Transferable Skills Guide: Mobile Developer

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Sourcing tech professionals with certain emerging or hard-to-find skills can be a challenge – even for the most seasoned recruiter.

In the first installment of our seven-part “Transferable Skills Guide” series, we look at the Mobile Developer role and skill-sets in other disciplines that translate to success in mobile positions. Use these tips to better evaluate tech candidates and build a bigger pipeline of talent.

MstrmIcon_moblDevobile Developer

When it comes to mobile development, professionals are often lumped into two categories by hiring managers who are seeking to power up the mobile customer experience: those who focus on web-based mobile sites and those who focus on mobile apps. While it is possible for a tech professional to have worn both of these hats, it is hard to find someone skilled at both. Remember, mobile is still a relatively new business platform.

Don’t fret. There is good news for recruiters who are getting lots of phone calls (probably on their desk land lines) from hiring managers who are looking for mobile developers. While it is not easy to find professionals who can seamlessly transfer between these fields, you can find professionals who can transfer into these fields with a little training. Let’s break down the mobile developers categories and find some related fields.

MOBILE WEB DEVELOPER
The mobile web grew out of the web

Your hiring managers will need mobile web developers who understand web development and all that it encompasses – end user experience, different form factors, and front-end technologies. Depending on the application, they may push for specific languages or tools such as HTML5, JavaScript and Responsive Web Design.

This experience does not necessarily have to come from purely mobile projects. If you’re struggling to find all the core competencies needed for your mobile web developer, here are related skills to keep an eye out for.

What to look for:

  • HTML: With HTML5 more of an evolution than a revolution from its predecessor, you can feel confident that someone skilled in the original can learn the “5.”
  • jQuery, Ember.js, Backbone and Angular: JavaScriptis the primary language for creating interactive, app-like experiences on the web. If you don’t see JavaScript directly on a professional’s resume, be on the lookout for these JavaScript libraries and frameworks.
  • CSS (including CSS preprocessors like SASS and LESS): This establishes the look and formatting for web pages. Like HTML5, this can be picked up easily with a few online courses. You may also see CSS3, which is the newer generation of CSS and contains cool interactions like animations and rendering.
  • Sencha Touch and Phone Gap: These tools are also JavaScript libraries. Quite cleverly, they wrap mobile web based apps into fully functional mobile apps that can run on Apple iOS, Android and Windows Mobile. If you need Responsive Web Design for your project, you can look to professionals who have used these types of tools to bridge between platforms.

If someone is a great pure web developer and is motivated to learn, grasping the specifics to create a great mobile web experience is well within reach.

MOBILE APP DEVELOPER
Android and Apple iOS differ on language, but agree on approach

So you need to hire a mobile app developer. Typically platforms for mobile apps tend to be very specialized. In general, a great Android developer won’t necessarily be great at Apple iOS development. There are exceptions, but being good at both requires a lot of experience and learning.

For Apple iOS, Objective-C is the primary programming language. In contrast, Android projects normally are developed in Java. While the skills required to develop on these iconic mobile platforms may seem as disparate as Apple and Google themselves, some common ground does exist.

The following skills and resources help bridge a tech professional to a career in mobile app development.

What to look for:

  • C++: Objective-C is the primary language used to build iOS applications. Objective-C uses a similar syntax and structure as C++ applications, so if a tech pro knows C or C++, it will be easy for them to grasp Objective-C.
  • Android SDK: Java experience is fairly common in the development world. But, Android app development is not. With that in mind, a Java developer will be able to learn the ins and outs of the Android SDK (Software Development Kit) in a matter of months. Developers who also have embedded programming in other areas, even an iOS experience, should be able to learn Android development.

At the end of the day, if you have a candidate that is sharp and knows object oriented programming, like C++ or Java, they should be able to pick up the skills to develop an Android or iOS application in a few months with focused training.

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View Transferable Skills Guides for other tech positions below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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