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Career Path: How to become a Mobile Engineer

Mobile Engineering is one of the hottest fields in the tech industry. Over four billion internet users currently own smartphones or tablets—a number that keeps getting larger. Even better, estimates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics project a thirty percent growth in job opportunities for software developers, including mobile engineers, by 2026. Simply put. If you’re looking for a career path that offers interesting projects, attractive salaries and solid potential for growth, becoming a mobile engineer is a great pick.

Getting a Degree

It’s possible to break i...more

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Career Path: How to become a Mobile Engineer

Mobile Engineering is one of the hottest fields in the tech industry. Over four billion internet users currently own smartphones or tablets—a number that keeps getting larger. Even better, estimates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics project a thirty percent growth in job opportunities for software developers, including mobile engineers, by 2026. Simply put. If you’re looking for a career path that offers interesting projects, attractive salaries and solid potential for growth, becoming a mobile engineer is a great pick.

Getting a Degree

It’s possible to break into the field of mobile engineering without a college degree, but you’ll have a much easier task landing a job with one. Recruiters typically prefer mobile engineers with degrees in computer science, software development or a related field. In 2017, over 67 percent of the job postings in Apple, Facebook, Cisco System and Intel required that candidates had a degree; and a 100 percent of the openings at Mozilla and Twitter listed a degree as a core requirement. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a job without a degree—it just means you’ll have to work harder. The question of a degree matters less if you’re looking to be your own boss as a freelance mobile developer.

Choose a Platform

As a mobile engineer, you’ll be designing and building applications for mobile devices, but not all mobile devices run with the same operating system. This means, your technical skills will affect what class of devices you can work on. Learning more about the platforms gives you a clearer idea about the direction your studies will need to take. In 2018, the two major platforms (with over 90% of the market) were iOS and Android. Each of these platforms has its own core language and development environment. For instance, Android is written in Java and iOS’s core language is Objective-C and Swift.

Develop your Skills

In addition to a college degree, you can boost your skills and qualifications by signing up for a boot camp program or enrolling in a developer’s academy. Sites like Coursera, Udemy and Lynda offer intensive programs designed for specific mobile platforms. You can also learn more by using resources online, following blogs, reading books and watching videos.

Start Coding

Develop an app. It doesn’t really matter what you develop, as long as it works and is functional. Having a portfolio of apps that you’ve developed comes in useful when you apply for jobs, especially entry-level positions. Employers want to see candidates who display an ability to work on their own without supervision. If you're short of ideas, another way of expanding your resume is by taking on freelance mobile development jobs on sites like Guru or Upwork.

Working as an Intern or Junior-Level Developer

Working as an intern or junior-level developer, your duties will largely be of a supportive category, including tasks like troubleshooting apps and tracking design requests. In addition to technical skills, some of the qualities that will help you quickly grow in your role include:

  • Good communication skills
  • Being able to work with teams
  • Good analytical skills
  • An ability to work towards tight deadlines

Advance Your Career: How to become a Senior Mobile Engineer

To become a senior mobile engineer, you must have extensive skills in mobile software development. Enrolling in online courses or coding boot camp programs is a great way of achieving this, You'll also need to spend a lot more time engaged in developing different applications. Being involved with a variety of projects across different platforms provides invaluable exposure to the software development process as well as the 'design-develop-test-release-and-maintain' life cycle that goes into building and maintaining applications. In addition to this, some of the core development skills that you need to master include:

  • Expert-level knowledge of two or more in-demand programming languages such as Java or C#
  • Solid understanding of working with development environments as well as development methodologies (like Scrum or Agile)

Build your Experience with Mobile Platforms

Learn more about the platforms that you’ll be working with. Unlike traditional software engineering, mobile app development occurs within platforms that help counter the restrictions on storage, memory and bandwidth in mobile devices. Some of the popular development platforms include Como, Accelerator, Appery.io, DojoMobile, SAP, GameSalad, AppMachine, Sencha and jQuery Mobile.

Learning a platform will not only help you understand how it works, but it will also give you an opportunity to expand your library of resources. Most skilled engineers have a rich suite of training materials, help files and developer forums that they can turn to. Take advantage of the web and review open codes to learn by example and shorten your learning curve.

Search for Job Opportunities

Always keep an eye out for potential employment opportunities. Expand your network by joining forums or signing up with professional associations. Search job boards to see what openings are available as well as the requirements. This way you’ll know if you’re on the right track towards getting the position. Reviewing job boards and online forums will also keep you knowledgeable on industry trends, emerging technologies and salary margins.

Improve your Non-Technical Skills

Part of your duties as a senior mobile engineer will likely include providing mentoring for junior developers as well as collaborating with a larger team of UI designers and software engineers—and these responsibilities will require good leadership and communication skills. You must also be able to work towards tight deadlines, be capable of multi-tasking and have good analytic skills. Work on your personal relationship skills while working as a mid-level developer.

Mobile Engineer Job Description

We’ve done the research for you. After evaluating numerous job descriptions, we’ve written our own representative job description for a mid-level software engineer with between 2 and 5 years of relevant experience.

As a Senior Mobile Engineer, you’ll be tasked with heading the creation of innovative solution across various projects. You’ll work alongside a team of inspired IT professionals, dedicated to designing, coding and testing high-quality mobile applications. You’ll also be required to keep key stakeholders and senior-level personnel updated on project progress alongside other duties.

What We Need Your Help With

  • Developing application programming interfaces (APIs)
  • Writing clean, sustainable code
  • Making suggestions on product improvement as well as implementing new mobile protocols and applications
  • Collaborating with the product development team, including fellow software developers and UI designers in developing products
  • Overseeing the planning, development and management of an application through its lifecycle
  • Mentoring junior level engineers through code reviews, design document critiques, and brainstorms throughout the software development process
  • Collaborating with the launch of new features, big and small
  • Troubleshooting and debugging applications to optimize product performance

What We Look For

  • 3+ years of experience developing applications for major platforms like Windows Phone, Android and iOS
  • Experience working with mobile frameworks like PhoneGap or Sencha
  • Good knowledge of OOP design principles
  • Good grasp of core design concepts such as palate development, typography and intuitive layouts
  • Experience with threading, offline storage and performance tuning
  • Extensive experience coding with frameworks like Android SDK, Xcode and the Windows Phone App Studio
  • High skill in multiple programming languages such as Objective-C, SQL, Javascript, C# and Java
  • Exemplary leadership and communication skills
  • Good analytical skills, able to map problem-solution space and explain possible solutions to non-technical team members
  • Interest in learning new technologies fast
  • Understanding of Apple’s interface guidelines and design principles (for iOS positions)
  • B.S. degree in Software Engineering or a related field, or equivalent experience

These Would Also Be Nice

  • Understanding of AGILE engineering practices
  • A rich portfolio of highly rated applications on the Android market or App Store
  • Expert-level skills in design tools like InvisionApp, Photoshop and UXPin

Senior Software Engineer Career Paths: Where to Go From Here

With more than 10 years of experience, your career in mobile engineering can go in different directions. For instance, you can make the decision to switch from being a mobile applications engineer to a systems software developer. Unlike application engineers (who build custom apps for different platforms), mobile systems software engineers designed the systems that run on mobile devices (like iOS or Android). A career in this direction will require strong programming skills in related core languages and extensive experience with the platform.

Another possible career move involves the transition towards project management, where you’ll supervise software projects from the planning stage to the finish. If you are interested in this field, you’ll likely need an MBA to pair with your degree and experience. Recruiters will also review your work history to see if you’ve lead teams or departments in the last five years as well as if you’ve been involved in any major projects.

If you love games and have no problems learning new things, pursuing a career as a mobile gaming engineer could lead to interesting positions such as a games producer, creative director, lead engineer and more. Yet another option is to explore new technologies associated with mobile engineering. An advanced degree in physics or applied math could lead to interesting employment opportunities with augmented reality or virtual reality companies. You could even opt to pursue a career in emerging adaptations of mobile blockchain projects.

Not all paths lead to working for companies. After five to ten years, you’ll have enough experience to consider the bold option of becoming your own boss. Launching your own tech company will require more capital, especially if you plan to hire a team, but the potential rewards make it a worthwhile investment—provided you have the leadership and business skills to run a business.

Swift is a programming language created by Apple Inc. for macOS, iOS, watchOS and tvOS development. It is meant to work well with the large body of existing Objective-C (ObjC) code written for Apple products. Some of the core concepts it supports...

Android is an open source mobile operating system created by Google. Globally, it is the most popular operating system, followed by Apple's iOS. Applications for Android are typically developed in Java, though Kotlin may also be used. Limited supp...

Java is a statically-typed, cross-platform language. It is concurrent, class-based, and object-oriented. It has minimal implementation dependencies and compiled Java code can run on all platforms that support Java without the need for recompilat...

C++

C++ is an object-oriented language derived from C, and invented by Bjarne Stroustrup, while working at AT&T's Bell Labs. It is widely used for systems-level programming, and building applications on Windows and various Unix operating systems (Lin...

C

C is a widely used low-level, static-typed, compiled computer language known for its efficiency. Developed in the late sixties, C has become one of the most widely used languages of all time. It provides direct access to memory and due to its de...

Python is an object-oriented programming language notable for its clarity, power and flexibility. Python is an interpreted language, meaning that an interpreter reads and runs the code directly, rather than compiling down into static lower level c...

PHP

PHP is a widely-used open-source scripting language that has seen wide use in web application development. PHP code must be processed by an interpreter like the Zend Engine. With a strong open-source community and large adoption world-wide, PHP ...

"Agile Methodologies" or "Agile" are ways of describing an iterative approach to software development. Often adopted as an alternative to waterfall and other traditional sequential development practices. It is meant to help teams work quickly to i...

JavaScript is a scripting language, originally implemented in web browsers, but now widely used server-side via the Node.js platform. It supports a runtime system based on numerical, Boolean and string values, with built-in, first-class support f...

Top industries hiring Mobile Engineers

eCommerce

The retail landscape has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Retail was once a brick-and-mortar industry, comprised of small, independently owned-and-operated businesses and large chain stores with multiple outposts throughout the c...

Electronics

The Electronics Industry has grown into a global industry with a value of billions of dollars. Most commonly when referring to the electronics industry it is understood the industry is consumer electronics which produces items used in everyday lif...

Education

The education industry involves working in an environment that implements and teaches various skills and applicable material. Formal education typically involves various levels of education, including preschool, primary, secondary, tertiary, vo...

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