Pro Tips: How to Become a Mobile Developer

Mobile devices have countless applications for personal and business use. People use them to stay connected wherever they go, and companies rely on the flexibility to create a more productive workforce. It's not surprising that the mobile development market is rapidly growing, with $189 billion in revenue expected by 2020. If you're interested in a career in this industry, now is an excellent time to get involved.

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Education Needed

The academic achievements required for a mobile development career vary significantly, depending on the company you want to work for. Some mobile developers are fully self-taught and frequently run their own agencies or operate as freelancers.

Companies frequently look for people who graduated with a computer science, mobile development, software development or software engineering bachelor's degree. If you want to move up into a leadership position, you may need to get additional certifications or a master's degree to climb the ladder.


Your education costs can vary significantly depending on whether you go to a public university, a technical school, a community college or a for-profit college. In general, you're going to spend anywhere from $3,000 to $30,000 per year. The high end of this estimate includes for-profit schools and universities featuring specialized, accelerated mobile development degrees.

If you're interested in a mobile development career, many of these schools offer financial aid packages, and you may have access to student loans, grants and scholarships.

Skills and Experience

Each company has its own set of criteria for an ideal mobile developer, but here are some things that hiring managers often look for in resumes:

  • Android development
  • iOS development
  • Hands-on experience shipping mobile applications
  • Portfolio of mobile development work
  • Participating in mobile open source development projects
  • Experience working on a development team
  • UX/UI knowledge


Mobile development is an in-demand skill, with the salary to match. You can earn an average of $72,000 per year with this job. When you work as an employee for a company, you typically have a salaried, full-time position. If you freelance, have your own mobile development agency or subcontract with another company, your pay may come in a flat rate or hourly form.

A Day in the Life of a Mobile Developer

A typical work day for a mobile developer involves working closely with a software development team. You go to a meeting with the stakeholders, client or your project manager to find out what's on the agenda for the day. Most of your day is spent working on code, troubleshooting bugs and collaborating with the rest of the team.

You may spend many hours in deep concentration as you put together your part of a mobile app, with breaks to wait for the code to compile. Generally, you work a regular 9-5 schedule except when you're getting close to deadlines or an app ship date. Your days may end up much longer during crunch time.


A career in mobile development offers excellent prospects over the short- and long-term. Mobile devices continue to act as a cornerstone of modern life, and programmers who know how to put apps together are desirable for many industries. You have several paths you can take, whether you want to work for an international enterprise or start your own development shop.

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