Mobile Developer – What Skills are Needed?

mobile developer skills

Whether iOS or Android, the mobile development industry is in constant growth. The total number of mobile app developers has risen to more than 8.7 million. There are approximately 2.7 billion smartphone users around the globe, making the mobile application market one of the fastest growing in history. However, identifying mobile developer skills requires a tailored hiring process. 

Like web applications, building an app involves different departments and development stages. From developing the software to create an interactive interface, a mobile developer takes care of the whole process. 

Here are the mobile developer skills you should write down on your job ad when hiring a mobile developer:    

Skills to Look For When Hiring a Mobile Developer

Mobile Developer skills aren’t only technical. Indeed, developers closely work with other departments, talk to clients and actively contribute to team dynamics. If you are looking to hire a full-time position, you need to consider soft skills and personalities. For your team, you want someone loyal and dedicated, not only good at writing code. So, here is an overview of the mobile developer skills you should take into account – always considering your team structure and workflow:   

Mobile Developer Technical Skills

1. A+ on Multiple Programming Languages

There isn’t an official bible for developers but if there was one of its first commandments would be:

Thou Shall Master Programming Languages (Let’s imagine at those times programming languages was in the dictionary) 

Programming languages constantly evolve so even if developers are experts on the matter they have to be up to date with the evolutions of those. They need to be at the top of their game. 

Some of the most common and necessary programming languages for Android and IOS are:

what skills do mobile developers need

2. Cross-platforms & App Development 

Cross-platform development is the ability to build apps that can run on different devices. There are two major mobile platforms: Android and iOS. A skilled mobile app developer can code to create apps and services that are able to operate on more than one platform.

Hiring a developer with this skill saves your company a lot of money and time. Before building an app, companies always do market research to target either Android or iOS consumers. However, today people use their mobile for everything. According to Statista, with 2.6 million Android apps and 1.85 million iOS applications, both systems are leading the market. Making a distinction between Android and iPhone users makes sense only for specific types of apps and businesses. When you hire a mobile developer with cross-platform skills, you can build a single codebase app that runs on any platform – saving you money and time.

3. Being Agile

If you hire a mobile app developer who embraces the Agile Methodology, your company will likely have an awesome application. If you are not familiarized with this kind of methodology, we encourage you to read our eBook.

Even though the Waterfall Methodology is useful and has plenty of benefits, Agile is one of the most effective management approaches that has boosted the productivity of IT Teams during the last 20 years. Here are some of the reasons why: 

  • Projects created with the Agile Methodology are adaptable after their release. They do not follow a strictly sequential process in which you have to plan everything upfront and then start working. You can transform, change, and adapt your initial project, even after its release.
  • Agile Methodology is an effective method for establishing opening communication channels between you and the mobile app developer to achieve the desired result. 
  • The Agile Methodology focuses on the client throughout the whole development process. If you hire a developer who implements the Agile Methodology, you (the client) are the highest priority. Plus, they will deliver results as fast as possible. 
  • Agile practitioners are characterized by strengthening soft skills such as efficient communication, teamwork, self-management, adaptability, and self-motivation.

Check out the 12 principles behind the Agile Manifesto.  

4. Knowledge on Cybersecurity

If you want to build a solid application, you need to think of security. Your clients will probably be entering sensitive information on the platform. If you have a bad security system, this information could be exposed and leave your company with a PR nightmare on their hands. 

Imagine waking up, checking your phone, and many of your friends start telling you they received many weird messages from you. First, you did not send them, so clearly, something is wrong. Second, you realize someone hacked your account from the app you use daily. After that, you start remembering all the information you trusted to the app: Your email address, your location, personal details, and even your bank account! All of these in the hands of someone else.  This has only one outcome…PANIC!

This was the situation of 162 million people who were hacked from the Dubsmash application. In February of 2019, the big video messaging app was a victim of a massive data breach. 

Accidents like this make cybersecurity a priority. Every mobile app developer should know about cryptography and, overall, should have the ability to write secure code in a way that is user-friendly also. You don’t work for the CIA (or you do?). So, don’t go head over heels with security because it will also affect performance. Whay you need is keeping your client’s information secure, nothing more.

This must be one of the top priorities to look at when interviewing a possible candidate to develop your business app. 

5. User-Centric Design: UX & UI 

Both UX and UI focus mainly on the users and their experience. The main reason is that, with loyal and engaged users, it is possible to create a strong and well-known brand – leading to an increase in revenue.  

UX
  • User Experience 
  • UX is all about making the app as simple as possible. 
  • Make the app cohesive and user-friendly for customers to explore (and to return). 
  • Main goal: customer satisfaction. 
  • Needs information to be structured.
  • The application needs to be designed with the latest trends.
  • Creates solutions for the client’s and user’s needs.
UI
  • User Interface 
  • The primary responsibility is to create a functional interaction between the user and the application.
  • Is concerned for the aesthetics of the app: Color schemes, design, visual elements, screen size. (They relate emotionally with the user) 
  • Fast loading (A time-consuming app makes users leave and never return)
  • The app is easy to understand and to use. 
  • Overall, how good the app looks and works.

Soft Skills For Mobile Developers

  • Analytical Skills: On-site or remote, an Android or IOS  programmer needs to analytically understand users’ needs to create the applications that simplifies their experience. 
  • Communication and Teamwork: Mobile Developers work with teams and different departments. Sometimes they coordinate with the marketing team, or present their progress to clients and stakeholders – on your behalf. So, you want a developer who can also speak English, not only coding languages.  
  • Problem Solving and Critical Thinking: Like any project, developing an app is tricky and issues happen daily. Problem solving and critical thinking are fundamental qualities to speed up the development process.
  • Creativity: Why would you need creativity for a technical job? Well, because creativity doesn’t only belong to artists. Creative solutions can happen everywhere, especially when it comes to digital innovation. If you want new approaches to applications, you are looking for someone creative and innovative.

Other Important Skills

  • Adaptability to changing circumstances and parameters
  • Goals and deadlines oriented 
  • Confidence with older operating systems if you have a running application
  • Update on new paradigms and technologies 
  • Experience with distributed teams and remote models 
  • Pair programming 
  • Ability to write technical documentation and code reviews

What Certifications Might You Look For When Hiring a Mobile App Developer? 

If you are planning to build an app, you probably heard about the developer shortage. As the demand for web pages and applications grows, more and more IT positions remain unfilled. However, the core problem of developer shortage isn’t the lack of candidates. Rather, it’s the lack of talented and skilled candidates. Hiring remotely, you can build a team of great developers. But you need to know how to recognize who has the right skills to produce quality results. 

The first step is looking at their certification. When it comes to gain mobile developer skills, these are the certifications you should consider to hire a mobile app developer:

  • Android Certified App Developer
  • MCSD: Windows Store Apps
  • GIAC GMOB
  • MTA Mobile Development Fundamentals
  • MTA Developer
  • Oracle Java ME Mobile Application Developer
  • Mobile Development Institute (MDI)
  • And Java Technology for Wireless Industry (JTWI)

Types of Mobile Apps And When You Need to Build One

Skills for mobile developers are so many because any project requires a different type of skills and approach. Based on your project, you can build three types of app: 

  • Mobile web apps: Like websites, they open with an URL without download performing as an app, like Booking.com website. 
  • Cross-platform mobile apps: These apps can run on any platform using one language. 
  • Native mobile apps: Native apps are written either for iOS or Android.

With that said, one last piece of advice. Even if most businesses start building their own apps, it doesn’t mean that it’s the best solution for you. Apps are the best options for gaming, productivity, lifestyle and entertainment (meditation or fitness apps), M-commerce or travel businesses. 

For example, you are running a blog about natural hair care. On your blog, you provide advice, interviews and product reviews that you followers can buy with a discount through your page. In this case, building an app isn’t necessary. You want your blog accessible from any browser and device. In addition, you can rely on other apps to sell products, you don’t need to create your own. It would be an unnecessary expense with no use for your audience. On the other hand, you are creating an online game like ‘Among Us.’ In this case, building an app is the best way to guarantee efficiency and security for your gamers’ data. 

Building an app is expensive. And so is hiring a talented mobile app developer. So, before looking at the skills you need, think carefully about what you want for your project. 

Looking to Hire a Mobile Developer on Your Own? We Can Help You

One thing is finding a Mobile Developer, and another thing is finding the right mobile developer. At DistantJob, we don’t only take into account hard skills. Our team search for remote developers who are experts on UI/UX design, cross-platform, multiple programming languages, cybersecurity – among other qualities. And we also look for developers who have soft skills traits that will make them the right fit for your company; DJ recruiters have the telescope you need.

what makes a good mobile developer

DistantJob can help you find the mobile app developer you have been looking for. Our company has 10 years of experience headhunting the best tech talent all over the world – in only two weeks.

Book a consultation with us now to know more details. 

Are you a Mobile Developer looking for work? View our available remote IT jobs here.

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Gabriela Molina

Gabriela Molina

Gabriela Molina is the writer and executive editor of the DistantJob blog. As a former freelance journalist, she has covered a wide range of topics throughout her career. She was featured in Datasciencentral, Simpleprogrammer, to name a few. She is currently specializing in the areas of technology, leadership, and remote work.