How to Break Into Mobile App Development

According to statistics from Dice, the past year has shown 131 percent growth in jobs for mobile app developers, with top earners getting as much as $115,000. It’s a hot market, and it can pay well. But even if you don’t know a mobile OS today, you can learn — and break in.

More and more companies are making serious financial commitments to mobile app development, so they’re hiring more full time positions.

At Silicon Valley Code Camp, Leslie Stevens-Huffman talked about how to break in. Here’s a series of tips she offered up to help you make the transition and land the job you want.

  • Even if you’ve never built a mobile app, if you know C++, Objective-C, C#, and Java you have transferable programming skills.
  • General transferable skills include basic development experience, a bachelor’s degree, creativity, communications skills and demonstrating how your work can have business value and impact.
  • New competencies you’ll need include mobile OSes and hands-on app development experience, mobile UI and the ability to implement APIs plus adapt Web apps. Plus, your code should be error-free.
  • Attitude goes a long way. You don’t need to have everything that’s required,  because anything you don’t know you can learn through training. If you have a positive, eager attitude and want to learn, people may hire you on that. Rarely are people hired that have all the skills necessary.
  • Understand that when companies need mobile app development they can either buy, build or borrow. Meaning they can hire, train within or pay for contract workers. Keep that in mind as you explore your options to break into the market.
  • Ways you can acquire these skills: toolkits, online tutorials, books and YouTube. Create apps. Partner with someone also learning or who already knows.
  • Employers like certifications because it reduces their risk.
  • You need to build a portfolio. You need samples to show. You must create apps either on the job or on your own. Request critiques.
  • You have to have a tailored pitch. The first third of your resume is the most important. Generic resumes and cover letters don’t cut it anymore.
  • Map your skills and experience to the requirements for the job. Companies don’t just need people who know technology, they need people who can map what they know to the bottom line.
  • What’s out is blending in and what’s in is building your personal brand or developing a marketing campaign that includes social media.

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