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Mobile Software Developers

The Job

Mobile devices are everywhere these days. People rely on them to communicate, get the latest news or other information, post a status update on Facebook, listen to music or watch videos, play games, track their fitness levels, or perform a variety of other tasks. Many of these resources are provided by software applications. Mobile application developers create apps for smartphones—such as the Apple iPhone, Google Android, or RIM Blackberry—as well as for other handheld or wearable Internet-enabled telecommunications/computing devices. Developers must also determine how they will monetize their app whether by selling it to users or offering it for free but selling ads to hopefully turn a profit. Most developers employed by a company won’t have to worry about marketing or monetization issues, which are handled by marketing and business executives.

Developing an application for a mobile device is much different than creating one for use on a computer. What may work on a desktop computer (such as pull-down menus, elaborate help screens, and a plethora of navigation features) might not work on a mobile device. Developers need to design for a small screen, while also making apps that are both functional and visually appealing. Developers do the following to create a mobile app:

  1. define the goal and purpose of the app
  2. define the functionality (will it be a simple three- or four-screen app, a database application program interface app, an enterprise app, or a complex game app?)
  3. develop sketches that conceptualize the app’s main features, layout, and structure
  4. conduct research to see if anybody else has created a similar or identical app and generate design ideas, technical requirements , and a rough marketing plan
  5. create a wireframe (a prototype of the app) using Balsamiq, Moqups, Axure, Pidoco, HotGloo, or other wireframe software programs
  6. create a storyboard (a roadmap that details the order of the screens/features that users will see) 
  7. develop the program architecture and design strategy
  8. test the prototype
  9. write the program (once it is approved)
  10. test the program to identify and correct errors and bugs…and test again…and again...