Those with an aptitude for computer programming and a desire to enter one of the fastest-growing fields in America right now may find that mobile/web application development is right up their alley. This unique field blends a high level of creativity with computer science in an effort to transform ideas into workable programs and applications for on-the-go devices.
A Day in the Life
Mobile and web application developers are tasked with transforming ideas into workable computer programs that can serve a variety of purposes that range from being highly useful to purely entertaining. While others are tasked with developing the underlying systems that run devices or deliver control over networks, application developers produce the programs that make platforms, such as Android or Apple, desirable to consumers.
Developers typically work in office environments for such employers as computer firms, software publishers, the finance and insurance industry and others.
Duties of Mobile and Web Application Developers
Software developers may find their duties vary based on assignment, but they are typically tasked with:
- Analyzing user need and then designing, testing and developing software that meets the need.
- Recommending software upgrades for existing programs.
- Planning and designing each piece of an application to ensure a proper fit that works together.
- Creating plans that instruct programmers on how to write the necessary coding.
- Ensuring that software continues to perform through routine maintenance and testing.
- Collaborating with other computer specialists to create products that are optimum.
Skills for the Job
Application developers require a number of skills and talents that go beyond an ordinary classroom to help them succeed in the field. They include:
Analytical abilities. Developers are tasked with analyzing user needs and designing software to meet those needs.
Communication abilities. Developers must possess strong communication and interpersonal skills to not only provide clear instructions on projects, but also to work closely with others in collaborative efforts.
Creativity. Ultimately it is a developer’s job to take a user or client need and seek out a creative solution that results in an application that meets the stated need.
Attention to detail. Developers are tasked with creating many parts of an application or system, all of which require strong concentration abilities and extreme attention to detail.
Entering the Field
Entry level positions in the field typically require a bachelor’s degree or training in computer sciences, software engineering, mathematics or a related field. Professionals will find graduate degrees can be very helpful for attaining advancement as can certification in a variety of core programming languages, such as C++, Java, C# and Objective-C. Requirements for positions can vary based on specific employer needs and the platform development is required for.
The Future is Bright for Application Developers
As the demand for programming to drive mobile devices, such as Android and Apple smartphones, continues to grow, the application development field is swelling with opportunities. The U.S. Department of Labor has estimated potential growth through 2022 at 22%, which is significantly higher than average.
Others, however, say the labor department’s estimations are low and put the pace of growth more in the 32% range through 2020, which adds up to nearly 300,000 new positions.
Professionals in mobile and web development will find earnings in this field are also strong. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated a median annual pay of $102,160 for application developers in a 2015 national survey.