As we depend more and more on software for everyday things, the need for application developers is increasing, making this niche an awesome career. CNN Money even named application development the best job in America. That’s not only because the median annual income of developers is $97,000, not even though there’s a potential of 19% growth in this field over the next decade. One of the best things about this line of work is that app developers have extremely flexible working hours and can even work full-time from home or on a freelance basis.
And the cherry on top, you don’t need to have a college degree like an engineer or a surgeon to become a developer. The five steps below will be enough to get you started.
Learn a Programming Language
The most important skill that you’ll need in order to be an application developer is being able to communicate with computers. That is done with the help of programming languages. Programming languages tell the computer exactly what to do and how to do it. There are two parts to any programming language, the syntax (think of this as the grammar of the language) and the logic, which tells the machine the steps of the process you are telling the machine to do.
There are more than 300 programming languages out there, but you can be a professional developer by learning the three most important ones.
- Java – Java is a multi-purpose programming language that is used to create server-side applications. It is compatible with a large variety of platforms, including Windows, the internet, and Android devices.
- Python – Python is often called the easiest programming language and is also one of the most widely used ones. It is a great place to get started due to its versatility.
- C/C++ – C and C++ are the most commonly used languages for system programming and are great for game development too. These are very closely related and can be learned together.
The main thing to grasp when learning is the logic because the same logic applies in all languages, more or less, to solve similar problems. Once you’re great at developing the logic, you’ll only have to learn the syntax to start using a new language.
Developing an application is easy, but developing a secure application is not. If you want to be a successful developer, learning application security is as important as programming languages. This is important because when you are developing an application and people are using it, they trust you with their data and privacy. If the security of your app is compromised, that can lead to severe damages and losses for the users, and you might end up in trouble.
The thing about app security is that it is a constantly evolving field. You can learn a programming language once and keep using it for as long as you want, but the app security environment is always changing. New threats are detected every other day, and you need to be on top of them always.
Learning application security can also enable you to use the DevSecOps model in your projects, which is the most effective, efficient, and safe for the application development process.
While a college degree is typically not needed to work on application development gigs, you still need to have something to show the potential employer/client that you are skilled enough to undertake and complete their project. That’s where certifications come into play. A great point to start is the CompTIA IT Fundamentals. It will help you evaluate yourself and decide whether a career in this field is good for you or not. Once you decide to join this line of work, you can get certifications in data security, cloud computing, or data management.
Work on Your Non-Technical Skills
Learning how to code is just a small part of being an application developer. You’ll need to have many more skills to be successful. Top of the list of these is communication. As a developer, you need to be able to effectively communicate with clients/employers who are often non-technical people. A large part of application development is understanding the client’s requirements and conveying what is possible and what cannot be done.
Besides that, a developer needs to be incredibly creative, an out-of-the-box thinker, and a great team worker.
Decide How You’d Like to Do It?
You can pursue a career in application development in many different ways. You can work as an independent developer on a freelance basis, make a studio of your own and build a brand around it, join an office, or work from home for a company. As a matter of fact, it’s this flexibility that makes this niche so attractive.
Once you make up your mind to be a developer, you need to decide which format will be the most suitable for you. If you want a simple 9 to 5 job, join a team. If you want to work on your own time and have minimum social interaction, you can work from home. If you travel a lot, freelancing is a good option, and if you have the entrepreneurial spirit, you can start your own development studio and eventually turn it into a large business.
Application development is one of the most lucrative lines of work due to the high median income and flexibility. If you want to start your career as a developer, first of all, you’ll need to learn a programming language. Next is to familiarize yourself with application security protocols and the DevSecOps model. Once you are confident in your skills, get the relevant certifications to let the clients know that you know what you are doing. You can do work as a developer in an office, from home, or on a freelance basis; the possibilities are endless.