How to Get into Mobile Development?

Mobile Development

In this article, there's going to be a lot of information about becoming a mobile developer and landing your first mobile development job. We suggest that you read the whole article to the end.

Native Vs Cross-Platform

There are many ways to make mobile applications - natively on Android or IOS or using cross-platform technology. Such as; Xamarin, flutter, Cordova, react, native and the list goes on. But, for someone that’s new to mobile development, my advice is that you should definitely not start with cross-platform technologies.

Pursue learning the native route, there are many ways to write cross-platform applications. The best option at the moment is React Native. But, to write a good React Native application, you need a strong understanding of native mobile development.  

To help you avoid making the same mistakes we encourage you to learn native development, starting with the basics and then gradually upgrading to cross-platform as you go. 

iOS Vs. Android

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s discuss Android and iOS. Here, in the United States, you can have a pretty successful career in either Android or IOS development. 

But there are some important things to consider, the biggest one is android's low cost of entry. You just need a half-decent PC to start making Android apps. However, IOS development requires a Mac operating system. This means that you'll need a Mac or some type of PC that runs the macOS.

Allow us to highlight something. Downloading a hacked version of the macOS on a virtual machine is illegal. Plus, you can’t really write code on a virtual machine on macOS. If you desperately want to, try buying a Mac mini. When we first got into iOS development, my first Mac machine was a Mac mini back in 2016. It costs around $500. They're a little more expensive nowadays, but I'm pretty sure you can get a used one for around the same price. 

So, if you don't have a mac with decent hardware requirements, it's going to cost you a bit to get started in IOS development. That's an important thing to think about. An additional thing to think about is that IOS has a lower user base, but those users are willing to spend money on the app store.

Therefore, if your goal is to make money on the app store, you might want to consider IOS development. Android has more users, but they tend to spend less money on the Google Play Store. However, Android has credible documentation on developing apps for their platform. 

This is a huge reason why many love Android development. But in terms of your career, it doesn't really matter which one you pick. Again, you can have a very successful career in either Android or IOS development.

How to Learn Android or iOS development?

There are a million different ways to learn app development. You could probably do a quick Google search and figure out where to go, but we guess if we were to do it this might be where we’d start. So for android development, I think the best way to start learning is right from the horse's mouth. 

Google, aka the creators of the Android OS, has some free courses specifically designed to teach you the basics of Kotlin and Android development, even if you are brand new to coding. For iOS development, Apple also offers some free courses. Overall, they're a great starting point to begin dabbling in IOS development for free. 

Apple also offers some books around learning swift development, which could also be a good resource to start learning. Tutorials, books, and YouTube channels. But the absolute best way to learn about either Android or IOS development is to get your hands dirty and start developing your own IOS or Android apps. 

These apps don't even have to be unique, you don't even have to publish them to the app store, but it's important that you work on your own apps. Because the thing is, you're going to get stuck a lot, you're going to get frustrated, and you will have to figure out how to solve these problems on your own without any tutorials or books, and these growing pains are pretty crucial for you to become a developer. 

Also, to land your first job, you'll probably need to build a portfolio with these projects. This kind of leads us into my next point.

Getting Your First Mobile Developer Job

Here is how you could go about landing your first mobile development job. It's important that you learn the basics of Git and you build a portfolio on GitHub, or you could even make a website showcasing the apps that you've built.  

Another item you want to build is your portfolio. It's one of those things that's tedius and time consuming to build, but it's something that you need to do to land that first job.

The next thing and probably one of the most important things to landing a mobile developer job is learning best practices. Google has some specific documentation to follow best practices for Android. The best practices you should become most familiar with are architectural best practices and user interfaces (UIs)

Best Practices Android has incredible documentation on architectural best practices. And also, UI best practices in android are known as material design. Again, this is a reason many love Android development. The documentation is so extensive. 

Plus, whenever you have a question, or you need help learning how to use something like a class or part of the Android SDK, you can reference the Android documentation, and you'll probably be all set. So it also has some best practices around the UI in IOS. This is known as the human interface guidelines.

Do some research on best practices, and it's pretty critical that you integrate these best practices into your personal projects. This is going to make you stand out tremendously and will make employers keener on hiring you. 

It’s a Numbers Game

The next and most obvious point to landing your first mobile dev job is you have to make a resume that lists your portfolio projects, along with all the skills that you've acquired along the way. Put a link to your portfolio on it, and once your resume and portfolio are complete, the next thing that you should do is literally apply for every single mobile job that you can land, including remote, local, entry-level, internship, and even event jobs that you aren't interested in.

Your First Mobile Job Timeline

It doesn’t hurt to spend roughly one month learning the basics of either Android or iOS development. After learning the basics, you can spend the next four to five months building your own personal projects because, this is the way you learn Android or IOS development.

You kind of just want to throw yourself in the deep end. You want to struggle a little and, ultimately, this will make you grow the most as a dev, so you may even want to spend that time making your own personal projects, building up that portfolio, reinforcing your resume, and at around the six-month mark, you can start applying for jobs. If you spend about 10 hours a week on development, you could probably land your first mobile development job within six months or so. 

You can take this advice with a grain of salt, because ultimately, it's up to you to figure out how fast you can land your first development job. But either way, we hope you take something away from it.