App Developer

Job Description:

App developers work with clients to create and modify computer programs for phones, computers, or other platforms.

Job Category:
IT Industry

What you will do:

Typical duties include the following:

  • Talking to clients about what they want from their app (before and throughout each project)
  • Writing the app itself using appropriate programming language
  • Develop new apps or create ‘mobile-friendly’ versions of websites (design prototypes to suit client needs)
  • Running tests, potentially with real users, to identify any issues
  • Fixing and improving the code as necessary in light of testing
  • Collaborating with designers and other computing professionals to improve the app
  • write accurate notes about the development process
  • keep up to date with new technology trends and tools


You’ll most likely need:

  • maths knowledge for understanding programming
  • the ability to write computer programs
  • knowledge of systems analysis and development
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

As well as:

  • a logical and methodical approach to work
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • persistence and determination (Drive)
  • excellent problem-solving skills
  • teamwork skills
  • project management skills (leadership Skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

Becoming an app developer doesn’t require specific GCSE subjects, but certain subjects and skills can be highly advantageous in preparing you for a career in this field. App developers create software applications for various platforms, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers. Here are some relevant GCSE subjects and skills that can be beneficial:

  1. Computer Science: If your school offers GCSE-level computer science courses, this subject is highly recommended. It provides a foundational understanding of programming languages, algorithms, data structures, and software development concepts.
  2. Mathematics: Strong math skills are valuable for programming and problem-solving. Geometry, algebra, and calculus concepts can be useful, especially in game development or complex app design.
  3. Information Technology (IT): IT courses can help you become familiar with computer hardware, software, networking, and general technology principles, all of which are relevant to app development.
  4. Physics: While not strictly required, physics can enhance your understanding of motion, forces, and simulations in app development, especially if you’re interested in developing physics-based apps or games.
  5. Design and Art: If your school offers courses in design or art, they can be valuable for understanding user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design, which are crucial aspects of app development. Visual design skills can also be beneficial for creating appealing app interfaces.
  6. English: Strong communication skills, including reading and writing, are essential for documenting code, writing user guides, and communicating effectively with team members and clients.

Post School

It’s worth noting that becoming a proficient app developer often requires further education beyond GCSEs. Many app developers pursue degrees or certifications in computer science, software engineering, or related fields at the undergraduate or postgraduate level. These programs provide in-depth knowledge and practical experience in software development.

Employers generally look for technical skills and experience above everything else, and you should be able to provide evidence of these things. For example, you should be able to show off programs you have created/worked on and discuss what programming language(s) you used. (Useful languages include Java, Kotlin, and C/C++, although different languages might be better suited to different platforms.)

Some employers may also ask for a degree in a relevant subject, such as the following:

  • Computer science
  • Mathematics
  • Applied computing
  • Software engineering

You may be able to enter this career through studying for an apprenticeship. This is also a good way to build your skills.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work traditional office hours: 9–5, Monday to Friday. You may sometimes need to work evenings and weekends if you’ve got to hit a tight deadline on a special project. You may also occasionally need to attend meetings or other events outside normal working hours.

Career Path & Progression:

Like other digital media roles, you can (and maybe should) learn a lot and develop many useful skills through downloading the relevant software and following online guides (and experimenting with the tools yourself). Keep a record of anything you create so you can show potential employers.

The computing sector is constantly changing and expanding, so there are always new opportunities and new areas to get into.

You could specialise in a certain field, like making banking apps, gaming apps, or educational apps. (It would be useful to have relevant qualifications if you wanted to specialise like this.)

You could become an expert in one particular programming language (although this may also have drawbacks – sometimes it’s good to understand a variety of languages for different situations).

With more knowledge and experience, you could move into management and be in charge of entire projects and/or your own team of programmers.

You could alternatively work on a self-employed basis, providing services and consultation to many different companies. As with all self-employment, there are advantages and disadvantages to this.