Mobile phones are everywhere. People are using them more than ever. More than just telecommunications devices, smartphones are now the premier tools that people use to connect with one another, work, entertain themselves, and accomplish their goals.
Why have these little devices taken over? Obviously, their portability and connectivity cannot be denied. They’re also reasonably inexpensive, all things considered. Then there are apps. Mobile apps are programs, designed for use on the small screen and the bandwidth offered by mobile data plans. They perform a variety of functions, and are used by students, business professionals, gamers, families, and more.
There are apps for shopping, playing games, emailing, collaborating with coworkers, finding your way around the city, increasing your productivity, learning new languages...the list could go on forever.
The popularity of apps has led to an increase in demand for app developers. Whether you want to join the IT team of a large corporation to develop apps for internal use, build an app to enhance your own business, develop cool apps to sell on the App Store, or Google Play, or simply engage in this as a hobby, you have to develop the right skills.
The good news is that you don’t need to dedicate years of your life to learning how to develop apps. You also don’t need to pay a significant amount of tuition money. App development is absolutely something that works well for self directed learners. To get started, check out these 10+ apps and websites.
Udemy is an online training marketplace. Its course offerings are quite broad. Fortunately, it’s very easy to scope out Udemy’s mobile app development courses. Just enter ‘App Development’ into the search function on the website, and you’ll be led to an expansive course listing.
Each listing includes the name of the course, the amount of time it will take you to complete the course, a description, and the audience for whom the course is targeted. The listings also contain the price, and ratings from other students.
As of this writing, there were more than 200 pages of mobile app development courses available. Some of these are intended for very general audiences, and are ‘Intro to:’ courses. If you are interested in specializing, or taking advanced courses, don’t let this put you off. There are plenty of classes here that delve into some pretty specific niches such as, a course for creating 2D art for gaming.
edX has an impressive collection of app development courses. Even better, they’re free. These courses have been sourced from Microsoft, MIT, and other top organizations. The site also contains some very helpful information on the growth and marketability of app development as a chosen career.
You have a lot of options here. You can choose courses to take one at a time, and design your own course of study. There are also professional certification programs. Some edX courses are live and are taught using video with an instructor. Others have been archived. You can take those at your own pace.
If you simply want to learn app development skills, you can take these courses for free. However, if you need to obtain any sort of certification, there is usually a nominal. Still, this cost is much less than what you would absorb learning the same skills at a college or university.
TreeHouse is a subscription based, online community for people who want to pursue a career as a developer. Once you become a subscriber, you can access a variety of tech courses that are available through their online library. The minimum subscription is 25 dollars a month with tiered pricing go up from there.
All learning here is self-directed. You can access videos on demand as well as coding challenges. A subscription also includes access to the online community. Members can also receive course recommendations that are based upon their specific career goals.
Official Android Developers Site
If you want to develop Android apps, this is the place to be. This is a huge resource of tools, developer guides, code samples, best practices, training courses, and tutorials on Android app development. It even has a page with a huge selection of downloads that you can use to make your apps even better. This is also where you can download Android Studio, and learn about all of the features available in that product.
If you want to be sure, your current system is ready for mobile app development, you can get a list of all the specs you need from this site. Take a look around, this is an absolute must for Android developers at every stage of the learning process. You can use this resource for every step of the development process from design to development to testing to deploying your app on Google Play.
Coursera is another hugely popular, online learning resource. Some courses are free, others are not. However, there is often an option to explore some of the course materials first, before you make a payment. Courses are designed and delivered by instructors from a variety of colleges and universities. This includes, Vanderbilt, The University of Maryland, and the Hong Kong University of Science And Technology.
With Coursera, you can develop skills by taking specific courses, enroll in a specialization, obtain a professional certificate, even obtain a degree from a cooperating university.
When it comes to mobile app development, Coursera has a lot to offer. There are courses here that are designed for both Android and iOS developers. There are even opportunities to explore advanced concepts such as VR and AR.
If you click on a course that interests you, all of the details you need are right there. You can learn who will be teaching the class, what the class covers, and what you need to do to earn a passing grade. Ratings and reviews are available for each class. This gives you some great insights from students who have taken the class before you.
Paresh Mayani is a well-known android developer. He’s appeared as a presenter on multiple occasions, and has made his mark developing tutorials for emerging app developers. He has created Technotalkative as a centralized for both his app development guides, and his thoughts on mobile app development.
Once you’ve begun working on some Android projects, go ahead and check out this blog. Mayani also has a pretty impressive presence over on GitHub. Take a look over there as well. You’ll find that his content is chock full of useful information for app developers at all levels.
iOS Dev Center
If you pursue iOS development, this will become your go to resource. This is the official source of the information you need when it comes to designing, building, and deploying your iOS apps. The site has blog posts, video tutorials, and so much more. Have you ever considered what it takes to make your apps accessible to disabled users? What about developing apps that can be used on a global scale? Apple has helpfully provided all of this information for you, and much more.
Like Android’s official site, this is also where you will download the developer kit you need, and where you can take part in community resources. You won’t just learn about developing iPhone apps either. Here, you can also learn about developing apps for Apple Watch, MacOS, and TVOS. Check out these tools, guides, frameworks, and accessories.
Lynda is one of the original online learning sites. Now it has been partnered with LinkedIn, and is more robust than ever. It has more than 200 courses and 6500 video tutorials, just on topics related to app development. You can sort and filter the courses offered by software, author, and skill level required.
For each app development course that interests you, it’s super easy to find the information you need. All you have to do is click or tap to learn about the length of the course, how it’s presented, and details about the subject matter. Lynda will even curate information about related courses that are available. If it applies, you can even download a zip file with all of the class exercises and other information you may need.
If you are just beginning, consider taking a few individual courses. If you are pursuing a specific career, or career path at your job, consider following one of the many, dedicated learning paths. If you subscribe to LinkedIn learning, you can access all of the courses available on Lynda for free.
PluralSight is another fee based program. You can pay monthly, or annually. There are also business and enterprise level memberships. Once you join, you can begin accessing the course library the creators of PluralSight have developed.
PluralSight gives you the option to take courses, follow a learning path, or take assessments to learn exactly where your skills are at any given time. You can pick up a variety of in demand skills including HTML5, Bootstrap, Angular JS, Ionic Framework, and NativeScript.
Of course, you need more than hard skills to become a great app developer. It’s also important that you understand the impact of great UI, and how to bring that to your apps. There are also differences between deploying apps for personal use, and apps that will be used an an enterprise level. There are courses here that cover this information as well.
Udacity is a wildly popular learning source, and they have courses for both iOS app development as well as Android. Whether you are a beginner seeking to learn a couple of development languages and the ins and outs of each platform, or are an advanced coder interested in delving deep into complex topics, you can find a lot here.
With Udacity, you can select from their free course offerings, or opt for their paid courses. Paid courses can be taken for credits towards a ‘nanodegree’. If you aren’t sure where to begin, check out Udacity’s career paths. There are several paths for both beginners and experienced developers.
SkillShare is a great educational site where you can take classes on a wide variety of subjects. One of these subject areas is mobile app development. Here you will find general ed courses in mobile design, iOS and Android app development, as well as training a variety of related languages and technologies. There are even courses in UI design. This is a skill app developers must have in order to build apps that gain traction with users.
SkillShare is unique in that it focuses on both skills based classes and providing education on other topics that are relevant to app developers. For example, you can take a course on SWIFT, and take a class on developing your portfolio so that you can market yourself as an app developer.
Many of the classes available on SkillShare are absolutely free. However, there is a premium version that does give students access to additional courses and materials.
Your Local Community College
If you haven’t considered your local community college, please do. They aren’t just there to serve the needs of young students who want to transfer to four year colleges. They are community institutions created to serve the educational and training needs of the community. This includes you.
Not only is it likely that you will find app development courses, there are probably many available online. You’ll be able to learn from home, earn credits, and develop the skills you need. Best of all, you will pay much less than you would at a traditional four year university. You might even be eligible for financial aid.
As long as mobile device usage continues to grow, so will the demand for mobile app developers. Fortunately, this is a field with a very low barrier to entry. Anyone who has the desire can learn the skills they need, and keep them up to date. The resources listed here are just a starting point. Check them out, and get started on a fun and lucrative pursuit.