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How to Start in App Development

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Mobile app development is one of the hottest trends in coding. As per Statista, hundreds of billions of dollars are spent every year on the development and consumption of mobile apps.

Thousands of apps are currently available for every platform, but only a few have stood the test of time and become household names like Instagram, Twitter, Zoom, Tinder, Uber and others.

When a newbie signs up for app development, they often fear facing such tough competition, without understanding how the industry works.

How Is an App Developer Built?

App development is a technical field that is intertwined with the complexities of Java, Swift, Kotlin, and other languages. These skills make a robust foundation for the field, but mobile development also requires something more: an understanding of user experience, usability, and market value. 

Becoming an app developer in 2021 is one of the ideal choices for individuals planning to enter the digital market. The first step is to understand your calling. 

  • Are you planning to initially stick to creating basic Android or iOS apps for practice?
  • Will you take on a small freelance app development project?
  • Or do you have a brilliant app idea you think can stand out because of the ease it will add to people's regular lives?

You need a starting point, just like Snapchat and Airbnb did! Even builders of the most successful apps of today were once new developers trying to learn.

Today, an app developer is not restricted to the decisions of coding and practicality of the features. Instead, you can focus on the creative aspects of the process too.

Things to Keep in Mind if You Want to Create Your Own App

Before getting on board the app development train, you must remember that coming up with a unique idea is not enough to survive in the highly competitive niches of today. You need an idea that can genuinely change one's life, that stands out, and that's also capable of gathering sufficient funds during the development lifecycle. 

If you start building an app while you are still learning to code and without being mindful of the full process of creating an app, then you might face a lot of expenses and trials at the very beginning of your career. 

Here's a step-by-step guide to help you avoid brand-damaging mistakes that can potentially sink your app.

Research a Niche, Competition, and Finances

Start with thorough market research. Study a niche of app development that resonates the most with you. Use it as a starting point to explore the market conditions, prices, and costs of development. 

You must underline the strengths and weaknesses of the niche of choice so that you can have a faint idea about the gap that will effectively be filled by the product you are trying to make!

Decide the Platform for App Development

When you have a worthy idea to get started, you need to know which platform would suit you best. You can figure out the difference between native, hybrid, and web apps by learning how the code and languages are utilized in the process. 

The language of choice can impact the delivery and timeline of the end product. The interaction of APIs and device functionality and the app's target audience can further solidify this choice for the developer. 

Considering the recent flare of flexible choices, opting for hybrid app development will benefit you in a lot of ways. It cuts down the time wasted in rewriting approved code from iPhone to Android and vice versa. 

Know Your Monetization Options

App development is an enterprise and requires a sound understanding of monetization strategies to stand on your own. While direct revenue via downloads is the most evident choice, you must remember that subtle payments and added value are far preferred by the current market. 

You can explore the pros and cons of:

  • premium (paid apps, entirely)
  • freemium (specified payments)
  • in-app purchases and subscription
  • in-app ads and sponsorships

Develop Your Sales Pitch 

The next step is to have a sales pitch that helps you convert investments. It is natural not to have a significant amount to get started with a personal app development project, but you can most certainly try reaching out to people who you think might be interested in funding you.

You could also choose to sell your app right away. If this is the case, you can pitch to potential buyers.

Here, the minimal viable product (MVP) is the focus. It will not only allow you to develop an app structure that works well and set the expectations for the final product, but also make your pitch stronger in front of potential sponsors and/or buyers, especially if you're just starting out.

Find a Successful Marketing Strategy

Once you have figured out the idea, platform, and payment model for the app in question, now is the time to think of the creative marketing strategy. The purchases of your app are dependent upon how your app is perceived by the target audience. 

Branding, PR, outreach and web presence must be taken care of by professional freelance marketers or agencies if you have the budget. In fact, you must keep the marketing budget aside in the beginning because as good as your app might be, correct marketing is key to make it big.

However, it will benefit you to have a basic knowledge of marketing and how it works. This will help you have a clear brand image of your app and its message. It will also enable you to invest in the right marketer and communicate with them well. 

Prepare for Launch

Optimization in the app store of choice is an organic way of boosting discoverability. Knowing the best practices and preliminary requirements to launch on the app store will help you cut down the period of unnecessary trial and error. 

Here are a few steps for app store optimization:

  • Pick a name and explanation that fits the 50 and 30 character limits for iOS and Android, respectively.
  • Have a dedicated keyword strategy for both iOS and Android. 
  • Design a brilliant logo that makes your app stand out. 
  • Use compelling screenshots to reveal the user interface. 
  • Write a readable description to explain the features. 
  • Use videos for better clarity and demonstration of your app.

Ensure Security Measures

Your app requires a robust privacy policy if it uses any sensitive or personal information of its users, which now almost every app does. So you need a policy that covers legal aspects and informs its users of what information you are going to use and how. This will help users trust you and, if needed, use it to address any concerns or issues. 

Not having a solid privacy policy for an app will lead to trouble later, so you must consider it an essential item to tick off before you launch your app.

Where Can You Learn More?

You can start the process of app development by reading more here on Envato Tuts+.

These resources will help you understand the basics so that you can make far more complex decisions. 

You can also take lessons from the online coding communities to transition from an enthusiast to a professional app developer. 

Soft Skills That App Development Demands

The key to being an excellent app developer is the use of soft skills; they not only help in building ideas from scratch but also provide you with the best connections.

In fact, before you tend to your own personal idea, it would work in your favor to have spent a substantial amount of time working with clients and developing their unconventional ideas.

Here are the soft skills you will need in the process of becoming a professional app developer:

  • problem-solving
  • communication
  • attention to detail
  • strategic thinking
  • time management

These skills can help you go far beyond your expectations regarding your portfolio and the money that follows. 

Final Thoughts

The process, although it might seem easy, is rather trial and error. So you have to be open to making mistakes and learning from them. It will get easier if your focus is not on the results but on the process and consistent growth.

When you start a new journey, you need a map to follow, and that we have laid out for you to give you an overview of what it takes to start in app development on your own.

Let us know on the Envato forum how this article gave you clarity.

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