How to Learn App Development

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Growth opportunities for mobile app developers show no sign of slowing down. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the number of software developer jobs will increase by 22% from 2020 to 2030.

If you're interested in learning app development, you can find several pathways to begin your career. This guide breaks down the different options for learning app development. It also provides profiles of the best coding apps to help you master mobile app development.

Coding Bootcamps

Coding bootcamps train students in various programming specializations, including mobile app development. These coding bootcamps offer an alternative to college programs. Students follow an intensive curriculum and gain expertise in their field within months.

Many programs last 3-6 months. They come in both part-time and full-time formats. Some programs facilitate in-person classes, but many students prefer to enroll in coding bootcamps online. Coding bootcamps teach students the theory and skills behind coding. Students practice building their own mobile apps in class.

Online Courses

You can also choose to learn app development through online courses. These courses are often more flexible and less expensive than bootcamps, many offering a self-paced curriculum. Online courses also come with a wide range of time commitments, learning formats, and range of prices.In fact, you can even find some free online courses.

These five online courses show the scope of programs available:

  • Harvard University Computer Science and Mobile Apps: Offered as a part of HarvardX's online curriculum, this course teaches students how to develop an app using JavaScript, JSX, ES6, and React Native. It lasts six months, with students dedicating 6-13 hours a week to the course.
  • Code Academy Mobile App Development: Code Academy facilities several courses in app development, depending on students' experience level and professional interests. Beginner courses teach learners the building blocks, and intermediate courses allow users to practice building their own apps.
  • Shaw Academy Mobile App Development: This 16-week course instructs students on how to create apps for both Android and iOS devices. The academy occasionally runs deals allowing students to enroll within the first few weeks free of tuition.
  • Vanderbilt University Android App Development: This course is for individuals who wish to focus on Android app development. It lasts approximately five months. Students who complete the program receive a shareable certificate.
  • Apple Develop in Swift: Students who prefer iOS development may choose to take courses directly from Apple through the company's training programs.

Online Courses vs. Bootcamps

Pros and Cons of App Development Bootcamps
Pros Cons
  • The intensive nature of bootcamps allows students to gain advanced knowledge in a relatively short time.
  • Students can receive personalized feedback from instructors.
  • Structured programs can help students who might struggle with time management, self-motivation, or discipline.
  • Bootcamps require a greater time commitment than online courses.
  • They generally cost more than online courses .
  • Bootcamp programs and learning formats are often less flexible, with students joining set class times.
Pros and Cons of App Development Courses
Pros Cons
  • Courses come with a range of prices, with some online programs offering free or heavily discounted programs.
  • Courses often follow a self-paced format, allowing students more flexibility.
  • Courses have varying time commitments, so many students can finish the courses at their own pace.
  • Online courses require self-discipline and strict time management skills, which may challenge some students.
  • These programs may not come with the same accreditation or credentials as bootcamps.
  • Students may not receive as much personalized feedback.

Coding Bootcamps to Learn App Development

Bottega

  • Location: Remote, Salt Lake City
  • Program Cost: $12,000
  • Learning Format: In-Person, Online
  • Time Commitment: Full-Time, Part-Time

Evening & Weekend Options
Start For Free

At Bottega, students can enroll in a few different app development courses: a beginner course that teaches students how to create apps for iPhone and Android with React Native; a second course trains JS developers how to develop an app; and a more advanced course serves as an option for developers already experienced in React.

The beginner course includes six weeks of intensive online instruction for part-time and full-time students. However, part-time students can spread out the material and finish the full course in 16 weeks. Each course comes with mentor assistance and lifetime access to the course materials. Students also get access to resources in landing internships and apprenticeships.

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Covalence

  • Location: Remote
  • Program Cost: $9,500
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Time Commitment: Full-Time, Part-Time, Self-Paced

Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options
Start For Free

Covalence offers courses that focus on full-stack JavaScript with lessons in React, Node.js, and MySQL. Students can enroll in an immersive program that utilizes these skills to teach students mobile app development. The full-time option lasts three months, while the part-time course takes seven months to complete. The bootcamps also come with one-on-one mentoring, mental health check-ins, and professional career guidance.

Covalence also facilitates self-paced courses in two options: Atomic and Molecular. However, these programs do not come with some of the features of the immersive programs, such as mentoring and career planning.

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Devmountain

  • Location: Remote, Dallas, Lehi
  • Program Cost: $7,900
  • Learning Format: In-Person, Online
  • Time Commitment: Full-Time, Part-Time

Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options

Devmountain offers several bootcamps for people interested in programming; the UX design immersive and iOS development course may especially appeal to individuals interested in app development.

The iOS development course enrolls students with some light coding experience. It builds on that foundation with tools like Github, Xcode, Objective-C and Swift over the course of 16 weeks. Devmountain also runs a part-time option, lasting 24-36 weeks.

The full-time UX design immersive teaches learners how to build intuitive user experiences into applications and software. Students master skills like prototyping, information architecture and visual design.

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Nucamp

  • Location: Remote, Pittsburgh, Charleston, Nashville, Chattanooga, Baltimore, Knoxville, Philadelphia, Detroit, Orlando, Minneapolis, Dallas
  • Program Cost: $1,480
  • Learning Format: Hybrid, Online
  • Time Commitment: Part-Time

Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options

At Nucamp, students can enroll in the front end web and mobile developer bootcamp. The program follows a part-time schedule with 15 students in each class so that learners can receive individualized feedback. Students watch video lectures during the week, dedicating 2-4 hours each weekday to the bootcamp. They also participate in a live workshop each Saturday. The bootcamp breaks the curriculum into three sections, with students submitting a project portfolio every 4-5 weeks.

This program requires incoming students to possess light programming knowledge. Nucamp offers a four-week course introducing students to HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for those without any background in programming.

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The Tech Academy

  • Location: Remote, Portland, Salt Lake City
  • Program Cost: $5,300
  • Learning Format: In-Person, Online
  • Time Commitment: Full-Time, Part-Time

Career Services
CIRR Member
Evening & Weekend Options

Among its several bootcamps, The Tech Academy runs a mobile app development course that teaches students how to build apps for iOS and Android. The bootcamp covers programming languages like Swift, Objective-C, and Java with over 700 hours of instruction. Students also learn both front-end and back-end development.

The bootcamp lasts 18 weeks for full-time students and 34 weeks for part-time students. The last two weeks of the program are dedicated to student projects and a job placement course.

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Get the Qualities You Want in a Bootcamp

We use icons to make browsing bootcamps easy for you. Use this breakdown to quickly identify program qualities you are looking for.

Accepts GI Bill®

Accepts the GI Bill® as funding for tuition.

Also Available In Person

This online bootcamp also offers in-person options.

Career Services

Offers career services to help you land your dream job after graduation.

CIRR Member

This bootcamp is a current member of the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting. Learn more at cirr.org.

Evening & Weekend Options

Bootcamps are offered during convenient evening and weekend hours.

Job Guarantee

Employment is guaranteed as soon as you finish your bootcamp.

Money-Back Guarantee

Tuition is refunded if you don't land a job within a given time frame after graduation. Visit the bootcamp website for terms and conditions.

Start for Free

No deposit is required to get started. Begin your bootcamp for $0.

Methodology

Bootcamp Ranking Guidelines

At BestColleges, we believe the best bootcamp is the one that fits your schedule, your learning needs, and your career aspirations. That's why we often present our recommendations in alphabetical order -- because the real best bootcamp is the bootcamp that's best for you.

Our Methodology

The Bootcamp Team at BestColleges has collected data for over 150 bootcamps to help you find the best bootcamp.

At BestColleges, we believe the best bootcamp is the one that fits your schedule, your learning needs, and your career aspirations. That's why we often present our recommendations in alphabetical order -- because the real best bootcamp is the bootcamp that's best for you.

At this time, our recommendation round-ups feature only immersive bootcamps designed to prepare students for job placement upon graduation.

To be included on our lists, bootcamps must meet the following criteria:

  • Must offer at least one bootcamp in the United States.
  • Must offer at least one bootcamp that is a minimum of 4 weeks long.
  • Must require at least 15 hours of work per week if the bootcamp is part time.
  • Must encourage at least 10 hours of work per week if the bootcamp is self-paced.

Pricing disclosure: The prices listed were collected from product websites in 2022. However, given the dynamic, fast-paced nature of the tech space, prices are subject to change throughout the year. To get the most up-to-date information about pricing, contact providers directly.

Methodology for Recommending Cheap Bootcamps:

  • The bootcamp must meet all of the general criteria listed above.
  • The bootcamp must cost less than $8,000 if it is offered full time, and less than $5,000 if it is offered part time. These numbers were chosen based on data collected by BestColleges in 2020 that determined the average cost of a coding bootcamp is $13,580.

App Development Jobs

Software Developer

Software developers create mobile and computer applications that facilitate users' technological usage. This software could include work-related programs or fitness and entertainment applications. These professionals start by developing ideas based on users' needs and wants, and then use coding languages to create these apps and software programs.

Median Annual Salary
$110,140

Computer Programmer

Similar to software developers, computer programmers use coding languages like C++ and Java to create computer applications. These programmers focus on computer applications and software; however, they often use several of the same coding skills needed for mobile apps. Computer programmers also develop updates to improve their programs.

Median Annual Salary
$93,000

Web Developer

These professionals utilize programming languages such as HTML, JavaScript, Python, and Ruby to create websites. They often work for clients, taking into account their clients' feedback and goals to develop a usable web interface. Web developers often create applications for websites to increase their functionality as well. Back-end web developers concentrate on the site's technical construction, while front-end developers focus on the site's appearance.

Median Annual Salary
$77,200

What Are the Benefits of an App Development Certification?

People in this profession do not necessarily need to obtain app development certification to find a job. That said, certification can help individuals in this career. A certificate is a credential of your professional expertise, allowing you to back your programming proficiency when searching for jobs. Certification can work as leverage to help you negotiate a higher salary or advocate a higher-level position.

Frequently Asked Questions About Learning App Development

Is app development easy to learn?

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If you want to develop an app without any background in programming or coding, then your task will certainly seem difficult. But with the right training in skills such as React Native or Javascript, learning app development is feasible — even if it can sometimes seem challenging. The difficulty level also depends on how much effort and discipline you put in as a student.

How can I create my own app?

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First, you need to learn a programming language. Popular choices include Java, JavaScript, Swift, Kotlin, and Dart. You can find various bootcamps and courses that focus on specific languages. Many of these programs offer online learning so individuals can fit the course into their schedules. These programs also often include a final project for which learners can develop their own app in class with feedback from teachers or mentors.

After being equipped with coding skills, you can build your own app. The more you learn and practice, the more sophisticated your app can become.

Where can I learn app development for free?

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Most intensive courses and bootcamps charge students a tuition fee. These programs sometimes offer scholarships, payment plans, or partner with financial service providers to offer low-interest loan opportunities. Bootcamps also may facilitate programs in which students do not pay until after they graduate and become employed.

That said, you can find some free online courses. This course from the Institute of Coding, for instance, offers a seven-day free trial. This EdX course teaches students how to develop an app for iOS, but with limited access to course materials for learners who choose the free audit track.

What should I study for app development?

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To turn app development into a profession, you should study the programming languages required to create applications. Common programming languages include HTML and CSS, although app developers often study Java, JavaScript, and Swift.

While some people attend college to learn computer programming, others attend bootcamps or online courses. These programs allow students to specialize in a specific skill in a shorter amount of time than a four-year degree. Bootcamps and courses usually last weeks or months. Bootcamps especially tend to offer more intensive coursework, allowing students to learn and practice hands-on skills within this timeframe.

Feature Image: S Rawu Th Ni Rothr / EyeEm / Getty Images