There has never been a better time to learn mobile application development. As mobile devices continue to change the way we do business, communicate, and access news and entertainment, the need for new and innovative apps is soaring. This increased demand translates to one of the largest skills gaps ever realized, i.e., there are more mobile development job openings than qualified application developers to fill them.
Accredited schools now offer a range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs that feature coursework in mobile application development. Skip ahead to compare programs or read on for more tips on how to choose the best mobile development degree program for you.
Choosing a Mobile Development Degree
Here are the key elements you should consider when picking a college degree program in mobile development:
The most important factor when choosing a mobile development degree is curriculum, i.e., the skills, programming languages, and development platforms you will learn over the course of the program. Look for a mobile app development curriculum that covers the following subjects:
- Apple iOS & Google Android application development - These two platforms account for over 99% of mobile operating systems in the U.S. so this is where the jobs are. iOS has the edge in America while Android leads globally.
- Native mobile development programming languages, i.e., code that's designed to work on each mobile platform; this means Java or Kotlin for Android, and Swift or Objective-C for iOS.
- Cross Platform mobile development tools - these frameworks that are rapidly growing in popularity enable devs to build web and mobile apps for multiple platforms at once, hence the name “cross-platform.” Marketable cross-platform dev tools right now include React Native, Ionic, Flutter & Xamarin.
- Mobile media distribution and promotion - In a competitive market like mobile, it pays to have expertise in the business and marketing domains that help determine the commercial success of applications.
- User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design - Knowing how and why users interact with mobile applications, and how to capitalize on these tendencies, is a vital skill set for mobile developers.
- Graphic arts and creative design - Having strong design skills in the Adobe software suite and other popular programs will make you more well-rounded and valuable to employers.
- Database expertise - Knowing how to design and manage information systems is key for mobile devs as many apps need to interact with information kept in relational databases.
- Soft skills like creative problem solving, interpersonal communication and teamwork will also help you succeed - and advance - once you're working as a mobile app developer. These skills will also help with interviewing.
Online vs. On-Campus
Choosing the right learning format is vital in a mobile development degree program. Benefits of attending an online degree program in mobile development include greater flexibility (you can learn at your own pace and attend classes around work and other obligations), increased exposure to digital collaboration tools (which are now ubiquitous in the workplace), training yourself to be self-motivated (a key skill for mobile specialists and all other devs), and saving some money (online programs are typically less expensive than their campus-based counterparts). The distance learning format lends itself very well to mobile app development as the tools and technologies you use in this field are software-based and can be fully accessed from your laptop or PC. Some can even be implemented from your phone.
Benefits of a campus-based degree program in mobile development include the camaraderie and accountability of attending physical classes with your peers, less reliance on self-motivation (which is an important consideration as self-study is very challenging for some distance learners), increased social interactions and potential business connections you make with fellow students face-to-face, and a more hands-on relationship with your professors.
Earning a degree in mobile application development from an accredited college or university has numerous benefits. Accredited institutions have to meet certain quality and academic guidelines to earn and keep their status. And students in accredited schools qualify for state and/or federal financial aid. Keep in mind that schools can be accredited either regionally or nationally, and credits from one may not transfer to the other, so consult an admissions advisor for accreditation details of your mobile development program before enrolling.
Top-Rated Mobile Development Degrees
These accredited programs best exemplify the skills and credentials needed to become a mobile application developer.
B.S. Software Development
Capella University's IT bachelor's degree with the software development minor delivers the skills and experience to create the mobile solutions that modern businesses need. Graduates of this online program will be prepared to pursue jobs such as mobile application developer, user experience (UX) designer, software engineer, and database developer.
- Cross-Platform App Development for Android & iOS
- User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) Design
- Advanced Database Development and Data Security
- Cloud-Based Software Application Development
- Manage Software Projects using Agile Tools & Techniques
Learning Method:Online Degree
Financial Aid:Federal, State, Military and Scholarship
Related online programs at Capella University:
- BS - Software Development: Web Application
- BS - Information Assurance & Cybersecurity
- MS - IT: Project Management
- Compare all programs at Capella University
BS Computer Science - Software Engineering
Students in this specialized computer science degree will use the latest software development tools, techniques and programming languages to create secure software systems and applications. Graduates of this online bachelor's will be prepared for job roles such as mobile application developer, software engineer and programmer analyst.
- User Interface/Experience (UI/UX) Design for Cloud-Based and Mobile Technologies
- Evaluate & Implement Emerging Systems Architectures to Achieve Business Goals
- Identify Software Vulnerabilities and Develop Secure Systems and Applications
- Use Reverse Engineering to Develop, Improve and Support Existing Software
Learning Method:Online Degree
Financial Aid Available:Federal, State, Military & Scholarships
Related degree programs at SNHU:
- AS in Information Technologies
- BS in Computer Science - Information Security
- BS in IT - Software Development
- MS In IT - Software Application Development
- Compare all programs at SNHU
Mobile Development Degrees Online
First a quick note on nomenclature: sometimes the program names in this space will include the word “mobile,” but typically the title of a degree that will help you become a mobile developer will be software development, software engineering, computer programming or computer science; mobile development is a subset of these disciplines.
That clarification made, here are some sponsored online degree programs in mobile application development.
What degree do you need for mobile development?
There is no requisite degree level for becoming a mobile developer, however most people in this role have at least a bachelor's degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (listed under "software developer"). That said, you can gain the skills to become a mobile developer with a well-designed associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree, or even without a college degree providing you have the skills listed above and a strong portfolio. Your optimum mobile development degree level will depend on your existing skill set, career goals, current level of education, preferred learning style, schedule and budget. Whichever route you choose, having a degree will definitely increase your mobile developer job prospects.
What jobs can you get with a degree in mobile development?
Graduates from a degree program in mobile application development can pursue various roles including mobile developer, software engineer, computer programmer, user interface designer and web developer. Customizing your mobile development curriculum with the right set of electives and/or further study can prepare you for correlating IT careers such as cyber security specialist, cloud engineer, DevOps engineer, and video game designer.
How much does a mobile development degree cost?
The average cost of a 4-year bachelor's program at a public school for an in-state resident (including room and board) is $20,598. A similar degree at a private institution costs an average of $44,662, according to current data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Tuition fees and other expenses for your mobile development degree program can be offset with financial aid and scholarships.