5 Skills That Will Help You Become a Mobile App Development Specialist – TechRadar

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The fundamental skills you need to make top applications for mobile devices
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Mobile app development, the creation of software applications designed to run on mobile devices, is a lucrative niche that requires a specific set of skills to excel in. Having the essential skills a mobile app development specialist needs can make your resume stand out from the rest, and ensure you perform your duties to a high standard.
Many mobile app development skills can be learned through online courses, such as those provided at Udemy (opens in new tab). Other skills are more nuanced, requiring particular personality traits or experience building applications over time. In this article, we look at the top five skills every mobile app development specialist needs.
Many mobile developer job postings seem to demand a prerequisite expert knowledge of every programming language under the sun. While you should treat those as more of a hiring wish list than anything else, it’s true that mobile app development often requires an understanding of a variety of programming languages. 
Android apps are mostly written in Java and Kotlin, while iOS apps favor Swift and Objective-C. Beyond these languages, it’s helpful to understand how your mobile will interface with your back-end systems. This can be through XML, HTML, and JavaScript. Other applications will require knowledge of Python, C++, Ruby, or Perl.
It’s wise to become proficient in the languages most used in mobile apps first. Every additional programming language you subsequently master is another useful tool for becoming a better mobile developer, and understanding how your apps fit into a bigger picture.
Many development roles don’t have to worry about creating applications that will run across multiple platforms. You simply know the platform the code needs to run on and code for that.
Mobile app development is different. Your customers expect apps to run on both Android and iOS, which are developed in completely unique ways. Occasionally, you’ll also be looking at versions for Windows and macOS too, not to mention a web-based version that works in multiple browsers and browser versions!
Because of this, skilled mobile app developers know how to reuse graphics and code across platforms. They use a cross-platform development model and often take advantage of cross-platform mobile app development tools such as React Native or Xamarin.
Being able to see how you can reuse and rewrite code across a variety of channels is a key skill of being a great mobile app developer.
The user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) are crucial to a mobile app’s success. A good UI provides functional interaction that feels intuitive, loads quickly, and is easy on the eye. This builds a UX that generates customer satisfaction, which can lead to people wanting to use the app time and again.
Mobile app developers spend time ensuring their apps are easy to navigate and feel good to use. This requires a solid understanding of customers’ tastes and preferences. Mobile app development specialists have a keen eye for UI design, making apps that are clear, responsive, and visually distinct.
Mobile apps rarely exist in a vacuum. There’s usually an accompanying website too, and often an application for Windows and macOS. Mobile app specialists must learn to build apps that offer consistent experiences that reflect people’s experiences on corresponding websites and desktop applications. This creates better user experiences because you meet customer expectations across multiple platforms, helping to grow the company brand and improve customer retention.
With all the sensitive information stored on users’ phones, mobile apps must be built with security in mind. Though there are certain safeguards on Android and iOS that minimize damage from malware attacks and malicious software, the onus is on the developer to securely store and transmit sensitive data. 
A security breach can be devastating to any company. Knowledge of potential security attack vectors is an important skill to have for a mobile app developer. So too is a strong understanding of what constitutes secure code, and how you can make your apps safe from malicious users.
Mobile developers work at the cutting edge of technology. Beyond being technically gifted, they must be able to develop applications under pressure and to tight deadlines. Mobile app parameters are in constant flux as project requirements change, so developers should be adaptable and always ready to change code on the fly.
Adaptability helps elsewhere, too. Mobile developers often work in large teams and coordinate with departments that don’t understand the challenges of building mobile apps. Sometimes they work with marketing departments to discuss what’s possible from the new company app, while other times they’re required to share app development progress to clients and stakeholders.
This means mobile app development specialists need strong analytic and critical thinking skills, and be adept at problem-solving. Moreover, the best mobile application developers are highly creative, coming up with new approaches and ideas that haven’t been tried before.
This adaptability makes the difference between a good mobile app developer and a great one.
Mobile app development is a challenge that requires many skills to solve. The best mobile app developers can build secure applications for multiple platforms using several computing languages. They acutely understand what it takes to create great user experiences, and their flexibility helps them thrive in the high-pressure, fast-moving world of app development.
To learn how to become a mobile app development specialist, you can enroll in the best online courses (opens in new tab) on one of the many online learning platforms available today. For ideas for your next mobile app, take a look at our favorite Android apps (opens in new tab).
TechRadar created this content as part of a paid partnership with Udemy. The contents of this article are entirely independent and solely reflect the editorial opinion of TechRadar.
Richard brings over 20 years of website development, SEO, and marketing to the table. A graduate in Computer Science, Richard has lectured in Java programming and has built software for companies including Samsung and ASDA. Now, he writes for TechRadar, Tom’s Guide, PC Gamer, and Creative Bloq.
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