Mobile App Skills: A Note to Universities

Last week, I had a welcome enquiry from one of our local universities asking which skills students need to work in the mobile app industry. Here is my reply:

I have tried to find students from the Southampton area to write
mobile apps. But find the good ones are busy already :)

For mobile apps, we mean:

  • Objective C / Cocoa for iPhone/iPad
  • Java + Android SDK for Android
  • Java J2ME for Blackberry
  • C# for upcoming Windows 8
  • HTML5 – the great white hope for the future

I have also used Titanium Appcelerator.

Also needed is familiarity with version control tools, ideally
Subversion and Git.
Plus knowledge of the publication tools for each of the platforms.
Eclipse, Xcode, iOS developer center, itunesconnect, Android Market,
Blackberry App World, Windows Phone Marketplace. In other words, how to compile, build and
distribute your app.

I like to see students who know how to approach a new design.

  • Requirements capture.
  • Writing specifications.
  • Clarifying requirements with the customer (probably in an iterative way).
  • Estimation + costing.
  • Project planning, reporting & documentation.
  • As well as design, development and testing.

A good showcase of previously developed apps would be a massive advantage.

Also, the technology moves quickly. So keep up to date with the latest
APIs, tools, distribution methods and platforms.
They will probably be different next year.
E.g. Android on TV, Windows 8 Swype for Tablet, HTML 5, an Apple TVĀ  ..?

One more plus. Students who can work as freelancers will probably do
best. A friend of mine frequents the Shoreditch area in London. There
are cafes there populated by freelancers working together on projects in a
very ad-hoc way.
So teaching students how to approach a potential client and sell
themselves, then do estimations, timekeeping, invoicing, accounts (or
find an accountant), become sole traders or Ltd companies etc etc.

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