App development is one of the most diverse and profitable tech industries out there, and it doesn’t require a four-year degree or extensive training just to become qualified for an entry-level position. Although it’s highly competitive, there is still a wide market for app developers who are passionate about their field and treat their tech skills with the same respect and dedication as an artist does their craft. You might enjoy becoming an app developer if the following meets your skillset:
- You like solving problems.
- You are interested in complex design and simplifying things using code.
- You are analytical by nature, but you also appreciate good design.
- You believe in the power of teamwork, and you aren’t afraid to give and receive constructive criticism.
Hard skills in programming and development will be paired with soft skills in communication and project management. Being able to perform your role efficiently is just as vital in the workplace as having the necessary skills. Good developers are always learning. Technology isn’t ever going to stagnate, which means you have to be committed to always sharpening your skills, expanding your knowledge and growing as a professional. Does this sound like you? If so, then you may want to kickstart your career with a self-paced app development course online.
Why Study Online?
Most people who want to become self-taught developers either work full-time or want to avoid a lengthy four-year degree. They feel like they can achieve what they want to learn on their own, and they have enough discipline to follow through with a self-paced course. The beauty of studying online lies in the fact that you are not forced to compromise your current life to further your education. You can work, be with your family and fulfill all your responsibilities while studying when it’s most comfortable and convenient for you.
You set your own hours, create your schedule and choose how to learn. But what really sets an online student up for success is a credible program backed by both industry professionals and students who have gone on to work in the field. These courses have been chosen for their graduation rate and curricula; they give you everything you need to know to get started as a professional, and they’ve already helped thousands of other students just like you land their dream job.
Is a Programming Bootcamp Worth It?
When you are looking up how to become an app developer, you’ll undoubtedly stumble upon ads for bootcamps that offer guaranteed employment and deferred payments until you’re hired. These bootcamps can be useful, and they’re often taught by real professionals with plenty of working experience. However, there is a major drawback. First of all, a programming or coding bootcamp can run anywhere from $10,000 to over $60,000. Even if tuition is deferred until you’re hired, you’ll owe anywhere from 20 to 80 percent of your starting salary. That means you’ll be crippled by student debt to the point you can’t grow financially.
Another issue is that ultra-fast bootcamps that guarantee employment in three to six months typically don’t offer the experience you need to secure a full-time job in today’s work climate. You are applying to jobs that people with several years of experience and college degrees are also vying for. You’ll need more than 12 weeks of intense programming skills to pass the interview tests (there are a lot) and land a position with a good company.
Instead of investing that much money upfront, it’s better to buy individual courses and work through them systematically. Even though these also cost a decent sum of money, they’re more affordable overall. You can even offset the cost by looking into student loans from a private lender. Private student loans don’t come with the same limitations as federal ones, and they also offer more flexible repayment and refinancing options.
The Complete iOS Developer’s Course on Udemy, $124.99
iOS is the gold standard of app operating systems. You’ll learn the fundamentals of making applications for iOS using Xcode8 and Swift3. You’ll also explore advanced elements of iOS app development, including animation, maps, geolocation and more. One of the best features of Udemy is that the courses are often on sale for 80 percent off. Major discounts can drop a class from $125 to $19.99. You can also look for bundle packs that combine this course with others to help you learn more for less money. Check out the Complete Android Development Course offered on the platform to fill out your education.
iOS Development on Udacity, $200/month
Earn a nanodegree in six months with Udacity’s program. No prior programming knowledge or experience is required to begin learning the fundamentals. Throughout the course, you’ll work your way through simple apps to advanced designs using Apple’s Core Data and Central Dispatch. The highlight of this program is the capstone project, which gives you a portfolio-ready application ready for publication on the App Store to show future employers. This is an incredibly valuable asset because it not only tests your programming skills but walks you through the process of testing and deployment as well.
Mobile App Development Professional Degree via Curtin University on edX, $497
This three-course program teaches you how to build your first iOS app using a variety of Apple development tools such as Xcode, Instruments, debugger and more. You will learn and implement the Swift programming language while learning what separates good code from bad code and craft your own style in accordance with industry standards. You will also be guided through the process of getting your own application published on the App Store, which leaves you with a functional product to show employers.
Google UX Design Professional Certificate on Coursera, $49-59/month
If you are more interested in user experience design and development, the UX program by Google is perfect for you. This seven-course professional degree path teaches you everything you need to know to land an entry job in UX in less than a year. You’ll focus on wireframing and low prototyping over programming. You will focus on three projects as you move through the courses: a mobile app, a responsive website and a fully ideated cross-platform experience. This program uses Figma and Adobe XD, two of the core programs and skill sets that employers look for in UX professionals today. If you already have some app development background and want to expand your portfolio and job opportunities, this course is the best way to learn one of the most rapidly evolving and profitable tech niches.
How Long Does It Take to Become an App Developer?
You should expect to spend at least 10 to 20 hours a week studying for at least six months before you are ready to apply for jobs. Spending six to 12 months studying will give you the time you need to master the most concrete skills and build a portfolio that potential employers notice. During this time, you can also look for remote intern opportunities and consider doing freelance work to improve your budding skills and bolster your resume. As you study, it is also a good idea to research companies and consider tailoring your portfolio to suit a particular niche, such as healthcare or retail.