What Degree is Needed to Become an App Developer?

There isn’t a specific degree needed to become an app developer, but there a few majors favored by most app developers and employers. Many app developers feel that self-education is best, but formal degrees provide professional training, expertise and knowledge.

Software Development

Associate and bachelor’s degrees in software development build technical skill sets and provide students with specialized bodies of knowledge. Students learn how to utilize different software languages to create long lasting business solutions. They are also exposed to emerging mobile device app development and cyber security. Software development programs help students gain strong design, programming and systems analysis skills. They also emphasize hands-on learning over testing and memorization for software developer students, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Many programs even offer cloud-based virtual labs for developing, testing, deploying and debugging applications for the web and mobile devices. There are classes on data structures and algorithms, which introduce abstract concepts like linked lists, stacks and queues. Students learn how to create algorithms for sorting, searching and implementing data structures. Classes on website usability and software design review the factors that affect usability and the goal driven nature of user requirements. Students learn about design tools, research methods and approaches for user centered designs.

Software Programming

Software programming degrees focus on a select number or popular languages such as PHP, Python and C++. Classes on C++ cover the fundamentals of object oriented programming. Students are introduced to functions, control structures, decision making and data types like arrays and strings. This fundamental class prepares students to succeed in integrated programming environments that create small-scale programs to solve real business problems. Classes on Linux and Unix programming train students how to write scripts for a variety of Linux operating systems and functions.

Software programming degrees usually include classes on database design, so students will understand the underlying concepts and functions of relational databases. Key concepts of database design including entity relationship diagrams, relational structure creation and the translation of models to tables and database objects. Some programs may offer separate classes on Structured Query Language (SQL) database programming. Regardless of the class, students will be assigned hands-on work with efficient coding, syntax, documentation and programming techniques.

Software Engineering Degree

A software engineering degree will cover broader topics like information systems analysis and design that provides comprehensive coverage of current trends and techniques. Students are introduced to different schools of thought, such as traditionally structured approaches and object-oriented approaches to systems development. There are almost always classes on teamwork, communication and project management. The latter will teach participants about how to define and manage a project’s scope, specifications and schedules. When it comes to software engineering, students must know how to create work breakdown structures and strategic task plans to maintain control.

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Technical classes include systems architecture development, which covers the architecture of operating systems and how software succeeds and struggles to interact with these operating systems. Networking fundamental classes cover topics ranging from TCP/IP to web servers to local area networks. These classes directly relate to cyber security topics about the future of network security administration. Students learn about cryptography, system integrity, network security and vulnerability remediation strategies. They are also introduced to the basic process of reverse engineering digital threats.

Alternative degrees needed to become an app developer include computer science, systems engineering and program development.