Mobile App Development?
If you want to become a mobile app developer, it’s possible you’ve considered a career as a software engineer or as a computer scientist. The technology sector is constantly growing and evolving, so there are a lot of directions you go in when it comes to beginning your career path.
When you stop to really think about it, the average person spends more personal time on their mobile device than on any other device. Desktops are relegated mostly to the world of work. So, if you want to have a positive influence on people’s daily lives by developing user-friendly mobile apps, this is a great career choice for you.
Because mobile app development is specialized, getting formal training in the field before jumping in is a good idea. A mobile app development degree or certificate program is a great option.
Mobile App Development Programs and Schools
Colleges offer associate or bachelor’s degrees in mobile app development. While most are online programs, some schools also offer in-person instruction. When choosing a school and program, it’s important to consider every aspect; what kind of degree does the program offer? Is it online, in-person, or a hybrid program? What are the employment statistics the school has from recent alumni?
Featured programs and schools operate all over the country and can often be accessed from your living room if the program is exclusively online. In a mobile app development degree program, you can expect to take courses in basic web development, software development, information technology, database websites, discrete math and its applications, different programming languages, and data analysis tools.
Program offerings in mobile app development vary. The first is an associate degree, which is typically a two-year degree program that requires 60 course credits. The second is a bachelor’s degree program, which is a standard undergraduate degree program that requires 120 credits and typically takes four years to complete. Finally, many specialized programs in mobile app development are certificate programs. A certificate is an academic degree program that gives students a concrete professional specialization.
Certificate programs are common for those who already have an educational background in something else and may be looking to make a career change. It is also an excellent choice for those who already have a foundation in the field of study but who want to become more specialized. It is a great professional track degree option.
Let’s now explore some of the best mobile app development schools and programs offered both in-person and online.
Best On-Campus Mobile App Development Programs
Though less common, in-person traditional programs in mobile app development are an option if you thrive in a classroom environment. Check out this list of the best mobile app development program options.
Full Sail University
This bachelor of science program at Full Sail University gives students important foundations in programming and the specific expertise they need to jump into a career in mobile app development. Students learn programming languages for working with both Android and iOS and are prepared for audio and visual asset implementation. Information published on their program web page indicates that the program culminates in a capstone project. For the capstone, students research and create a comprehensive software plan for a mobile app.
Tulsa Tech is how the Tulsa Technology Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma is best known. The technology college offers degree programs in all kinds of information technology fields, including software, web, and mobile app development. Its five-course certificate program for mobile app development is a great choice for students looking to specialize quickly and learn basic and advanced coding, analysis and testing, and of course, complete a capstone project to create their own mobile web app.
Saint Paul College
Saint Paul College in Saint Paul, Minnesota is part of the Minnesota state college and university system. Its on-campus mobile development certificate program is a 24-credit program in which students learn the particulars of programming specifically for mobile app development. Though a student could pursue this certificate on its own, it is recommended alongside the college’s Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming.
Best Online Mobile App Development Programs
As mentioned, there are many more online programs than traditional classroom-based programs when it comes to mobile app development. Because of the nature of the field, it is quite easy to create vibrant, rewarding educational experiences online. If you are limited by location, time, or budget, an online program could be a great choice that typically allows for flexibility. Below are some of the top online mobile app development program options.
University of California, San Diego
The University of California, San Diego is part of the world-class public education system in California. UCSD Extension offers a certification program in mobile web app development including specific programs in Android programming and iOS programming. This is a good option if you already have a solid knowledge base in software or web development and are interested in gaining expertise in mobile app development.
University of South Florida
The University of South Florida offers a Bachelor’s Degree in Mobile and Web Development. Because it is a bachelor’s degree program, this is a great option for someone without any previous coding or programming experience. The program provides students with a solid foundation in basic computer programming courses, physics, discrete math, and so on.
Northeastern University offers a host of reputable online programs in the information technology space. At Northeastern, you can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and choose one of three concentrations: mobile development, web development, or databases. Students can choose more than one concentration and focus on online web and mobile applications development. This degree prepares students with in-depth coursework to specialize in database websites like PHP and MySQL.
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California system’s flagship university in the Bay Area, the University of California, Berkeley has an excellent extension school that offers programs all over the map. UC Berkeley’s Certificate in Software Development and Programming is not specific to mobile app development, but it certainly offers plenty of coursework in the area. Students can graduate from this program fully prepared to get started in an entry-level mobile app development job.
Mobile app developers are in high demand. Web developers and programmers are eager to work on mobile app technology because it is a field that continues to grow and enhance both businesses and our daily lives.
Because the potential salary and job prospects are favorable, there is no reason not to get into mobile app development if it’s something you’re considering. It’s a competitive, rewarding, evolving, and growing field.
To break into the field, you need to have the body of knowledge necessary to land your first job. A mobile app development degree may be the best way to get highly technical skills to develop applications for Android and iOS. Consider different school resource guides, including this one, in your research about the different kinds of mobile app development degree programs you can pursue. After completing your research, choose whichever best suits your needs and begin your journey to success.