mobile application developers
Mobile application development is a booming field, with plenty of job opportunities and interesting projects at both small and medium sized businesses and large enterprises. Here's what are organizations looking for in their mobile app developers.
How do you go from tech support to mobile app development? That's the question we received this week from our correspondent Mike who has spent the last five years as a customer service and tech support rep. With a Bachelor degree (and license) in Physical Therapy and most of his working experience in customer and tech support, Mike is looking for a career plan that will lead him to mobile app development.
While most organizations seeking mobile-focused developers are looking at relevant, practical experience, many will also put emphasis on hiring candidates with a strong foundation in computer science, including a related technical degree. Going back to school to get a second bachelors is one option for Mike; validating his skills and knowledge with professional certifications is another. Ultimately, Mike will have to get his hands dirty and start working on mobile apps to show what he can do.
Your educational background is what I like to call interesting; that is, you've got a degree (and even a professional license) outside the general area of information technology. A degree is good, but as I'm sure you're aware, a degree in something like computer science, software development, management information systems, and so forth, would be even better as you pursue your dream of becoming a mobile applications developer.
Thus, longer term I'd encourage you to keep in mind the idea of a possible return to school for a second, more relevant bachelor's, or perhaps even a master's degree in something software development related. Getting a solid foundation in computer science and development will serve you well for the remainder of your career in IT. Today, there are even specialized college programs in mobile application development that you might want to look into.
Alternatively, online programs and courses from places such as Lynda.com, Code Conquest, Pluralsight and others might be an option for you.
In addition, you should seek out professional certifications to validate your knowledge and skills. The certifications you mentioned don't exactly square with your expressed area of interest in mobile development. I think you can probably skip Microsoft's MCP and Cisco's networking certifications, unless and until you decide to refocus on systems administration or cloud computing instead of development.
Instead, I'd urge you to find programming, development, and mobility related certifications that interest you and choose several items upon which to build your "I'm a mobile app developer" narrative.
One vendor-neutral and entry-level certification that you should take a closer look at is CompTIA's Mobile App Security+ certification. Designed specifically for mobile app developers, the credential focuses on creating secure native applications for iOS and Android devices.
Also take a look at these three IT cert guides to find other related certs (each lists the top five or so certs in each area):
- Best Computer Programming Certifications -- stick to items that are most closely related to mobility.
- Best Web Certifications -- stick to the development oriented certifications.
- Best Mobility Certifications -- CompTIA Mobility+ is a good starting point for your adventures.
Although there are no industry standard certifications for mobile application development(yet!), there are plenty of options that will help learn programming with different languages, mobile user interface design, mobile security and other related areas.
As you work on boosting your skills and knowledge in the mobile application developmentspace, you should take advantage of Android and iOS developer programs and resources. Android offers detailed training guides, reference documents, tools, samples and API guides to help developers get started building mobile apps. Apple offers a paid iOS Developer Program (which costs $99 per year) that includes technical resources and the ability to test and debug your code on iOS devices.
If you want to study up for mobile application development while advancing in your current position as a second option, check out the available Help Desk Certifications. You may want to push that side of your career somewhat in the short run, while gearing up to make a more serious transition over a longer timeframe to mobile application development.
Thanks again for posting your input to Tom’s IT Pro. I hope you’ve found this information interesting, relevant, and helpful. Do feel free to email me directly if you have any further questions or concerns I might be able to help you address. Best of luck in your career and certification planning, and my very best wishes for your ongoing and continuing success in the IT field.