What is Mobile Development?
Believe it or not, mobile development is not just about developing mobile apps. At its core, mobile development involves all kinds of development for any on-the-go device. It encompasses the creation of applications for mobile devices such as:
- cellular phones
In fact, most software developers are constantly looking for different ways users can access these apps on mobile devices. Developers may build apps exclusively for mobile usage.
However, these applications are also accessible entirely as web applications. As mobile devices become ubiquitous in our daily lives, web browsers will most likely dominate as the operating system of the future. There are three main categories of mobile development. These categories are based on the types of devices used.
1. Native Development
As the name suggests, this type develops mobile apps natively for the operating system it runs on. So, apps on Google Playstore will work specifically for Android devices. In contrast, the AppStore applications will only run on iOS devices.
2. Cross-Platform Development
Alternatively known as hybrid development, it is the creation of a mobile app that works on multiple OS or devices. A hybrid application includes a single code bar that runs on all types of platforms. It means that developers will only write the code once and it will work simultaneously on other platforms.
3. Mobile Web Development
In a nutshell, it entails the development of mobile-responsive versions of apps and websites. Mobile web applications act similarly to their native counterpart. However, they are not standalone apps that you can download on an application store. You will need a web browser to access mobile web apps.
What is a Mobile Developer?
A mobile developer is a type of software developer who builds, designs, and implements mobile applications. They specialize in mobile technology that develops apps for mobile platforms like Android, iOS, and Windows.
Depending on their specialties, their job titles vary. So, a mobile developer who focuses on Android development is called an Android developer. That said, mobile developers should be experts in the programming languages and development environments of their preferred platform. Presently, there are a few mobile platforms with their own language and software development environment. For example, iOS has Objective-C and Android uses Java.
Moreover, it’s their job to find innovative tech solutions to everyday problems. They turn ideas into reality by creating apps for mobile devices. That said, it’s a must for mobile developers to have solid expertise in mobile technology.
As industries keep up with the increasing usage of apps, so will the surge in demand for mobile developers. Mobile phones, tablets, and wearable devices accounted for a big chunk of internet usage versus those on desktop computers.
Responsibilities of Mobile Developers
To further understand what mobile developers do, here are their typical responsibilities:
- Discuss with clients their business goals and requirements for developing the application
- Ensure technical feasibility by complying with the app stores guidelines
- Create APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to strengthen the device’s mobile functionality
- Consult with UX and UI designers and development team in ensuring that the technical and functional aspect of the app is working seamlessly
- Design the user interface to maintain an excellent user experience
- Reuse and adapt existing web apps when developing mobile applications
- Confirm that the front-end and back-end are correctly linked
- Send a detailed estimate of the cost and resources needed to mobilize the project
What Makes a Great Mobile Developer?
While the technical skills of a mobile developer are often prioritized, that shouldn’t be the only area you should look into. Computers in the future will become even more sophisticated; replacing some of the programming and data analytics parts.
What can’t be replaced by computers and is often ignored today? Work Ethics and Personal Attributes. So remember, a great mobile developer must not only have the technical chops. They also need to have the right traits to succeed in any mobile dev project and team.
A skilled mobile developer understands the ‘why’ of building a software product. They believe that this product will answer customers’ needs and supports the growth of their clients’ revenues. So, they are not only tech experts but also dedicated to achieving business goals.
Nothing beats someone with an ability to think outside the box. Creative mobile developers use their ingenuity to write clean code that blends functionality, design, and performance effortlessly.
3. Communication Skills
Some situations call for developers to communicate with other people in specific capacities. This could be a team member who needs to consult with other programmers. Or perhaps a stakeholder requesting updates. Whatever the case, mobile developers need strong communication skills. Having the ability to discuss your project’s progress in a manner that any audience can understand is important.
Skilled developers don’t stop learning the moment they step out of college. For them, it’s only the beginning. Their dedication to continuously learn allows them to discover new things, upgrade their skills, and stay (hopefully) ahead of the curve.
Your mobile developer must have the user’s experience on top of mind when building the app. Thus, they should understand basic to advance UI and UX concepts. They keep the design and function user-focused to ensure that users have the best app experience.
It’s essential for mobile developers to have a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. Having a Master’s Degree is beneficial but often not required by most employers. Also, certifications or training on specific platforms is definitely a plus.
A solid background in these core concepts and technologies will give potential candidates an edge:
- Software development and application life cycle
- Programming languages with respect to their mobile app development expertise
- Design patterns and principles
- Web technologies such as HTTP, RESTful, SSL, and others
- Software architectural patterns, e.g. MVC
- Software testing, refactoring, and debugging
- Project management and a background in Business or Marketing