As you might guess, mobile development is the process of creating applications that work on mobile devices running iOS or Android OS, and web development is the process of creating websites and web applications that work in web browsers. Both of these fields are always evolving. For example, in the web development space, the trend is moving towards single-page applications(SPAs) and responsive web design, and mobile development is moving beyond just smart phone apps to encompass smart watches and other wearable devices.
However, at the end of the day, app development on any platform comes down to determining user needs, designing and coding software solutions to meet them, and providing ongoing maintenance and user support to ensure your application continues working as intended.
Of course, just like other types of software developers, mobile and web developers depend on a lot more than just coding skills. Taking an application through the entire development process requires familiarity with development methodologies, the ability to work with teammates as well as users, and the combination of creativity and logical thinking that characterizes a developer’s problem-solving mindset.
Mobile developers and app developers are in high demand across a wide variety of industries, making this a great career path. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for software developers building applications specifically was $103,620 in 2018. For a sense of the range of salaries found, the lowest 10% in these roles earned less than $61,660 annually, and the highest 10% earned more than $161,290.
Web developers, meanwhile, receive somewhat lower salaries on average, although this is still a fast-growing occupation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for web developers was $69,430 as of 2018, with the lowest 10% earning less than $37,930 and the highest 10% earning more than $124,480.
Absolutely. Online courses are a great way to build your mobile and app development skills on a flexible schedule, with a wide range of options to suit your career trajectory and your ultimate goals.
On the mobile side, you can take courses on iOS app development and Android app development, along with specialized courses in areas like Objective-C app development, Kotlin, App Inventor, or broader topics like game design, user interface design, and networking and security for apps.
In addition to online courses, Coursera offers short Guided Projects to help you practice and hone your skills.
Before starting to learn mobile and web development, you should typically have basic computer use experience. For a Specialization, you don’t generally need any special computer skills to get started, but you should have strong reading skills and critical thinking skills. It typically can help, though, if you have some basic experience with topics like HTML or graphic design. For the more advanced mobile and web development courses, it might help you to have knowledge of CSS, DOM, or Bootstrap, which is also called a front-end framework.
People who enjoy balancing creativity with analytical work are typically the best suited for roles in mobile and web development. Creativity can be important when developing a visually appealing website or mobile app. Analytical thinking can be important when making sure the app functions properly. People who have solid communication skills, who are highly organized, and who are good at time management can also be well suited to work in mobile and web development. Additionally, people who enjoy using technology and social media can typically do well in this field.
Web developers, web designers, UX designers, and front-end developers are some of the common career paths for someone in mobile and web development to consider. Technical communication and project management are also career paths someone in this field could try. People who are interested in security issues could also consider the career path of cybersecurity. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, mobile and web developers can also be self-employed as publishers, management consultants, and in the field of advertising.
Graphic design and content writing are two topics you can study that are related to mobile and web development. Graphic design can typically help you learn how to create a more visually appealing website. Learning content writing can potentially help you learn how to make the information on your website more interesting and user friendly. You could also study how to use some app development tools, like Google Cloud Platform or the Swift 5 iOS Application Developer. Additionally, you could study networking and security principles.