It’s no secret that smartphone apps, particularly those produced for the iPhone and Apple Store, are a big deal. Though Apple is fairly secretive about specific statistics regarding third party apps, Fortune estimates that there are currently 700 million iPhones in use worldwide — a number that may well grow to 1 billion in the next several years.
This large install base obviously presents a large potential market of app users (a substantial business opportunity) and is one of the primary reasons many would-be entrepreneurs pursue the iOS platform for software development. Here’s an introduction to what you’ll need to know if you want to start peddling apps of your own.
Learning to Create Apps for iPhone
So, where to begin? If you’ve never made an app before, it’s easy to become lost in the sea of information out there — particularly if you have no formal education in programming. Thankfully, though, the skills required to create apps can be taught, and iPhone app courses, like my own, are a good place to start.
Like the name suggests, my courses are designed to impart the skills necessary for app development and generally are accessible regardless of your current level of proficiency. If you already have some basic programming knowledge, we can work from there to teach you how to apply those rudimentary talents in creating iPhone apps. If you’re a complete beginner, I can show you the ropes of how to code as you go along. For neophytes, the latter style is usually the best place to start.
What sort of knowledge is contained within my courses? Specifics vary, obviously, depending on which course you decide to take, but as a general rule, you can expect to cover a few key concepts. Chief among these is becoming familiar with Apple’s app-development language and environment, Swift and Xcode. While it is possible to program apps using other languages, like Objective-C, Swift is something that Apple has pushed pretty hard, and it behooves most prospective developers to learn what it’s all about.
As you learn the programming language, you’ll also learn to add different features to apps, creating UIs (user interfaces), adding audio and images, handling user interaction — everything you’d need to fine-tune an app to your purposes, whatever they may be. In addition to that, you’ll also learn about what Apple permits and frowns upon in their app store. Apple has strict guidelines for what they’ll permit on their platform, so it’s best to know all the do’s and don’ts before diving in.
If you’re creating an app that you intend to sell, then programming is just one part of the equation. That’s why my courses delve into the developer marketing side of things as well. I’ll teach you what you need to know about building an audience, promoting your app through social media and gaining a solid customer base you can sell your wares to.
In addition, developer marketing training can help provide insight into researching the market and testing the waters — learning what kind of software people would be interested in before you expend any effort creating it. It will also give you the tools you’ll need to have a smooth app launch and maintain your product well into the future.
Remember that even if you don’t have the skills now, all it takes is effort (and good instruction) to learn. Keep brushing up on your app creation and marketing skills, and with some luck, you’ll be able to master programming iPhone apps and make your foray into the software market with confidence.
Sometimes when I tell people what I do they ask questions. “So is that marketing?” No. “Is it sales?” No! “Then are you a developer?” Yes and no. This is not about religion, either. Developer Evangelists work at the intersection of marketing, sales and development, deep in the heart of any company. In case there’s still some confusion this may clear it up.
Evangelism: the effort to convert others through public and private teaching and preaching. The evangelist introduces ideas that result in the winning of hearts and minds. The word evangelism originally referred to religious evangelism. In that context, the spreading of knowledge about certain beliefs was intended to convert whoever received the information.
Technology Evangelist: A person whose personal commitment to a specific technology (usually brand particular) attempts to create momentum, in order to establish their technology, software or hardware, as the technical standard in the marketplace. The technology evangelist gives talks, blogs, has presentations and demonstrations which help to create that momentum.
Development Evangelist: Someone that promotes the use of a particular product or technology to the developer community through talks, presentations and partnerships. An essential element is to create a user community and sample demonstrations to convince the developers that the specific technology brand is the best in the industry. “Technology is the campfire around which we tell our stories.” Laurie Anderson
The developer evangelism team is working to establish their brand as the technology products as the true standards in the industry. This means my team has an exciting and challenging role to play. Developers are a tough audience. In order to convince them that you are the best in the industry…you have to be the best.
Engaging with developers also assures innovation. Feedback on “How it works…” is essential. The developer as a user, both fine-tunes and drives design. This unprecedented transparency opens up the doors to extraordinary scrutiny. By shepherding in the experts, potential customers can get the confirmation they need to make the purchase. This transforms marketing, sales and customer service. Most of all it reinforces the fact that essential quality is vital. Regardless of the industry, great products build great brands. In the world of software, bugs and glitch problems or poor service can make or break a company, as well. The on-line environment is the perfect setting for technology evangelism. Using a controlled social platform to embed social techniques creates a direct interactive network between the company, developers and customers. Emphasis on the word “controlled.” Now product designers can directly communicate with other code developers (de facto experts), as well as potential customers. The transparency may have revealed the “naked” code but we don’t mind showing it. Credibility is the end result of quality. Despite the challenges, the advantages are obvious. Relationships within an active community; like developers can have a viral effect on your sales. By offering solutions and answering questions you establish a transparency and trust. This can begin relationships that may have to be cultivated for some time. Developers are the technology experts. They take a lot of convincing….evangelism starts the conversation.
I love my job as a Developer Evangelist and developing programs for tech companies looking to promote their product. I travel a lot! I talk to developers and potential customers all the time.
So in the tradition of the ultimate technology evangelist, Steve Jobs (Apple Inc.) innovation is the only way that a company will survive and grow. And thanks to heroes like Mike Boich (Apple), Vint Cerf (Google), Dan Martin (MasterCard) and James Plamondon (Microsoft) we understand the importance of our mission. If the evangelism team doesn’t believe we offer the best solutions neither will developers or the customer. The evangelism team must be “true believers” in the quality of the code, the integrity of the team and the idea that our company offers the “technical standard” in the industry.