Developing apps for Smartphones can be both a creative and lucrative experience, but how does someone get their foot in the door? What tools are necessary to really dive into the deep end of the development process? If you have access to a PC or Mac, you already have the most important tool needed to get started. So, what’s the first step you should take?
1. Research a Programming language
Any developer should have a working knowledge of at least one programming language. All software has some degree of programming under the hood to make it function. It’s for this reason that an aspiring app developer should learn the fundamentals of a programming language.
The language you choose isn’t important since the fundamentals typically remain similar between all languages. If I had to suggest a language to start with however, Python or C# are great to start out with and have plenty of learning resources freely available. Understanding how applications work under the hood will improve your abilities as a developer and allow for greater control during the development process.
2. Use tool-kits
The number of tool-kits available to developers today is staggering. If you’re looking to develop gaming apps for example, you have access to feature loaded systems like Unity3d and Cocos2D, which dramatically reduce the amount of time spent coding and allow for greater customization with less hassle.
Often times these powerful systems are free to use, so take advantage of them whenever possible. Why spend hours attempting to program basic functionality when these systems can have you up and running in minutes?
3. Don’t forget to test
Once you’ve settled on an idea and begun to design your app, it’s important to test it regularly. One of the most common mistakes new developers make is not testing their apps while developing them. Programming and designing an app can be tricky, a lot of small things can go wrong or get jumbled in the development process, so it’s important to test the functionality of your application with every notable change.
Once you’ve reached the late stages of development, remember to hunt for possible glitches or bugs in the application. It helps immensely to allow other people to test your app. End users have a tendency to break applications in ways the developers never could have anticipated, so get ahead of the game by having others test your app before releasing it to a wider audience.
4. Do your marketing
As your smartphone app development is taking shape, it’s important to consider whether or not you intend to monetize it. If so, have a plan to advertise it. The various app stores you could release to have tens of thousands of apps available and it’s easy to get lost in the pack. Most developers do little to no marketing and end up surprised when they receive very few downloads.
Keep ahead of the curve. From the moment you’ve decided to make your app a professional effort, you should have a marketing strategy in mind. Start out slow and low cost, and ramp up as development proceeds. There are countless ways to advertise your product. Facebook and Twitter both offer ad campaigns, you can purchase ad space within other apps, or you can go another route altogether. What’s important is that you put your product in a position where people will see it. App stores have a snowball effect, once you’ve received downloads, you move up in the ranks and more people see your app as a result.
With these guidelines in mind, you’ll be ready to begin developing your first app in no time. Don’t forget to have fun during the process and take care to give your app the development time it needs. With time and effort, you can put an app out that consumers won’t want to miss.