Top Certifications for Mobile App Developers
Mobile application development deals with a series of processes involved in programming and building software for fast-operating handheld devices such as smart phones and tablets.
The use of smart phones and applications is now an integral facet of modern living altering forever our homes, workspaces, how we travel and communicate. There is intense competition among mobile software developers since hardware specifications; screen sizes and configurations within each platform are constantly changing.
There is also a steady growth rate in jobs and revenues. According to a 2013 analyst report, an estimated 529,000 direct app economy jobs were created within the 28 member countries of the European Union, and 60 percent of those jobs stemmed from mobile app developers.
Becoming a Mobile App Developer
Mobile developers who possess at least a bachelor's degree in mobile app development, software engineering, computer science or mobile computing stand a greater chance of being hired by an employer.
Note that whatever level of education an aspiring app developer has, employers put great stock in your past development projects. Experience is the key here — a portfolio of mobile apps you've designed will make a good impression on hiring managers.
From my perspective, a good mobile app developer must be able to break tasks down into sub-tasks. Doing so helps developers realize work priorities and efficiency. Simultaneously, a developer must keep their eye on the bigger picture of how all the components of an app should work together.
Knowledge and Skills
Mobile User Interface design — This is the most valuable component in mobile app development as it enables the developer build connections between a user and the app. Notable elements of user interface design include positioning of components to where the user is likely to expect them, use of colors, fast loading and operation of the application, activity indicators plus general help and basic tips.
Backend Computing is another valuable skill. It typically includes app security, hardware interaction, data base management, and memory allocation implementation.
Programming knowledge will definitely come in handy when you have to develop mobile applications. It includes, but not limited to familiarity with key programming languages such as C, C++ and Java, and mobile platform Application Programming Interfaces (API) like Android, Windows Mobile, iOS and Symbian.
Also helpful is a deep knowledge of web development languages such as HTML5 AND CSS, and being able to make use of cross platform mobile suites like Antenna and AMP (Accounting-Management-Promotion).
Business expertise is also most useful. All the computing knowledge without a firm understanding of the business environment is like trying to run in water. Due to the intense nature of competition, a mobile developer must know how to build an application whose visibility can be optimized among other available applications in the same category.
In addition to experience, education, skills and abilities, certifications are a surefire way to showcase one's ability to perform as a mobile app developer. Below are several certifications and sponsoring entities that are sure to help aspiring developers as they enter the field.
These sponsoring entities also provide training courses, self-study materials, and sample exam questions. They typically also include links to candidate forums to help you stay motivated and as a source for information.
Mobile Development Institute (MDI) — MDI is a not-for-profit making organization operating on three basic entry levels including; MDI Certified Developer certifications for Apple iOS, Google Android and BlackBerry. To be eligible for an MDI certification exam, candidates must have published at least an app on one of the platforms and the exam is performance-based.
Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) — Microsoft's certifications are some of the most sought-after in the industry. One of their best entry-level certifications is the MTA. They also offer intermediate certification in Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD). Both certifications focus on Windows development, mobile, gaming, software development and more.
Oracle Certification Program (OCP) — Oracle has one of the largest and fastest growing certification programs in the world with over 200 individual offerings. Their Java certifications include the Java ME Mobile Application Developer, previously known as the Sun Certified Mobile Developer (SCMAD).
SCMAD validates that a developers is extremely skilled in using Java technologies and are conversant with the Java Technology for Wireless Industry (JTWI) specification. As a prerequisite to go through the exam, candidates must have had an OCP Java Programmer or Sun Certified Java Programmer certificate and must pass a single exam.
AWS Certified Developer — Offered by Amazon Web Services, this certification is most suitable for developers who design, build and run applications on the AWS platform. A multiple-choice exam on AWS fundamentals must be taken coupled with designing, developing and deploying cloud-based solutions, security and debugging.
Salesforce Certified Platform App Builder – This certification is supported by Salesforce and is designed for app developers with the skills and knowledge to design, build, and implement custom mobile applications for businesses using the Force.com platform.
This certification is a great stepping-stone to the more advanced Certified Advanced Developer Certification, which lays emphasis on skills required to use Apex and Visualforce to build custom applications, create test plans and perform tests, and manage the development lifecycle and environments.
Red Hat Certified JBoss Developer (RHCJD) – Sponsored by Red Hat, Inc., the trusted provider of open source software solutions, the RHCJD developer certification takes into consideration a candidate's ability to build Java Enterprise Edition (JEE) applications on the JBoss Enterprise Middleware Application Platform or other JEE-compliant platforms. The RHCJD exam is heavily hands-on performance based (one four-hour session) on developing enterprise-ready Web projects, which comprises of contexts (CDI), POJO/JEE components, and identity information through APIs, Web/JSF components, Web navigation and more.
In It for the Long Haul
The market for mobile devices and apps shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Regardless of the mobile app certification you decide to pursue, you can be confident that there will be numerous job openings and promising career opportunities for IT professionals with the skills and desires to achieve.