How to Be a Mobile App Developer

October 17th, 2023 / By Rebecca Dykeman

In today’s digital age, modern conveniences fit in our pockets. There are more than 6.9 billion smartphone users worldwide (85% of the global population), and these devices do much more than just communication. They have quickly become the preferred platform for shopping, news, music streaming, entertainment, banking, and more. It seems like everything has a mobile app these days and with new technologies emerging all the time, there’s an increasing demand for mobile app developers across every industry.


a man in a yellow shirt and glasses, smiling in front of a computer in an office Mobile app development is a promising career choice with a growing demand for skilled professionals.

How Long Does It Take to Learn Mobile App Development?

Becoming a mobile app developer is easier today than it ever has been. The learning process itself is flexible as there are many different ways to learn. You can enroll in classes that lead to a certificate, diploma, or degree, as well as many self-guided learning options available, as described here:

Self-Education – There are many tutorials and online resources you can tap into to learn mobile development. You can teach yourself all the necessary skills and practice building apps to shape your portfolio. How long it takes you is entirely dependent on your dedication and the amount of time you spend learning.

Coding Bootcamps – These programs teach basic programming skills which will help you develop a solid foundation for becoming a professional mobile app developer. These programs typically last between 12 to 24 weeks.

Computer Science or Engineering DegreeIn addition to advanced computer engineering and mathematics theory, most undergrad university computer science and computer engineering programs provide you the foundation and skill set for developing mobile apps. A typical bachelor’s degree program in computer science lasts for 4 years.
Career-Focused Diploma Programs – Diploma programs in mobile development focus on building those skills needed by the job market by pairing foundational and mobile development  courses with practical projects to build your portfolio. These programs often incorporate work placements and on-the-job training into your education to help you become career-ready. A typical diploma program can be completed within 1 to 2 years.


a man and a woman looking at two desktop screens that display long lines of code. another man and woman stand in the background behind the screens. Learning how to become a mobile app developer is easier today than it ever has been.


What Does a Mobile Developer Need to Know?

To become a skilled developer, you must learn how to write codes in specific programming languages, work with developer workflow tools and processes, and practice the elements of good mobile design. As Jason Eckert, Dean of Technology at triOS College says “Mobile developers today must have a solid understanding of modern tooling and processes, the technologies used to create Android and iOS apps, as well as the ability to design a solid user experience.”

“In addition to being proficient in core development technologies and programming languages, mobile developers today must have a solid understanding of modern tooling and processes, the technologies used to create Android and iOS apps, as well as the ability to design a solid user experience.” – Jason Eckert, Dean of Technology at triOS College

Platforms – Nearly all mobile apps today are designed to run on Google’s Android platform or Apple’s iOS platform, which are called native apps. However, you can also create websites that provide a tailored user experience for mobile users on any mobile device.

Programming Languages – Mobile apps are built using programming languages that are tailored to specific platforms. For example, Android apps are often written in Java and Kotlin, whereas iOS apps are written in Swift. You can choose to specialize in platform-specific languages or broaden your skill set by learning multiple languages.

Tools – Different platforms also use different tools and software to build their respective apps. For example, Android uses Android Studio while iOS uses Xcode.

Design – Developers need to learn UX (user experience) design, which focuses on enhancing user satisfaction by understanding audience needs and values, and UI (user interface) design, which deals with the visual aspects of design, including colors, typography, layouts, buttons, and user interaction.

Version control – Version control in mobile app development refers to the process of managing and tracking different versions of an app throughout its development cycle. Understanding this is crucial for tracking and managing app versions, finding and fixing bugs in the programming, and ensuring app quality and stability.

a woman holding a piece of paper that has images of mobile screens with text that reads analytics, home, claim, info, submit, analytics, login, receipt Effective mobile app design balances visuals and functionality for a seamless and enjoyable user experience.


Development practices – To ensure that mobile developers can quickly create and evolve their apps over time, they must adhere to a set of practices collectively called Agile development. Scrum and Kanban are the most common Agile development practices that mobile developers work with today.

Mobile App Development Career

Career options may vary depending on the company and the specific job responsibilities. Depending on your educational background, jobs in web development may also be an option because many educational programs cover also the basics of web development. Different roles involve developing and maintaining mobile and web applications for various platforms such as iOS and Android. Some of the job titles include:

Mobile Application Developer – designing, creating, and maintaining mobile applications for Android or iOS platforms

Android Application Developer – designing, creating, and maintaining mobile applications for Android

iOS Application Developer – designing, creating, and maintaining mobile applications for iOS

Software Engineer – working on developing and maintaining software of any kind, which can include mobile apps

Java Developer – utilizing Java programming skills to develop various apps, including mobile apps

Web Designer/Developer – combining mobile development skills with web design knowledge to create responsive and user-friendly websites

Full Stack Developer – building both front-end and back-end components of applications, which can include mobile development as a front end

UI/UX Designer – creating and improving the user interface and user experience aspects of mobile apps, ensuring they are user-friendly and visually appealing

Product Manager – overseeing the development and launch of mobile apps, working closely with development teams and stakeholders to ensure successful product delivery

How Much Do Mobile Developers Make?

Job prospects for mobile developers are attractive worldwide as the industry is constantly growing and evolving. The salary for mobile app developers varies based on location, experience, and employer.

According to Canada’s national employment service, Job Bank, mobile developers make an annual average salary of $77,691. Job sites such as Indeed and Glassdoor report even higher numbers, ranging from $84,564 to $92,375 yearly. Depending on the employer, you may even earn a cash bonus or generous compensation package.

In summary, mobile app development is a dynamic tech career, where expertise in programming languages, UI/UX design, development tools, processes, and version control systems are essential. It’s an accessible field with a growing job market, offering a promising path for tech-savvy individuals interested in using mobile technology to provide stellar experiences for people in today’s digital age. Explore triOS College’s Mobile Developer diploma program today and embark on your exciting journey in this ever-evolving industry!