The demand for app developers has exploded in recent years. According to a study by Dice.com:

“Job postings for Android developers soared 302% in the first quarter of this year compared to the first quarter of 2010; ads for iPhone-related positions rose 220% in the same time frame.”

So what does this mean for students considering a career in app development? As we’ve seen, even young kids can show an interest in programming and app development, so it’s never too early to start.

It’s also never too late to start. Jim Miller, Art Director and app developer at K12, learned to program apps just a few years ago. He’s now developing them for K12’s curriculum, but also on his own.

Advice on becoming an app developer

Programming apps takes hard work and dedication, says Jim. And learning both the design and technical aspects can be tricky.

For college-bound students, Jim says majoring in computer programming is a good place to start. Some colleges may even have special app development classes.

But often, people learn app development on their own—even kids. Jim recommends checking out Apple, Google, and Android’s resources and tutorials to get started. Lynda.com can give you a base level of knowledge to get started as well. There are even videos on YouTube that explain the process.

But to make things complicated, iOS and Android each have their own programming language, so if you want to create an app for both, you have to program it twice. There is a way to write for both, but Jim says that often results in some non-optimal performance issues.

App creators can work for an app development company or of course strike out on their own.

But Jim wants developers to be realistic—that they can’t expect to make an app, slap it on iTunes, and become a millionaire. It’s hard to break through the saturated market of existing apps, and that has been the hardest part for him personally.

He also advises developers to be patient. Sometimes, if it just isn’t working, you may have to throw everything out and start over—and you can’t be afraid to do that, he says.

You check out Jim’s app “Toddler Tap!”, which helps toddlers learn words relating to basic concepts and items around the home, on iOS and Android. He also helped develop a periodic table activity and app that helps students explore the elements in an interactive way.

You can view more K12 mobile apps here.


Image credit: Brad Flickinger/CC 2.0

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