What Is an Application Developer? (Definition and Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Different applications play an important role in making online tasks easy. If you have an interest in technology and coding, especially developing mobile applications, you can consider a career as an application developer. Gaining knowledge about educational requirements, various responsibilities of an application developer and skills you need to become one can help you decide if this can be the career choice for you. In this article, we discuss what is an application developer, the responsibilities they have, how to become one, the skills you need to gain for this role, work environment of an application developer, the average salary they earn and why this career has a high employment outlook.

What is an application developer?

An application developer is a software engineer who designs, creates, tests, programs and updates applications for a particular device like mobile or web or a specific operating system. Application developers typically specialise in one area of development, like a mobile phone application. They are also involved in performing regular updates on applications and releasing the latest update to the end-users. They are an important part of the project management or technical team that is responsible for meeting user needs.

Apart from the information technology industry, application developers work in almost every industry.

Read more: What Is a Software Developer? Definition and Skills

Roles and responsibilities of an application developer

Here are the roles and responsibilities an application developer handles and performs on a regular basis:

  • understand the client's requirement and specifications required in the application they need to develop

  • create prototypes for the applications as per the client brief

  • write quality code to develop and deliver the application in the agreed time frame

  • test the applications before launch

  • troubleshoot and debug the application if any errors arise

  • evaluate existing applications, add additional features, reprogram parts to improve performance and release updates

  • develop handbooks and documents that represent the code and design of the application

How to become an application developer

Below are the steps you need to follow to become an application developer:

1. Get a bachelor's degree

Typically, you need to attain 50% marks in the 12th standard to become eligible for an engineering entrance exam. To become an application developer, you can attain a bachelor's degree in computer engineering, computer science or other related fields. These programs help you gain knowledge about the basics of computer and programming skills such as Java, PHP, HTML and My SQL, plus general computer, application and software functionality.

2. Gain experience

Practical experience can help you strengthen your coding skills and also boost your confidence. To gain experience, you can pursue an internship during your bachelor's degree courses. This can help you develop your skills and build your resume. Also, internships give you a chance to network with other IT professionals for career insight and potential future job opportunities.

3. Attain a master's degree

Although not mandatory, depending on the industry and the company, some employers prefer candidates to have a master's degree in computer science, particularly for higher-level positions. You can do M.Tech in computer science by taking different entrance exams like G.A.T.E. As master's degrees are often more specialised than bachelor's degrees, you will have a unique set of skills and in-depth knowledge to offer an employer. There is also a high chance you get placed on the college campus at a good company with a higher designation.

4. Gain certifications

Application developers often specialise in a particular type of development, whether it is creating mobile apps or developing software for a specific operating system. Certifications allow them to develop their skills while demonstrating to employers that they have the necessary abilities to perform the required duties. Most programming language and functionality certifications can be done in your free time and remotely.

5. Enhance your resume

You can enhance your resume with the latest education qualifications, skills and experience. You may look for skills or certifications in demand in the industry and upskill yourself. Also, customise your resume using the keywords of the job description. It may increase the chances you have of getting shortlisted.

Read more: What Is a Full Stack Developer? Benefits and Career Advice

Skills of an application developer

An application developer must have these soft and hard skills:

Soft skills

Below are a few soft skills an application developer posses:

  • Communication skills: Application developers need to be able to communicate concisely and effectively with their teams. They must also be able to convey highly technical information to non-technical individuals so it is easy to understand and have strong written communication skills to create documents, manuals and release notes related to the application or software.

  • Technical skills: Application developers need to have high-level programming skills and know different types of coding languages to succeed in their roles.

  • Problem-solving skills: Closely related to being able to interpret user needs is being able to take that information and find new solutions to answer it. Application developers should be able to see what their users are experiencing and determine how they can solve the problem or optimise the experience.

  • Attention to detail: Application developers need to be able to catch potential problems in functionality during development, testing and launch.

  • Analytical skills: App developers should be able to interpret user needs and apply this to the mobile application products they create.

  • Creative skills: Developers are often given a list of client requirements for each project. Using this framework, application developers need to be able to think creatively to find a solution to meet client's needs.

  • Patience: Developing and testing software can take time because they often need to test the code multiple times to fix the bugs, if any. Developers must be able to stay calm and patient while trying various iterations of the same solution.

Read more: Basic Computer Skills: Definition and Examples

Hard skills

For a highly technical role, such as an application developer, training in and knowledge of key programming languages is necessary. The most in-demand hard skills for an app developer include:

  • Command-line utilities

  • Agile methodologies

  • App store functionality

  • Android platforms, language and requirements

  • C/C++

  • UI/UX Graphical user interface design

  • Core data

  • Cascading style sheets (CSS)

  • HTML5

  • Java

  • Website design and development

  • PHP

  • Javascript

  • Node.js development

  • Python

  • SQL

  • Responsive web design

Read more: What Is a Computer Programmer? Definition and Career Advice

Work environment for an application developer

The application developer's work environment depends on their employer, if the developer is working full-time or part-time with them and if the developer is self-employed. A lot of application developers work on a contractual basis and schedule their own working hours.

That said, the development of applications is a collaborative process and developers may need to work in teams with tasks assigned to designing, developing and program applications to different team members. Much of an application developer's time is spent working at a desk.

Read more: 20 People Skills To Use in the Workplace and Include on a Resume

Average salary of an application developer

The yearly average base salary of an application developer is ₹3,26,957 per year. Also, the average salary depends upon the experience, education and also geographical location you are based at. For example, an application developer based in Kerala earns an annual salary of ₹3,35,449 per year, a Chandigarh based application developer earns an average salary of ₹3,21,477 per year and an average base salary of a Himachal Pradesh developer is ₹3,15,842 per year.

Best degrees for an application developer

As an application developer, software developer or related career, it is important to have specific hard skills that are most often developed through formal education. Here are the best two-year and four-year degrees to earn for this career:

  • data science

  • software engineering

  • cybersecurity

  • business administration

  • software development

  • mathematics

  • information technology

Job outlook for application developers

The employment rate for application developers or software developers is in an upward trend. This is due to the increased demand for applications for smartphones and tablets.

Nowadays, most every company looks forward to launching its application. For example, a medical and health insurance company's new software programs may administer policies digitally, which helps them manage new enrollments. Many companies choose to launch their application to provide easy accessibility to their products or services to their customers and encourage their frequent browsing. Such requirements have increased the demand for application developers in the industry.

Salary figures mentioned in the article reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the applicant's academic background, job location, experience and hiring organisation.

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