AppDev skills unmasked
Skills are cheap. Passion is priceless.
(Here’s a fancy web version of this post.)
In this post I share my views on what skills are necessary and desirable to develop mobile apps. I started with a desire to build some apps and the belief I could work out how.
Curiosity and desire
Steve Jobs said, “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” While curiosity and desire are not strictly skills, they are key personality traits. To help ensure you are addressing a real problem that you are passionate about refer to How I generate app ideas.
There are two ways to create an app. You can either hire the services of a developer or, as I do, code it yourself.
Hiring a developer e.g. via Upwork, depending on the complexity of the app, can cost thousands to develop the first version plus on-going updates. To help ensure you get what you want, you’ll need to hire wisely, provide a clear specification and work closely with the developer.
If you are able to, coding the app yourself is far cheaper in the long run (although your time is not free) and changes can be made more quickly. It is, however, challenging to keep up-to-date with the ever changing Apple iOS and Android operating system capabilities and mobile devices on which your app can run.
My apps are being developed for Apple iOS iPhones and iPad, initially. Apple developers use the Xcode IDE (Integrated Development Environment) and the iOS coding language is Swift. Free Swift training materials are at Hacking With Swift. For Android development I plan to use Android Studio and code in Kotlin.
The Mobile UX Design Principles article and Mobile Usability book provide great insights on app design. The design needs to:
Grab user interest within seconds.
Focus on what the user is trying to achieve.
Make navigation and other interaction intuitive, efficient and effective, e.g. minimise data input and provide clear feedback.
Provide a consistent experience across different devices.
App icons need to be designed which are engaging, consistent across devices, scalable (work well at different sizes) and comply with iOS and Android guidelines.
Web site coding
Planning and organisational skills are required to ensure the various activities are completed and come together, particularly if you are working with others. If you wish to make money from your apps then commercial skills are required, including finding a viable app idea, financial management and marketing, using ASO (App Store Optimisation).
How to build a mobile app empire video with Chad Mureta
MobileApp marketing and monetization book by Alex Genadinik
Don’t Make Me Think article about Steve Krug’s work
In next Sunday’s post I’ll explain which tools and other resources I use to develop Scarper, Nip To and other mobile apps.
Until next Sunday, consider how good it would feel to code your own app.
In https://instalarapp.com/play-store/ you can find great ideas and compare them with yours.