If a couple of centuries ago, in different parts of the world, people were massively seized by the Gold Rush, now we can say with confidence that the modern world is completely absorbed by the mobile fever. Is there at least one person in your environment who does not use a smartphone? Hardly. Smartphone sales are growing at lightning speed, and manufacturing companies are investing fabulous sums in mobile technologies, their development and popularization in the market. Mobile development is a very rapidly growing area of programming, because the number of mobile devices significantly exceeds the number of personal computers, and this trend will only grow.
While Elon Musk continues to work on the colonization of Mars and chipping the human brain, we continue to use mobile phones everywhere – at work, at school, at home, on vacation … The demand for mobile application developers is growing at the same pace, but unlike front-end and backend developers, the market is not yet saturated with mobile developers, so now is the time to start exploring this promising area.
Let’s take a detailed look at what is meant by mobile application development and how relevant it is, who is a mobile application developer programmer, what skills he needs to master, where to start learning and what tools are used to develop mobile applications. Also, we will tell you what stages this process consists of, what is the cost of developing applications for smartphones and how much it pays off, we will figure out what the salary of a mobile developer is and how to make money on this for a beginner.
Who is a mobile app developer?
Mobile developers are those people who breathe life into soulless mobile boxes, some kind of shamanic spellcasters who speak a foreign language and can do almost everything, and sometimes this is true. But also these are the people who drive progress forward, creating more and more advanced and complex programs. A good programmer is not only knowledge of languages and technologies, it is also the skills of systems thinking, since he has to create complex systems from nothing, it is also the ability to work in a team, since it is difficult to write a serious project alone, this is the ability to communicate and understand customer to create exactly the product he wants.
A mobile application developer, also known as a Mobile developer and Mobile programmer, is a programmer who develops software applications for all kinds of mobile devices, most often for smartphones and tablets. It is with the advent of voice and gesture interfaces on mobile devices that the profession of a mobile developer is now rightfully considered the most fashionable and in demand.
All mobile developers can be divided into two categories, depending on the software for which they create programs – iOS developers and Android developers. Specialists from the first category are considered the most profitable in the labor market, moreover, after the appearance of the Swift and Objective-C languages, creating applications for Apple has become very easy and convenient. Programmers who create applications for Android use the Java language, which is considered the most reliable for developing mobile applications for this operating system.
What are the main tasks of a mobile application developer:
- creation of technical specifications (terms of reference) for the development of a mobile application;
- discussion with the customer of the stages and progress of the project;
- building the application architecture;
- direct programming;
- work with designers;
- support for mobile applications;
- work with testers on debugging and testing applications;
- assistance in creating instructions for working with the finished application;
- placement of applications in the AppStore and Google Play Market, Amazon Appstore, Opera Mobile Store and other mobile application stores.
In general, the main task of the developer is to create a convenient mobile application that will work flawlessly, as well as be intuitive, useful and multifunctional for the end user, and, of course, profitable for the customer.
The career path of a mobile developer is approximately as follows: trainee, junior or junior mobile application developer, then Middle and Senior mobile developer (at these stages, you can get the position of a team leader, that is, the head of a development team of a certain level), project manager and head of the development department. Of course, this is what the ideal path of a mobile developer looks like, but it is different for everyone.
Mobile app development – what is it?
The concept of developing mobile applications for smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices includes writing program code in order to create programs that will work on certain mobile platforms (today there are 2 main platforms for mobile operating systems – Android and iOS, and less popular Windows Phone and Symbian). These programs and applications may be pre-installed on mobile phones, personal digital assistants, corporate digital assistants, smartphones and other mobile devices before the devices fall into the hands of the user, or downloaded by users to the device directly during use.
The user interface of mobile applications plays a very important role in the process of creating an application, because the interface is the connecting link between the hardware and software of the mobile device and the focus of user interaction.
When developing a mobile application, developers should always consider how much attention is limited to the size of the screen, how to reduce the number of keystrokes, and how to fit the required set of functions into the application in the most compact way. Therefore, for mobile developers, the process of developing mobile applications is often not limited to just writing code for the task, mobile application development includes a wider and more creative range of activities.
What services are included in the development?
Mobile application development services can also be divided depending on the platform for which the application will be created. Basic services include
- Application development for iOS.
- Application development for Android.
- Development of VR, AR, MR applications.
Many studios offer full turnkey project creation and management. In this case, the package of services for the development of a mobile application may include:
- Analysis of the task, full immersion in the project (including analysis of the competitive environment) and search for possible existing IT solutions.
- Preparation of a concept and development of a design solution (UX / UI / IA-design), TOR (terms of reference for developers).
- Development of mobile functionality.
- Testing, debugging and auditing.
- Implementation of the application (implementation, maintenance and support).
- Connecting analytics, publishing an application in online application markets.
Both studios and private specialists can be asked to develop a complete package, or help with individual tasks. For example, if you already have a prepared terms of reference and developed a concept, and you only need to write the code part, this will be a separate independent service.
How relevant is mobile app development?
Smartphones and other mobile devices have not only become part of our daily lives, they are a complete offer of us. With the help of mobile phones, we not only communicate with each other, but also order goods from stores, buy tickets, book accommodation, call a taxi, use phones as navigators, photo and video cameras, readers, online banks, and just as a way to have fun and pass time. According to statistics published in Datareportal, 67% of adults worldwide use smartphones daily, which is almost 5.19 billion people (out of a total population of 7.75 billion). The trend towards the transition from simple mobile devices to feature-rich smartphones is only increasing every year.
It is assumed that in the near future a person will be directly connected with his smartphone, that is, all functions and all information from our gadgets will directly enter our brain. And while many inventors are working on it, people are wasting their time on seemingly useless apps like a low-frequency mosquito repeller, a watermelon ripeness indicator, a bubble wrap simulator, or an app that visually transforms a smartphone screen into a glass of beer.
In short, the relevance of mobile application development is growing not only every year, but also every month. Hundreds of new mobile apps are released online every day. It would seem difficult to come up with something new, but good developments in collaboration with good marketing can bring a lot of money to the creator, a clear confirmation of this is the recently sensational TikTok, whose ratings continue to grow at lightning speed.
What does a mobile app developer need to know?
A mobile application developer, like any other programmer, must have both technical skills and personal qualities to successfully work in a team – soft skills. In this case, the following soft skills are needed:
- Structural and analytical thinking;
- Communication skills;
- Creativity and creativity;
- Willingness and ability to self-learn;
- A responsibility.
You will have to sweat harder with technical skills, but using modern programming languages that are used to develop mobile applications for Android or iOS, it is quite possible to create your first creation in a month. You can develop some simple games and even make a profit from them after monetization, but learning the profession of a mobile programmer is far from exhausted. If you go to Google Play or the AppStore, you will see that most of these applications, and especially in games (if you look closely, there will be 8 out of 10 such games). A simple application can be created by every average developer, but in order not to remain in the ranks of the “average”, you will have to work hard to create something really interesting and original, and most importantly, of high quality. To do this, you will need the following skills:
- CSS and HTML, Cocoa/Xcode development environments, Objective-C/С++ programming languages, Java;
- HTTP, XML, principles of object-oriented programming, DBMS;
- Knowledge of Android, iOS SDK, design patterns, common libraries and architecture of iOS, Android, scripting programming languages (Ruby, Python), principles of client-server model of application interaction;
- Knowledge of the requirements for application releases in the AppStore and Google Play;
- Skills in working with Core Data (Apple’s proprietary local database, which is built like SQL) are in demand;
- Ability to understand other people’s code;
- Proficiency in technical English.
Where does training start? How to learn?
So you’ve decided to try your hand at mobile app development, where do you start? To become a mobile app developer, you first need to have a solid foundation. Experienced programmers are advised to start their studies with computer science (computer science) or software engineering (software engineering), data structures of classical algorithms, hash tables and so on. It is necessary to understand the basic concepts that are used in programming and do not depend on the programming language or device. It will be useful to know the basics of C ++, although many consider it already obsolete. This is partly true, but these are the basics of the foundations without which Java and PHP would not have arisen. Also, it will be useful to learn about data protection, encryption, network protocols and the unix kernel.
Really high-quality software is not only a program that works without errors, it is a user-friendly interface and well-thought-out logic of work, taking into account all possible outcomes of events and options for their development.
A sought-after mobile app developer is someone who pays attention to details and is constantly looking for new, interesting, out-of-the-box solutions.
Knowledge of English at least at an intermediate level is also very important. Why is it necessary? Because mobile platforms are currently developing very quickly, every year a new version of a particular platform appears. In addition, all new documentation appears on the Internet in English and they simply do not have time to physically translate it into Russian or Ukrainian. Therefore, knowledge of the English language will allow you to quickly study the documentation, apply various new features and application elements, and keep up with the current trend in this development.
If we talk about the development of mobile applications for dummies, then on the Internet there are a huge number of different resources, sites, online lessons, videos on how to learn how to work with a particular mobile platform from scratch, be it Android or IOS. You can choose absolutely any, the main thing is that it is clear to you, interesting, and that you like it. Google and Apple have two main development sites for their specific operating system: developers.google.com, developer.apple.com. Moreover, each of these sites is localized into Russian, although, again, not all documentation is translated from English.
Development of mobile applications for children
A separate, noteworthy topic is mobile programming for children. Today, absolutely every child spends an incredible amount of time with their smartphone or tablet. At the same time, in almost 100% of cases, children play games or watch videos on YouTube, but this hobby can be redirected into a very promising and practical direction. Having mastered the skills of creating games and applications at an early age, a child can grow up to be a very versatile and in-demand programmer, because, having become interested in programming in childhood, most likely in the future he will want to expand his skills and knowledge, and replenish the stock of new programming languages.
What is mobile app development done for?
First of all, these are the platforms that we use every day with our smartphones – Android and iOS, they occupy approximately 95% of the entire mobile device market. The rest goes to Linux, Windows, Symbian and other less popular platforms.
In addition to smartphones, we can also include tablets, electronic watches, fitness trackers, and a huge number of new gadgets, which appear more and more every year, for example, glasses with augmented reality and smart TV. All these devices often also use our main 2 platforms, and applications for them can be attributed to mobile development.
How to develop mobile applications? What tools do you have and what do you need?
The very first thing to develop mobile applications is to learn programming languages. Different languages are suitable for different platforms, so you first need to decide on the platform you are interested in, and then on the language.
Development of mobile applications for Android is most often done in Java, the good old object-oriented, high-level language in which more than 90% of all applications for Android are written. Over the past six months, the new Kotlin language has gained great popularity. So far, about 5% of applications on Google Play are written in Kotlin, but the number of these applications is growing every year.
If we talk about the iOS platform, then two main languages also used here – Objective C, which is also the first language that was developed by Apple for writing applications for iOS. And the second language is a more advanced and more modern Swift. If we talk about supporting old proposals that were written earlier, then here you definitely need to know Objective C, while new applications are increasingly being written in Swift.
It is worth mentioning that C++ is sometimes used for both platforms. It is used when you want to get the best performance from your application.
It is very rare, but still possible, to find the use of languages such as Python, C # and Unity in mobile development, especially after the release of new frameworks and libraries for them, because by default these languages do not have built-in tools for mobile devices. For example, the release of the Kivy Python framework has rapidly promoted the use of the Python language in mobile programming.
What are the features of mobile application development?
The main feature in the development of mobile applications lies in the form factor of the devices themselves, for which we write programs, because these are smartphones, tablets that have a small or small screen, or a non-standard (square, rectangular) screen. In addition, if we take a smart watch, then this is a 2×2 cm screen, or even a round screen. Therefore, a very important point in creating a mobile application is the so-called User Experience, that is, interaction with the user.
The next important point in the development of mobile applications is the wide variety of devices for which we want to create an application. That is, when an application is created, it can only be calculated for smartphones, or for smartphones / tablets / watches, for various augmented reality devices, or it can be calculated for interaction between several screens at the same time.
In order for an application to work on the full range of different mobile devices, we need to provide different ways to interact with this application, as well as different ways to display information in this application.
Another important feature is the constant interaction with the Internet. Historically, mobile applications have been fairly lightweight applications that do not carry a lot of computational logic. Initially, mobile devices had rather modest computing power, but now they are able to wipe their noses with any computer of a decade ago. But even with modern multi-core processors and a huge amount of RAM, performance still remains the main factor in creating mobile applications. Therefore, most of the computational logic that is in the application is the interaction with the Internet and with cloud services.
Stages of mobile application development
Let’s say you have already mastered one of the necessary languages for writing a mobile application and decided to create your first independent project. What will the mobile application development plan look like? The approach to determining the stages of application development should first of all be based on the principles of Human-centered design (HCD), that is, focus on the problems of a person (user), and rely on the interface.
The following stages of mobile application development can be distinguished:
— Search for the main idea of the application, its concept (development of something unique or improvement of an existing one). At this stage, an analysis of the market and existing products is also carried out, interviews with stakeholders / investors, and user research are conducted.
Before proceeding to the next stage, it is imperative to describe in detail the business requirements of the product (business goals, target audience, competitiveness, brand requirements, success indicators)
It is also important to determine the personality of the main customers (their motivation, needs, goals, triggers).
— Definition of basic functionality — minimum viable product (MVP). Often, mobile applications are born gradually – first, a demo version with simplified functionality is released to the world, and then new features are gradually released in subsequent releases, and this approach is most often financially justified. The developer collects feedback from users and understands what to focus on in further development, and in the most positive outcome, he can even get minimal profit.
At this stage of the mobile application development plan, the user experience map is defined, that is, a set of basic functions and capabilities available to the user and their interaction.
— From a marketing point of view, it is important to identify the basic distribution model here, because the main pages of the application itself also depend on this. Also, we define in more detail the sequence of actions in the promotion – sources / distribution channels and target user actions.
— UI/UX design is the job of a designer. At this stage, we can start working with specific functionality and with a clear understanding of what the client’s steps will be. Here the information architecture is created, that is, the main structure of the navigation system of the application:
- A usage scenario is written;
- System analysts are connected;
- Prototypes and interaction design are created, that is, it is determined how exactly the application will work.
It is important to clarify that at this stage we are not yet talking about the actual design of the application, work is carried out only with prototypes or with simple layouts.
– Validation of prototypes in usability tests (very simple basic testing of layouts and prototypes) – this stage also applies to the work of the designer – do our clients see the value in the application that we initially determined, are they able to figure out how to use it. It often happens that the functionality of the application page is obvious to the customer, but completely incomprehensible to the user.
- Based on the test results, the designer makes changes to the design.
- Creation by a designer, project manager and / or other specialists of a detailed technical task (TOR) for a mobile programmer. We will talk about how the terms of reference should look like in the next section of the article.
— Direct development of a mobile application and auxiliary services (which we will also discuss below).
In the process of creating a mobile application, we continue to constantly test and improve it, but it is important to adhere to a phased release plan, because often in the process, customers come up with new ideas for functionality and design, which can completely affect both the speed of the development process and the plan for its promotion.
– Promotion, without it in any way. Here we connect the maximum marketing artillery, for which there is enough funding – banners on websites and mobile, advertising in search engines, SMM, mailing list, SEO in promoting the application website, if any, tracking virality and the fastest possible response, publications in the media and on news portals, even the publication of POS-materials .. everything for which there is enough money, imagination and tools. At this stage, it is important to determine where your loyal audience is located and which communication channels respond best and prepare the marketing part as much as possible for launch immediately after the release of the application.
– Next comes re-testing the functionality of the application and searching for bugs, re-evaluating its design and technical specifications, creating test documentation (test cases). We fix bugs and bring the application to a pre-release state.
– Finally, the release! When a series of improvements is completed and all departments are satisfied with the result of the work, the application can be released to the world, or rather, its first demo version can be uploaded to the application stores.
But the work on creating the application does not end there. Next, you should provide ongoing technical support for its performance, improve and expand the functionality.
As you can see, the development of a mobile application is a rather long and laborious process. There is no ready-made scenario and our mobile application development plan may change and be adjusted depending on the project.
What should the terms of reference look like?
By itself, a mobile application is not one software element when creating such products. In addition to the fact that the terms of reference for the development of a mobile application should include a detailed development plan for both Android and iOS, there are many additional software elements that help the mobile application to function correctly. They also need to be taken into account at the stages of creation and development of both the terms of reference for the application and the software product itself:
- First of all, any serious mobile application has a server part. It is necessary for the effective exchange of information between mobile applications, and it is also included in the list of work that needs to be done. The server part, namely the server code, actively interacts with the database, and this is essential for the entire software package to exist and function.
- In addition, the development of a mobile application may include a personal account, that is, a web interface that helps manage the database, register various users and view statistics on the use of the mobile application.
- Also, a website and/or an admin panel can be actively used along with a mobile application.
The list of these components may vary depending on the goals and objectives of the mobile application. Therefore, when the task is to develop one mobile application, you need to understand that in addition to it, you should develop a lot of other components that also affect the development time and the cost of the entire project as a whole.
When the structure of the mobile application and all the software elements that should be included in it are determined, care must be taken to properly design the mobile application itself, and for this it is very important to understand what mockup, prototyping and UX design are. This determines the approach to designing a technical task for a mobile application, because in this case the technical task is not written in text, but is depicted in the form of graphic material, which is much easier to perceive and implement. Below is an example of a technical task for the development of a mobile application:
As mentioned earlier, when developing a mobile application, a lot of program elements are created, a huge number of different specialists are involved in them. In order to effectively synchronize the work of these specialists, and in order to produce a high-quality product that will correspond to the original idea and idea, it is very important to: correctly design and write down all elements of the mobile application interface, draw prototypes of individual screens, work on the logic various menu elements and buttons, describe the number of screens, their functions, and think over a screen-by-screen diagram of transitions between them (mockup / prototype). This approach eliminates the need to understand technical specifications for a long time and helps to quickly understand what the mobile application will be about, what its main functions and what it should do within a short period of time.
Mobile Application Development Methods
There are 2 methods of developing mobile applications:
- Native development;
- Cross-platform or hybrid development (ReactNative, Flutter, Xamarin).
Native development means creating a program for a mobile device in a specific language for a specific platform. Native applications are quite productive and have no development restrictions (Java and Kotlin for Android, and Swift for iOS). The advantages of such a development include a fairly quick response to user actions, the ability to have direct access to the hardware and develop the most familiar interface for a user of a particular platform. The disadvantages include the rather high cost of development and support, and the long time required for development.
Development of mobile applications of augmented reality
Augmented reality technology has already firmly entered our lives, and today a simple AR and VR application can no longer surprise anyone. Despite such a large distribution, for many this topic remains strange and incomprehensible. In addition to entertainment, augmented reality technologies are used in various fields: in medicine and healthcare, for student education, for modeling and design in production, for commercial purposes to improve sales and communication with the consumer, etc. Development of business applications with AR is one of the most popular and rapidly growing areas today.
How VR technology works:
- The user installs and launches the mobile application.
- Points the camera at the object on which the marker is set programmatically.
- A 3D model of the required image is recreated on the screen.
- The user can interact with the model by moving the screen and touching it.
As you can see, the main feature of creating mobile applications with augmented reality is the need to “teach” the program to recognize markers as accurately as possible in real life through the camera of a mobile device.
The most popular option for creating augmented reality applications is the engine from Unity3D – this is a cross-platform environment for developing games and applications not only for mobile devices, but also for Windows, Linux, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo consoles, and for all kinds of VR and AR- devices.
Unity, although it is a private development of Unity Technologies, is available to developers for free, albeit with some restrictions (for example, the owner of the free version of the project should not bring more than 100 thousand dollars a year). Although the engine has its drawbacks that make it difficult to create a large and heavy game, it is still great for novice mobile developers who will need simple tools.
Where can you learn mobile app development?
If you have already learned or are in the process of learning one of the programming languages mentioned above, which are most often used in the development of mobile applications for iOS and Android, then you can try to create a mobile application using cases and video tutorials available on the Internet and on YouTube. If you are just at the stage of immersion in this topic and plan to become a mobile developer, then the fastest and most effective option would be to enroll in mobile development courses at an IT school.
How much does mobile app development cost on average?
To find out the right price for developing a mobile application, it is not enough to send a similar version of the application to the one you want to develop to the development studio and write “Guys, I need the same application. How much will it cost?” A mobile application is a technical project that needs the right design technical documentation.
The price of developing a mobile application depends on a detailed and correctly drawn up technical task, and its correctness directly depends on how qualified a person calculates it.
Also, when calculating, it is important to take into account how long the design, development, testing and other development services will take. If you send a request to the development studio with a calculation of the cost of developing an application without proper documentation and terms of reference, then, most likely, the cost will be set at random, and at the same time significantly overestimated. Of course, high cost does not mean quality.
The cost of developing mobile applications also varies significantly depending on the region in which the developers work. In countries such as the US, Australia or the UK, the cost of a developer’s work can be twice the cost of a developer from Western Europe ($150 versus $70 per hour). A programmer from Eastern Europe will have to pay $35-50 for an hour of development, and a developer from India will have to pay $8-30. At the same time, a simple application can be written in 1-2 months, and a more complex one will require 4 months of work.
Today, Ukrainian freelance programmers are able to earn on par with their Western counterparts, because they can afford to raise prices, having extensive experience, many complex and interesting projects, as well as knowledge of the English language. The most common platform for mobile freelance developers in Ukraine is Upwork, and the only drawback of this platform is that there is too much competition.
If we evaluate the cost of the entire process of developing a mobile application from A to Z in Ukraine, then it can vary from $2000 to several million hryvnias, it all depends on the scale and complexity of the project.
How much does the development of mobile applications for business pay off?
Not every businessman thinks about developing a mobile application for business, especially when it comes to small and medium-sized businesses. Business owners may need a mobile application in such cases:
- if it is mobile software that helps manage internal processes in a company, that is, automate business (for example, for restaurants, hotels, shopping centers) and improve employee efficiency (access to shared files and databases, communication, process and task management, etc.). e).
- if this is a program that helps to solve business problems (increase sales, increase customer loyalty and brand awareness, fulfill other marketing goals).
- if the application is developed purely for customers, then it can be a loyalty club in the application, or an application as an addition to the company’s services (online catalogs, banking, delivery trackers, etc.).
The development of a mobile application for a business can quickly become a profitable and profitable project if the business is built primarily in such areas as the automotive business, the beauty industry, sports and fitness, medicine, tourism, catering establishments, delivery, online shopping, leisure and entertainment, services.
Even if you sell plumbing, a well-designed application can benefit your business, however, in any case, the first step is to carefully consider whether it will bring the expected benefits, because just developing an application is not enough, its promotion plays a very important role.
Let’s look at how you can develop your business using a mobile application and thereby contribute to its payback:
- Attract and retain the target audience, which means increasing sales (loyalty programs, notifications about discounts, promotions and new products). In this way, the business can carry out a touchpoint with the client.
- Set yourself apart from competitors, because the competition among applications in this area is not so high. A business can offer a customer additional bonuses just for using the app.
- Building a loyal relationship with the client – this advantage emerges as a result of the work of the first two from the list. Everyone loves pleasant surprises, for this customers subscribe to loyalty programs. Take advantage of marketing promotions and other tools to build trust with customers through the application.
- Building trust among customers through communication through the application. According to surveys, people are 2x more likely to use mobile apps from business owners if they have well-configured push notifications. Users are more likely to trust and click on links if business owners notify their customers in person. In addition, there is a huge scope for targeting the target audience (for example, by geolocation and preferences).
- Link to the corporate website. The combination of a mobile application and a website will bring the company a double benefit, because they will complement each other: if the client comes from a Google search, the application can provide a more personalized experience with him.
There are many successful examples in history of how a mobile application has significantly influenced business development, for example, as was the case with Alibaba Mobile Business Group in Ukraine and Russia.
And a couple more tips on what to consider if you are thinking about creating a mobile application for your business:
- Often the cost of creating a mobile application for business is much higher than the cost of developing a website, and websites tend to pay off better.
- A mobile application for business is an investment for the future, because what may look completely uncompetitive today may become a market leader tomorrow.
- Often, business card applications remain in the far folders of smartphones, getting lost behind instant messengers, social networks and media applications.
- Even more often, users simply do not want to clutter up the phone’s storage, or provide personal data to a large number of applications, so the product must be of high quality and really useful to the user.
How to save money on mobile app development?
Mobile development of even the simplest program is very financially expensive, but still we have some tips on how to avoid unnecessary development costs at the initial stage:
- Give yourself an honest answer to why your business needs a mobile app. If you were guided by the principle “everyone has and I need”, then such an application is doomed to failure. Assess the situation soberly: is your niche large enough, will the application solve business problems, will it increase the flow of customers, and are your customers and target audience interested in mobile technologies?
- Think carefully about the MVP strategy (that is, the minimum viable product), avoid any functional and design frills, your application must strictly follow the goal of the project. The MVP version of a mobile application should include only the basic and most necessary functions.
- It is not recommended to save on design, analytics and technical specifications, on the contrary, if there is an opportunity to allocate additional funding for deeper research and business analytics, take advantage of this, because the design stage confirms or refutes your client’s need for a mobile product.
- At the first stage, you can create an application for only one platform – Android or iOS. Often development for Android can cost several times more than for iOS, but at the same time, applications for Apple owners are better monetized, easier to adapt to fewer types of devices, more secure and will be of higher quality. The final choice should come from the business goals and target audience.
- Design should be primarily practical and useful. It is better to save on appearance, but carefully consider all the functionality. It should also be remembered that most users are already accustomed to a certain appearance and elements, and their location, so take into account those patterns of user actions that are always repeated in all applications for a particular platform.
- You can also save on the application development method – cross-platform development is much cheaper than native, although it has a number of disadvantages that were described above.
- The backend, which is the server part of any program, is usually the most expensive. You can save on it if you set up data storage on the client side, that is, directly in his device (in this case, the application will work online). You can also do without a server architecture and transfer all support to a cloud service, or use SaaS services – (they will also save on chats and push notifications if you take them ready-made, and not write your own platform for them). Some resort to little tricks like using Google forms instead of their own admin panels and Telegram bots instead of apps.
- You can take a risk and order development not from an agency, but from a private freelancer, but in this case, you should remember that there are always risks of breaking deadlines and delaying the completion of tasks, you can run into an unscrupulous freelancer who will leave your project halfway, because he does not have sufficient interest in your project, other than material gain.
- If you are considering the option of cooperation only with the studio, then in this case you can save money by choosing a regional studio, rather than a metropolitan one. Also, when choosing a studio, keep in mind that studios with a small number of employees can show a much better result due to a lack of hands and better collective feedback.
- Another way to save money is to create an application using various constructors, because such a mobile application does not require special programming knowledge. In the editor, you yourself choose an interface template, connect the necessary services, analytics, integrate the application with social networks, and so on. But at the moment, we have not found a single truly full-fledged constructor that will be able to create a high-quality and worthy mobile program on its own. There are specialists who can help you work with such designers, but further progress also remains on your shoulders.
What brief is needed?
A brief for the development of a mobile application is necessary for the application developer in order to understand what idea and goals the customer represents. In fact, this is not an instruction, and even more so not a technical task, this is a preliminary application for the development of a mobile application. How well the brief is written helps the contractor to understand how deeply the customer is immersed in the IT field and how serious his approach to the project is.
The brief for the development of a mobile application should include:
- Personal information about the customer and his contacts, of course (name, country / city, company, how to contact).
- Next, you need to talk about the project – describe the idea and business tasks, and this is the most important part of the brief. Describe briefly but clearly the essence of the project, what can be done using the application, who is your target audience, what results you want to achieve.
- After that, you need to let the developer understand what you want to implement from a technical point of view, that is, specify the type and functionality of the application (web application and mobile, for iOS or Android, refinement / support of an existing project or creation from scratch, online and offline application, etc.). e).
- Provide examples, if any, it is desirable to describe what exactly can be similar and what should be different.
- If possible, add more details (If you have an understanding of what screens the application should consist of, describe the composition of the screens and their functionality. Or attach links to the TOR, prototype, documentation).
- The composition of the work. Here, describe what parts of the project already exist and what degree of readiness they have, whether you need help with designing and writing technical specifications, whether you need a server part, admin panel, design, subsequent technical support (and for how long), promotion.
- Deadlines and budget. Indicate by what date you need an estimate, what you want to see in it by structure (evaluation by mail in the form of a fork, or an estimate, or a commercial proposal with a presentation). Next, what date is expected to see the project ready (is there a strict project deadline? When do you want to get the beta version? And when is the final project completed?). And, of course, the estimated budget that you want to meet (knowing the budget limits will help you immediately offer you the right solution to the problem that fits into your framework). If you find it difficult to name the budget, name at least what order of amounts you are counting on.
- This item is optional, but if you are running a tender and you have any special requests, also indicate this in the brief.
What is the salary of a mobile app developer?
The salary of a mobile application developer averages $1500-2000 in Ukraine, but it can vary significantly depending on the level of knowledge and skills of the developer, and the complexity of the project. The region the developer works for is also a very significant factor, since, as mentioned earlier, the cost of an hour of work for a mobile developer in America, Europe and India is very different. Payscale provided the statistics, which determined the figure of $59,100 per year (globally), which is $5,140 per month!
According to a recent study by Glassdoor, the average salary for a junior mobile developer is $60,547 per year in the US, while in Ukraine you can find vacancies for the position of Junior mobile developer with a salary of $800-1000 per month. This group is the most difficult to analyze, because there are a large number of novice mobile developers on the market with very different development skills. It is important to understand that not many companies and studios are ready to pay a thousand dollars to a mobile developer with no experience, or just completed courses, be prepared that you will most likely have to start from a minimum of $600 per month.
In some unscrupulous development studios, they resort to “reselling” the workforce, that is, they hire programmers with good skills, but pay at the junior level, and the customer is told the cost of the work of a middle level programmer, most often, this is difficult to verify.
Middle-level mobile developers in Ukraine earn an average of $1500-2500, while the salary of senior-level developers can vary dramatically from $3000-4000 and more. The position of a team lead can also increase the price of a mobile programmer’s work by several hundred dollars.
How to make money on mobile app development?
There are a huge number of ways to monetize a mobile application and scenarios for their implementation. To make money on the development of mobile applications, you need to clearly define your target audience – who is your client, what is interesting to him, what can be useful to him and what he is ready to spend money on. Regardless of what application format you want to release, what works for some may not work for you, so in no case should you focus on others and copy competitor schemes (not all features are equally useful). You can create a specific tool for a business task and make money on it, you can develop a program as a turnkey business and sell it to someone, you can develop an application that will be aimed at increasing a loyal audience and collecting traffic, which can also be monetized in the future, and so on. The most important thing when choosing a scenario is not to forget that the application should first of all be useful to the user.
Here are a few ways to earn money that are most often used in mobile applications:
- Advertising inside the application interface: banners, pop-ups, push notifications, or native in the content of the application itself (for this you need to connect to affiliate programs Google Adwords, Mobile 10 and others that will pay you for views and clicks).
- Promotional videos (those that simply watch to the end to disappear, and the user does not have to click on them) – usually paid for a certain number of full views (usually 1000).
- Push notifications that pop up over the entire screen and attract 100% of the user’s attention. Such advertising has a great response, but here we advise you to promote your services, and not advertise someone, otherwise users will quickly get tired of constant spam with unnecessary offers.
- Making purchases in the application itself (most often used in games, but, as a rule, they are present in almost all applications, the main thing is to properly motivate the user).
- Subscription fee (buying additional features that will be valid for a certain time, for example, with a YouTube Premium subscription, you will get rid of annoying ads and be able to watch videos offline). According to statistics, those apps that monetize through subscriptions have a 50% higher return than apps with in-app purchases.
- Sponsorship, that is, a launch on behalf of another company, usually well-known (one side receives money and a project in the portfolio, the other increases a loyal audience and increases brand awareness).
- Paid application. Everything is simple here – the user pays immediately for the purchase of the application and gets the maximum of functions.
These are only the most basic and most common ways to make money on mobile applications, and they are limited only by your imagination.
Best Mobile App Development Books
For those who prefer to learn from paper editions, we have prepared the top 6 books on mobile app development:
- One of the most popular books on Android mobile app development is Head First. Android Programming by David and Don Griffiths. The book is not aimed at those who are already familiar with Java and contains many useful tips, nuances and life hacks that can be applied during the development process. Get ready to practice designing from the first chapter.
- Android. Recipe Book by Jan F. Darwin. In essence, the book is a step-by-step instruction with examples for solving problems of working with web services for experienced Java experts and the Java SE API interface.
- “Java: A Beginner’s Guide” by Herbert Schildt. This is a beginner’s Java tutorial for those who are getting into mobile development from the ground up, the book also covers some of the more advanced features of Java and is a great start to learning.
- A book on developing applications for Apple devices “iOS. Programming Techniques” by Vandad Nahavandipur will help you understand all the most common mistakes of Apple developers, help you understand all the intricacies of storing and encrypting data, and teach you how to create impressive colorful interfaces.
- Book for beginners “Swift. Developing Apps in Xcode for iPhone and iPad Using the iOS SDK” (David Mark, Jack Nutting, Jeff LaMarche, Fredrik Olsson, Kim Topley). Talks about the latest technologies with detailed explanations, instructions and examples. The book is great for beginners, but there are many inaccuracies in the Russian translation, so it’s better to read it in the original.
- Paul Hudson’s Hacking with Swift is one of the best books on Swift development. Paul Hudson is a renowned expert in mobile development with over 30k followers on Twitter and has written a number of quality books on Swift, and we highly recommend checking them all out if you’re interested in this area of development.