It never fails to amaze us the breadth and diversity of uses for collecting, sorting, selling products or sharing data with an app. We have built apps to track electrical certification and compliance, to collect data about cows on dairy farms, to sell organic haircare products and to help keep track of candidate timesheets in construction recruitment. However, no matter what the application (if you’ll pardon the pun), there are a core set of skills which tend to make a great app developer.
What is an app developer?
App developers design and build mobile applications for PCs, mobile phones and tablets. At 4FX and our sister company CodeHub 200, our team of app developers get involved with a range of industries to help them find digital solutions that solve every day business challenges.
What does an app developer do?
Ultimately, app developers evaluate, assess and problem solve.
There are many elements to the role which is all about creating mobile, web or native applications that are fit for purpose and work well for the end user.
Activities can include evaluating existing applications, updating code to meet changing trends or requirements, meeting clients for briefings and review meetings, testing source code, debugging, developing user interfaces from wireframe and designing user experience.
What technical skills do you need to be an app developer?
To be a good all round app developer for mobile and web, it is essential to develop a range different technical skills. These include:
- UX design – which focuses on simplifying the features of the app for users to intuitively know how to use it
- UI design – this determines how engaging and interactive an app is by using colour, text and user prompts
- Knowledge of a range of programming languages is vital, such as C++, Swift (iOS), Java, Kotlin and Xamarin
- Cross-platform development knowledge is beneficial for developing apps for both iOS and Android
- Cybersecurity awareness ensures that you and the data your app collects are designed to be secure
What personal skills do you need to be an app developer?
We asked our co-founder and Director, Chris Coomber, for his thoughts in this one.
Reflecting on our client projects, our development team and their careers to date in app and software development, here are his top six traits for a great app developer:
- Natural problem solvers lend themselves to app development. Often they are like a dog with a bone and won’t stop searching for a solution until they find one.
- Being curious and inquisitive is essential. You always need to be asking why? Why is it important? Is there a better way to do that? What will this do? How will this improve the user experience?
- Tenacity. See point one. Good app developers will keep going to fix a problem and find a solution.
- Commercial awareness is important from the client’s point of view. They want customers to buy, share or interact with a functional app to achieve a business objective, not just create a gimmick.
- The ability to work alone or as part of a team is important. A large proportion of the role is working alone coding, but there is a lot of communication required and being able to take briefs, explain actions to clients and work through problems with teammates is essential.
- Business acumen. See point one and three. Ongoing problem solving is a skill, but you need to know when you are burning through budget on a problem that could be solved in seconds by a fresh perspective from a colleague.
Thinking about a career that makes you ‘appy?
Contact the 4FX team on 01908 375200 to discuss career opportunities or find out more about our work at www.4fx.co.uk.