The software development industry is one of the fastest growing in the country. App and software development jobs are forecasted to grow much faster than the average occupation, with a 22 percent increase from 2019 to 2029. According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a career in software development also fetches an appealing median pay of $107,510.
Of course, how much you earn depends on certain factors like the area you’re in, your previous experience, and the types of projects you work on. The path to developing a mobile app and becoming a full-time mobile app developer is as challenging as it is rewarding, so it’s important that you start off strong so that you can springboard to success by building an app to showcase your skills to companies and potential clients – that is assuming your idea doesn’t become the next Snapchat off the bat (a developer can dream after all!).
1. Brush up on your coding skills
Technology and coding languages keep evolving, and as app development is a skill-based job, you need to keep learning. Luckily, there are several online resources that offer refresher or supplementary app development courses and official app development courses. Moreover, since these courses are online, you can access them on your laptop at your convenience.
These lessons are extremely useful when you’re consistent with seeking out new methods and upskilling yourself. With updated knowledge and skills in your tool belt, you’ll find that working on coding projects becomes a much shorter and easier process, as well as being open to more job opportunities.
2. Make sure you have a suitable laptop
You’ll want to find a laptop that won’t slow you down when it comes to your development process. Luckily, hardware requirements coding aren’t particularly high, and it is possible to get started coding even on a basic budget laptop especially if you take the dive to install Linux on your PC instead of Windows. That said, a good laptop is your main tool as an app developer, so finding one that won’t slow your work done will save you a lot of frustrations down the line and prevent unnecessary upgrades. Below are the recommended minimum specs for app developers for a laptop that will get the job done today and stay relevant for the foreseeable future:
- Intel i5 or better processor, 7th generation or newer OR (or AMD Ryzen 5 or better processor, 2nd generation or newer
- Linux operating system recommended
- 1920 x 1080 or greater screen resolution
- 256 GB or larger SSD
- Minimum 8 GB of RAM (12GB -16GB RAM recommended for multitasking and developing with multiple monitors)
There are several laptops for programming that we recommend in our best laptops for programmers buying guide. Do your research and look for one that can accommodate your programming needs, whatever your budget.
3. Set up an account on a Version Control System
A Version Control System keeps track of the changes you made to your code files. It allows you to review the changes made, including when it was done and by whom. This makes it easier to work on collaborative coding projects, and revisit previous versions of your code.
Moreover, a Version Control System stores your coding projects in a cloud, making it easier to recover your code files even after a coding mishap. Some of the most popular ones are Git and SVN, and you can get them for free.
4. Register as an official business
If you are looking to start a solo career developing apps, then registering a business is a must. When you’re a registered and licensed business, it’s also easier to find clients and companies to work with as in independent contractor. This way, you can get your own EIN and then process client transactions much easier. You first need to decide on a business name and plan, as well as choose a fitting business structure. A sole proprietorship and partnership gives the owner/s full management authority, as well as liability, over the business. On the other hand, an LLC caps liability, and views the business as its own legal entity.
Registering an app development business could also be conveniently done online. You will just need to check your state specific requirements. Aspiring Oregon LLC startups can create an account on the state’s business registry website to start the formation process. Here, you can submit your Name Reservation form and Articles of Organization for a small fee. Additionally, in other states like California, an online registration may be better as the filing fees are cheaper compared to the in-office registration. If you are an official app development business you are far more likely to be used by clients.
5. Find the right app idea and
Probably the hardest part of a successful app is finding the right idea. Your app should fulfil a known (or unknown) need for mobile phone users in a niche without too much competition. Striking the balance here is the difference between success and failure. You can have an amazing app and get no users if there is too much competition from competing apps, and vice versa, if you have a great idea that no one has thought of yet, you can find great success with a relatively simple app. That said, if you are stuck and simply want to build a portfolio to showcase your skills, mimicking existing apps can also work well to show off your skills to new prospective clients.
In addition to viewing app development as just a job, you should also open up other aspects of your life to programming. Immerse yourself in the app development world and community, and stay up to date with the latest trends in both coding and app usage. There are many channels to keep you up to speed:
- Conferences broadcasted on YouTube
- Tech titles and influencers on social media
- Podcasts about coding and the latest apps
By keeping up to date you can make well-informed and timely decisions when it comes to developing a mobile app. All things considered, a career in app development is a worthwhile venture for anyone willing take the dive. Best of all? All you need is your laptop and an internet connection to get started!