May 22, 2018

Getting started in app development

hand-apple-iphone-smartphone

For many businesses, applications are incredibly sought-after pieces of programming, and for good reason. Apps allow businesses to tap into the enormous potential of the smartphones that exist in the palms and pockets of everyday people, offering a host of capabilities and features in an easy-to-access, super-fast package.

Developing these apps has become big business, and this, coupled with the reward and thrill of making something that both saves people time and offers them new experiences, has made the app developer’s career a popular one. If you have little or no experience in coding though, how can you get started in this interesting field?

Start small

If you have only a slight amount of experience in the rigours of web and app development, it’s very important not initially to bite off more than you can chew. Choosing what sort of apps you’d like to create first – native, web or hybrid apps (take a look at this NN/g article for more information on each) – you should then start by learning the easier coding languages.

Scripting and programming languages such as JavaScript, Java, QBasic, Python and Blockly are widely regarded as some of the easiest to learn, and give learners an underpinning that they can then apply to the more complex languages used in the industry – C and Swift, for instance.

The right materials

There are heaps of free and easy-to-use learning resources out there that would-be programmers can use to their benefit. Websites such as the popular Codeacademy and user-generated teachyourselftocode.com give users free, lesson-based tutorials where they can make their own sites and apps at their own pace.

Elsewhere, online resources such as the official Android developer site and the MIT App Inventor website are similarly useful, and given that they are produced by top developers themselves, you can rest assured that the lessons they teach are first-rate.

Constant practice

Much like learning a foreign language, coding languages require practice if they are to be used effectively and eruditely. This is definitely the most time-intensive, yet rewarding, step of the career development process, but there are a few tips you can take on board in order to make it more bearable and productive.

First, don’t fall into the milestone trap, plucking a date from the top of your head and saying to yourself: “I want to learn x by x”. With this goal-setting method, if you find a particular portion of the learning process difficult and miss your self-imposed deadline, you’ll be more likely to give up entirely.

Instead, make sure you practice for a set amount of time each day. This way you will consistently be refreshing yourself, cementing the new information in your memory.

Digestible projects

As you learn new languages and skills, test your abilities by creating small projects – in particular children’s or web-based applications that perform simple tasks. By actually having to think about and apply the skills you’ve learned in a practical context, your abilities will improve and you’ll become more adept at solving problems that arise from blue-sky – not simply lesson-prescribed – thinking.

App development is a fast-growing field that makes for an exciting career. For more information, take a look at GSM London’s app development for digital business course.

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