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A mobile application development degree online can set graduates on a career path to fascinating work and a high salary, in a rapidly expanding industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that positions for software developers, including app designers, will grow by 24% between 2016 and 2026. Prospective students interested in this degree can review the following guide to learn what the plan of study entails, how the degree can be used, what skills they can gain, and the careers and salaries they can earn.
What is Mobile App Development?
An online mobile app development degree prepares students to work in an exciting and fast-paced industry. Beginning with the invention of smartphones and tablets, there are now more than 800,000 Americans in the industry, with more than 250,000 additional roles projected to be added between 2016 and 2026.
Mobile app developers work in a variety of settings, but hold similar responsibilities regardless of location. These include initial client consultation, designing app software, bug testing, initial client presentation, and refinement prior to launch. Developers recommend future app upgrades, build in special features for short-term needs or fee based services, and stay within easy access if the client needs more work done.
Some mobile app developers work in-house for a single business, while others work under an agency umbrella and offer services to multiple clients. Still others exist in a freelance capacity, taking work from individual customers.
After completing a mobile application development degree online, graduates qualify for entry-level roles in the industry. Through time, effort, and experience, the career path allows for promotion to senior-level positions, managing other junior app developers as they work their way up the ladder.
What Can I Do with an Online Mobile App Development Bachelor's Degree?
The following sections offer concrete information on how to best utilize an online mobile app development degree. Pay close attention to the list of skills and competencies gained from the program, and consider how these translate to a variety of roles. When reviewing common careers and average salaries, think about whether these positions sound appealing and if the pay meets your quality of life needs.
Skills and Knowledge Gained
Online mobile app development degrees provide students with a broad and versatile set of skills that prepare them for myriad roles in the industry. Over the course of their studies, degree seekers can expect to add a variety of expertise to their professional toolbox. Some of the skills and competencies gained are listed below.
Understanding mobile user interface design: Interface design is the front end of the application, essentially how users experience an app while on their device. Designing software that anticipates the expectations of the user is a highly prized skill that takes into account design, organization, optimization, usability, and troubleshooting.
Developing apps across platforms: Companies looking for the highest levels of market utilization know that they must produce apps that users of Apple, Android, and Windows devices can download. Finding a mobile app designer with versatility in all three allows for more possibilities and greater exposure the company.
Organizing backend computing: Though users never see this side of the app, it is just as important as the front end interface. Mobile app developers must design programs that meet requirements around security, database management, memory allowances, hardware interactions, and upgrades.
While students gain most of these skills during the course of their degree, they should also think outside-the-classroom. Individuals who go above and beyond set themselves up as competitive and in demand practitioners. For example, students wanting to work in app development within the political arena could pursue an internship working on a local governmental campaign, helping with software programming.
Careers and Salary Potential
It's no secret that individuals working in the tech industry can earn salaries higher than other fields. Mobile application development degree online graduates are no exception, with the top 10% earning more than $160,000 annually. The degree also translates to a wide number of industries and fields, allowing graduates to find a job that fits their personal and professional needs. Below are a few examples of industries in need of skilled mobile app developers.
- News, media, and other publishing industries: Organizations such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, and Billboard all use apps as part of their customer outreach.
- Business: All industries are branching into or continuing the sophistication of their footprint with mobile apps. Organizations to consider include banks, grocery stores, clothing companies, and airlines.
- Video Game Industry: Video games, once exclusively played on systems such as PlayStation and Xbox, are increasingly creating apps for consumers who want to game on the go.
- Music Industry: Artists, record labels, music magazines, ticketing companies, and event spaces now regularly use apps to further engage with their fan base.
- Non-Profit: Although still an emerging area, nonprofits are starting to use apps to organize volunteer opportunities, spread their missions, and advertise upcoming events.
Annual Median Salary : $105,590
Software developers create the computer programs, apps, and systems that allow the public to perform tasks on their computers, tablets, and smartphones. They design new software, create upgrades, check for bugs, and liaise with clients.
Computer and Information Systems Manager
Annual Median Salary : $142,530
These professionals, also known as IT managers, are responsible for all the computers in their organization. They assess technical needs, order new hardware and software, arrange training, monitor security, and incorporate new technologies.
Annual Median Salary : $84,280
Computer programs develop the codes needed to help applications and software used on computers run smoothly. They use programming languages such as Ruby and Java to design programs that meet their clients' needs.
Computer Systems Analyst
Annual Median Salary : $88,740
After assessing existing systems and networks, analysts in this space make recommendations on improvements. They suggest new technologies that increase efficiency, create budgets, find ways of improving functionality, and manage the installation process.
Computer Hardware Engineers
Annual Median Salary : $114,600
These individuals work to design hardware, such as computers, routers, and external hard drives, that meet the needs of consumers. They develop prototypes, test for bugs, ask for feedback, and continue refining the new item until it meets all identified needs.
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