s more companies bring their business operations online, it’s no wonder mobile app developers are becoming highly sought after in today’s job market.
Mobile application development is a popular medium of software creation, and can be an essential tool to enhance a customer’s experience with a service or task.
Uber, Skip The Dishes and Tinder are only a few examples of apps that enhanced the way we do things. We don’t have to look up a nearby restaurant’s hours and call them to order food for delivery. We no longer have to see which cab service has a better rate at a given hour, and if you really want to put yourself out there; apps like Tinder and Bumble help you do that.
Mobile applications changed the way we do things by making the one device we carry around everywhere a fully functional tool that helps you get what you want in a matter of minutes.
This article discusses how to become a mobile app developer and why is it an important profession in today’s tech climate:
Mobile app developers are responsible for programming a mobile application and designing the user interface you interact with as a user. They create, test, update and manage mobile apps.
As little as an app may look, it takes an entire team to get one running. An organization or business owner will communicate their goals and vision to a team, who will then be tasked to create a fully functional mobile interface that meets the client’s requests and specifications. A team of designers will create mockups of the app, the developers will program the app and the marketing team members will create a launch strategy to increase awareness of the app.
Developers can create apps for two main platforms: iOS and Android.
In Alberta, software engineers are in high demand and can earn anywhere from $37.66 to $69.22 an hour.
Mobile app developers, although specific, can be vital to the success of many companies.
“There is no limit for an app developer when choosing their industry,” says Nirmal Dalal, a mobile app development instructor at ABM College.
“Everything is going remote and people are relying more on computers and mobiles, rather than [doing things in person],” he says, adding that this has been more prominent in light of the Covid-19 pandemic that required many businesses to transition to online operations.
While websites are still important, mobile apps are becoming increasingly relevant to a business strategy. Applications installed into a customer’s mobile increases an organization’s connection to a user because apps can send them notifications, product and sales updates, unlike websites. Apps with a user login helps businesses develop an understanding of who their customers are. Reward programs make customers want to keep buying from a business. Plus, the mere fact that an app will always be visible in the user's mobile menu page gives customers opportunities to constantly interact with their favourite businesses.
There is no question that an education in mobile app development or software development is required to be a valuable member of the job market. But being a field of study that requires practical experience to be considered for a job, curriculums provide students with opportunities to create apps that will prepare them for future work.
“I have designed the course in such a way that a student would have to develop at least a few apps throughout the whole program … on both platforms — Android and iOS,” says Dalal. “Apart from that, students can have a chance to do the co-op with any other companies they are looking for.”
Job practicum and in-class app development experience are necessary components of a college program to turn students into professional developers by the time they graduate.
This question allows you to make the interview more personal by telling employers what got you interested in mobile app development. The more passion you have for your work, the more likely they are to remember you, and maybe even hire you.
Example: “Ever since the release of apps like Uber, Instagram, Facebook, Amazon and many more, any tech fanatic would understand how big of a game-changer those were. It got me interested in developing apps, studying more about it in school and eventually, finding my way to create meaningful, technological experiences for the customers of companies who do have something to offer through the platform.”
There are many companies that need mobile app developers. This question looks into why would you be interested in them, rather than their competitors.
Example: “I have seen the work you’ve done for multiple companies, and would honestly love to be a part of that. Having worked on very different application projects in the past, I’m sure I can meaningfully contribute to the team but also learn from the skills, knowledge and expertise of your company’s team of developers.”
We all have our strengths. Being aware of yours shows employers that you are aware of the extent of your capabilities.
Example: “Having worked on independent and collaborative projects in the past, I have been able to work on at least two Android, Apple and Hybrid apps from conception to launch. My experience working on these projects helped me manage my time well, gain the knowledge and skills to work with different platforms effectively and communicate with team members well enough to always get the job done.”
Nobody is perfect, so, don’t act like it. But be sure to inform employers about the measures you’ve taken to improve from any setback you might have encountered.
Example: “Sometimes, the stress and pressure of working on big projects with major time constraints can take a toll on you. Especially, in the beginning when you are just starting to learn how to work with more advanced team members and platforms I’ve only experienced working with in school. It was a challenge that resulted in many late nights and shorter lunch breaks. I understand that I may not know everything yet, but I’m very willing to learn more, start my work early to prevent longer nights in the office and just ask questions if I am really unsure of what to do next.”
Job practicums, in-class experience and perhaps more freelance work on top will help you have the portfolio you need to get hired, or at least the ability to discuss your achievements in front of employers.
Example: “I have created messaging and quiz applications on my own. As far as working in teams, I worked on developing an app that is in line with a rewards program strategy for a national Canadian coffee shop. Customers can log in, create an account and use the app to track their purchases, which will eventually lead to a reward after a certain number of purchases have been done.”
This question looks into how you work with others, giving employers an idea of how well you can fit in their team or work with their clients.
Example: “Extensive meetings would have been conducted with the client to gain a better understanding of their goals, wants, needs and overall vision for the app. We also ask them questions and do research to learn more about their business, their audience and understand what the client is trying to achieve with the app. After the first set of meetings, we would schedule a meeting with the client every two weeks to report on our progress, direction and see if there are any changes that we can make along the way.”
In any career, there will always be some good times and bad times. Being open and aware of your lows, can prevent you from finding yourself in that place again. Open up to your employers and tell them what you would change if ever a similar situation would occur. Remember: “worst” does not have to be tragic, although it can be, rather it can just be a lower moment in your career.
Example: “It was my first project as a mobile app developer. I started developing the app according to the client’s specifications without questioning much of what a client wanted to achieve with the app and how it was supposed to serve their audience. In the end, the first few designs did not pan out well and many revisions later, we were able to launch it. But it definitely took more time than it should’ve. I learned then how important communication was for both the client and the developer because both sides have an understanding that can lead to a well-rounded application.”
Mobile app developers are also problem solvers. Show your employer that you are a practical thinker and can work well under pressure, and you’re hired.
Example: “For my freelance projects, I would still continue testing and building the app, if possible, after its launch. Sometimes, client’s would make changes to their business and require me to make those changes as well. With any change, I would see how to best incorporate it into the program and question if any elements from the former user interface need to be revised in order to accommodate new changes to better the user’s experience. You want to know if the app is conveniently used by customers and if it’s easier for them to get from point A to B. After testing and improving the codes, I would re-analyze to see if it works better for the user and the client as well.”
Communication is key in any collaborative work environment, especially ones that require constant communication with clients and businesses.
Example: “Communication with the team is constant. I have been fortunate to work with many team members who do really put in the hard work. I believe that made it easier on everyone, especially during times when everybody was working remotely. But since everyone in the team did communicate their progress and any potential setbacks, it was easier for us to prepare for our bi-weekly client meetings. Clients would always be presented with our best work during these meetings and would develop an understanding of the direction we were taking, and how much progress has taken place since the last meeting.”
Working closely with others can also present its own set of challenges. Employers want to know how you would handle conflicts that may arise over time.
Example: “Conflicts in the workplace are nothing new. Having been a part of multiple teams, I’ve seen it happen. The one time a misunderstanding occurred between me and another colleague, I made sure to speak with them first to resolve the matter immediately. They said their side and I said mine, and we established how to do things differently to prevent any more misunderstandings. We are good friends. I do think that communication is key in these types of situations.”
During the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to still be an active member of the job market if you are looking for work, or organize your home office space if you are currently working from home. If you are a student, look into the different ways you can save money while in school.