In 2006, “Google” became a verb in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. It was a revolutionary moment in time that demonstrated how digital technologies can transform society.
Just two years later, the iTunes App Store transformed opportunities to “google” information on a computer desktop to new opportunities that allowed mobile phone users to start enjoying digital experiences while out on the go.
These “apps” ranged in everything from games to location-based social networking to medical applications to enterprise productivity tools and beyond, according to Apple Press. This ultimately new approach to accomplishing everyday tasks, socializing or self-entertainment, earned 10 million downloads from the App Store in just three days and once again technology added to dialogue and behavior. We now questioned whether or not “there’s an app for that” to help improve how we manage living or access and organize data.
There’s no sign of it slowing down either. According to Statista, after adding Android App developments into the mix, the annual worldwide consumer spending on mobile apps via app stores is projected to reach more than $101 billion by 2020.
We’ve seen such mobile innovation quickly progress on devices and spark new terms from the days of “pocket-dialing” to advancements that allowed an ability to “tweet” personalized messages out to the world.
Not only is there a massive variety of apps to choose from, but also there is a wide range of audiences that target everyone from tiny tots to powerhouse professionals. There seems to be an app to suit almost every single need all of which has helped mobile programming to become an explosive economy not to mention an exciting and growing career.
“We have seen a big shift in the software industry as consumers have migrated to using their mobile phone and tablets as their primary computing devices. Consumers are no longer tied down to a desktop computer or laptop. Businesses recognize that and have moved to a mobile-first strategy,” said Kent Yang, senior technical manager of G2 Software Systems and Android I instructor for UC San Diego Extension.
During more recent years, “mobile first strategies” have become a reality in order for businesses to survive. According to Techopedia, the term is defined as “companies increasing tendency to design products for mobile phones or devices before making correlate designs for traditional desktops and laptop computers.”
In this mobile-first world, there has been much debate about whether programmers should specialize in Android or iOS or try to learn both. While it might sound similar to the age-old Microsoft vs. Apple comparison, it’s much different as the requirements in those are more general than that of mobile programming.
“Take for example Java, it can run on everything. Mobile programming is very different and requires you to learn a completely different skillset for each operating system. Objective C is a very specific language, said Ahmed Bakir, an instructor for Extension’s new iOS Programming specialized certificate and author of one of Amazon’s top 10 programming books, Program the Internet of Things with Swift for iOS.
For those hoping to learn mobile programming software, there is a different level of commitment for these specific platforms.
“Both Android and iOS are strong and so different. Additionally, both are developing so fast that it has required professionals in the field to specialize and learn more than what can be offered in general mobile programming curriculums,” said Bakir.
Android and iOS are both proprietary and fundamentally different. This requires programmers to commit to learning one or the other to elevate within the profession. Each design pattern is very unique and the technology changes so fast.
Those seeking advancement in this particular field should aim for quality specialized instruction that offers current practice based techniques, says Bakir.
Although it may have once been thought best to learn both Android and iOS operating systems to remain competitive within the job market, experts such as Bakir and Yang present a different thought that not only ends the debate but provides a solid answer for job seeking mobile programmers.
While it is good to have a strong foundation in both technologies, specialization is critical to advance and keep up with each new development, says Bakir.
Bakir started his own business as a freelancer seven years ago to make mobile apps for other companies, such as Target, Citrix and the Indy Car Racing Series. He says the opportunities have been endless. He now operates a larger business, devAtelier of San Diego, where he says it’s still hard to find talent to fit the industry demand.
To meet this need, Extension has recently split its Mobile Programming certificate program into two separate specialization opportunities to launch during summer 2016, where students can gain a competitive edge in Android or iOS programming as these technologies continue to evolve how we live, work and communicate.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (858) 534-9352. To learn about more opportunities within Extension’s Technology area of study, visit extension.ucsd.edu/technology or follow on Twitter @UCSDExtTech.