How can I learn about app development?

Learn to program apps

You have a great or promising idea and want to be able to implement it. So program an app and offer it to users for free use or for sale in a suitable app store of their choice? We'll show you how to take the first steps to be able to program an app and which skills you need. We summarize for you which programming languages ​​and skills you need and which platforms and properties you should take into account in each case. So you can soon start programming your own app.

Table of Contents

Learning to develop apps: Brief overview

Programming apps is not child's play. If possible, you should already have previous knowledge of a programming language. If you want to program apps based on the Android operating system, you should be able to program in Java if possible. For iOS apps, on the other hand, you need knowledge of Objective-C and Swift.

So-called app construction kits are an alternative to the programming skills mentioned above. With these you can implement many functions very easily and start creating your own app with practically no prior knowledge. However, most of these kits are chargeable. Programming knowledge also helps here if you want to use the full potential of these tools.

What are apps?

Apps are actually just simple computer programs as you are probably familiar with from your PC. The difference is simply that apps are used on mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. This offers some special features, as these devices have different sensors, which are also available to you in the app. Manufacturers provide programming libraries for their devices so that these special features of mobile end devices are available in the app. With the appropriate technical understanding, you can then access the sensors and functions of the devices with your app.

Another special feature of apps are the touchscreens on mobile devices. Since these are offered in different sizes, the programmers of apps must ensure that the apps adapt to the size of the screen and can be used at any time.

In addition, you always have to take the properties of the operating system into account when programming. There are significant differences between iOS and Android, which should be taken into account when designing the app.

Learning to program an app - how does it work?

If you want to program your own app from scratch, you should already decide at the beginning for which platform, i.e. for which operating system the app should be available. Because, on the one hand, you need different programming languages ​​and, on the other hand, the operating systems provide their own focus and options for app programming.

In order to program an app for Android devices, you have to master the programming language Java. For iOS devices, on the other hand, you need both the Objective-C programming language and Apple's own Swift programming language.

Programming apps for iOS

IOS is used as the operating system on all Apple mobile devices. Regardless of whether it is an iPhone, iPad or iPod, every app for these devices must be compatible with iOS. In addition, Apple only allows the installation of apps from its own AppStore.However, in order to be able to offer apps in this store, you have to register as Register a developer with Apple and a annual fee pay. In addition, Apple takes a certain share of the sales of the apps in order to operate the app store.

In order to program an app for Apple's iOS, you not only have to master the language, but also have a Mac operating system. Because only on these computers is it possible to use the Xcode programming environment. Xcode is a product specially developed by Apple, which in terms of its handling hardly differs from the solutions offered by the competition. In order to be able to program an app within this programming environment, you should, however, have a command of the programming languages ​​Objective-C and Swift.

You also need the Apple SDK (Software Development Kit) to install Xcode. You can find more information and initial help on this tool on the associated developer page at Apple.

Programming apps for Android

The Google's Android operating system is extremely widespread and in use on many smartphones and tablets. This means that you can reach a lot of people with a suitable app on this operating system. The app store for the Android operating system is called the Play Store and can be accessed directly via the respective end device. There are also many other stores online, as Google allows apps to be used outside of its own Play Store. Large companies such as Amazon now have their own app store for their own apps.

Even with Android you have to sign up as a developer, if you want to offer your own app in the store. With Google you have to no annual fee pay, just that Confirm registration with a one-time fee. You can then offer your app for download or sale directly in the Play Store. However, if you sell your app, Google will also keep a commission for the sale.

You don't need a special computer to program an app for Android. All you have to do is download and install the Android SDK. With programming knowledge in Java, you can basically start programming your app straight away.

Where and how can I learn to program apps?

There are countless points of contact online if you want to learn how to program apps. The choice can be a bit overwhelming, however. So I have the best (German-speaking) courses and content collected in the following section.

Personally, I think a lot of the online courses and have taught myself JavaScript with two such courses at udemy.com.

Learn app programming in online courses

The main advantage of professional, paid online courses is that higher quality. The information is structured and well thought out. The learning content is always and everywhere available and can be repeated or paused as often as you like so that everyone can learn at their own pace. In some cases there is also additional learning material. With some providers there is also a certificate of completion.

Edley.de - Learn to program an app for beginners

In this course by software engineer Bengt Weiße, the participant is guided through the whole process of app development. Participants learn step by step to program their own app with Ionic in connection with StencilJS. In text and video material everything is taught what you need to independently develop hybrid apps for iOS and Android. After completing the course, you can also get a certificate for an additional charge.

The course is extensive and includes in addition to the Introduction to all necessary tools also the Practice lessons in which one own app builds.

Udemy.com - The Complete Android 8 Developer Course - Build 20+ Apps

In this course by Denis Panjuta the participant will learn in 31 hours of video teaching material taught everything you need to know independently develop Android apps. The author is convinced that after participating you will be able to implement every idea you have in your own app. So that after graduation you can even apply for junior software programmer positions.

The course is correspondingly extensive and, in addition to an introduction to all the necessary tools, also includes a Java and Kotlin crash course and a lot of practical lessons in which you can recreate various apps (such as Snaptchat, Super Mario Run or Flappy Bird).

More than 11,500 participants have booked this course so far. With a rating of 4.2 out of 5 points from 1,300 ratings this course is the bestseller on udemy.com.

Tip: Udemy regularly offers discounts for new customers so that you can save a lot.

Udemy.com - The Complete Android 8 Developer Course - Build 20+ Apps

The course, especially for creating apps for iOS (version 14) with the Swift programming language (version 5), was created by Christian Gesty, who has also published many other Swift courses on udemy.com. In the course, the participant is given in 52 hours of video teaching material taught everything you need to know Independently develop iOS apps with the Swift programming language.

The Course is very extensive and, in addition to an introduction to all the necessary tools and Swift, contains a lot of practical lessons in which you can build different apps (such as a calculator, a BMI calculator, a quiz and finally a WhatsApp clone).

More than 1,700 participants have booked this course so far. With a rating of 4.4 out of 5 points from 370 ratings this course is the bestseller on udemy.com.

Learning to develop apps at a distance university

Some distance universities also offer courses to certified app programmer via distance learning to become. At some distance universities, you can even acquire a Master's or Bachelor of Science degree in app development. As a rule, the costs for distance learning are of course somewhat higher, but the quality of the courses should also be high. Another benefit is that Certificates or even Bachelor or Master degrees, which are awarded by the distance universities and recognized by employers are.

Alternatives: program iOS and Android apps using the app kit

Even if your programming knowledge is only rudimentary and it is too difficult for you to delve deeper into one of the programming languages ​​mentioned, you should use so-called App builders take a closer look. Because these programs do the coding for you. So you could start right away without any programming knowledge, even if we advise against it. At least a basic understanding of programming and the programming language should be present.

The selection of app construction kits on the Internet is astonishingly large, even if the individual programs differ only slightly from one another. In the following I will introduce you to the - in my opinion - best German-language app builder.

AppYourself

AppYourself offers the possibility to create progressive web apps, apps for iOS and Android without prior knowledge and to publish them in the app or play store. The app construction kit offers more than 30 modules for assembling the app and its own CMS to maintain the content of the app.

The app construction kit is particularly geared towards the beauty, hairdressing, gastronomy, hotels, clubs and services sectors in general and offers matching standard functions. Among other things, you can easily create apps for:
  • customer care,
  • Appointment bookings,
  • Table reservations,
  • Menus,
  • Orders and deliveries,
  • Bonus systems,
  • Vouchers,
  • News

and much more.

So the AppYourself kit is particularly interesting for the self-employed, small businesses, clubs and restaurantswho do not have a large budget for creating their own app but could benefit a lot from it.

However, the good solutions on the market also require a fee. Because such a construction kit offers an enormous variety and an astonishing range of possibilities, so that the developers rightly demand money for their construction kit. Usually this is a monthly fee, the amount of which can vary from provider to provider.

A distinction must be made between native apps and progressive web apps. Native apps are real apps that are often installed on your smartphone. Progressive web apps are more mobile-friendly solutions that are accessed via the browser.

While these can be programmed particularly easily, this is very different with native apps. Since these are often much more complex and have more functions, it can take a lot of time to develop such an app. Even with a modular system, it can take so long that several hundred euros can easily be incurred before the app can hit the market.

Summary

  • Programming apps is a bit more complex overall. Depending on the goal, there is no getting around programming knowledge in, for example, Java. So in order to be able to program an app yourself, you should teach yourself Java (for Android apps) or Objective-C or Swift (for Apple iOS).
  • If you just want to build a very simple app yourself, e.g. a quiz or the like, app construction kits can be a solution for you. However, these are usually chargeable.
  • Note, however, that the entire development process is a bit more complex, as you also have to find your way around the development environments and should also test the apps on the various Android or iOS versions if possible.
  • For all those who want to specialize exclusively in programming and developing their own apps, we have listed the options above in the form of special courses and books on the subject.
  • For anyone who doesn't just want to program apps, I would recommend learning Java programming first.

FAQ: Frequently asked questions

Why should I learn to program the app?

Just think about how many smartphones are in use around the world and how often you hold your smartphone in your hand alone. In addition, there are tablets from the various manufacturers, which are also used regularly. The opportunities that the development of new applications and apps offer you are therefore enormous. With just one good idea and its professional implementation, you can reach many people worldwide.

In a nutshell: The programming of apps is not only promising and tempting, but often also very lucrative. The job prospects are accordingly good at the moment if you are able to program an app. The better you are, of course, the bigger the salary jumps that come with your experience.