How to be a mobile application developer

People who design and make the programs for smartphones and other mobile devices are called mobile application developers, or app developers. Find out how to become a mobile app developer.

What is a mobile application developer?

People get information and connect to others through their mobile devices. Applications are programs on phones and other devices. “App” is short for application. A mobile application developer (usually called an app developer) creates and runs those programs. Another name for the job is software developer.

About the job

What can you expect in the job of mobile application developer?

Duties of a mobile application developer


Mobile application developers may work for large technology companies or small startup businesses. Some developers work for themselves from home.

Salary for mobile application developers

The hourly wage for a mobile application developer varies widely from $21 to $150 per hour, depending on experience and location. The national average salary in 2018 was around $100,000 per year. But individual jobs may pay a lot more or a lot less.

About the person

What kind of person makes a good mobile app developer? You need to be both technical and creative.

Qualities you should have

  • Patience with small details and constant corrections and adjustment
  • Good at problem-solving
  • Good at working with other team members
  • Good at communicating technical matters to people who are not experts
  • Ability to working on several different projects at the same time

Skills you will need

  • Expert in programming languages, such as Java and Objective C
  • Able to code, test, debug, and monitor changes in mobile applications
  • Knowledge of mobile application terms, concepts and best practices
  • Able to adapt existing web applications for mobile apps
  • Expert knowledge of user interface (UX)
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Training for mobile app developers

You will need a bachelor’s degree in software engineering and mobile application development. Find out how to apply for college.

If you have no training at all in computers, or if you are not ready for college, you can start with a computer or coding course. Many community colleges offer low-cost computer training classes. They may have classes especially for newcomers and English learners. Find a community college near you.


Employers do not usually ask for certification. They will be looking more for experience and knowledge. But some certificates are well-known to employers and will be worth listing on your resume.

Here are the best-known certificates. Select the name to get more information for each certification:


You will need experience in computer technology or information technology before you can start building programs and applications. The best way to get experience is to work for a technology business, a web design business, or a business that develops apps.

What if I have no experience yet? Where do I start?

You can find an entry-level job in computer technology. Learn basic computer technology skills, such as coding or programming. Then you can get an entry-level job and gain the experience you need.

Find out more how to start your career and get jobs in computer technology.

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