Spending your certification dollars on a mobile app development certification could be a very smart move.
When you read stories about 11-year-olds creating fantastic apps that make it to the Windows Store, Google Play or Apple’s App Store, it makes you wonder why anyone really needs a mobile app certification. The reality is that few professionals are going to make their fortunes, or even a living, by creating and selling the "next big app." In fact, most will take jobs as developers for major companies or do app development as freelancers.
What can you expect to get paid as a mobile app developer for a company in the U.S.? GlassDoor reports that the national average salary is $72,187, but that number varies greatly depending on location. For example, the average salary in the Austin, Texas, area is $93,971. That's more on par with SimplyHired's national average of $107,000.
A mobile developer certification can help you achieve a sizeable salary. When you need to get your resume noticed or prove that you deserve a promotion, a mobile app certification can also make a real difference.
Microsoft originally created the MTA certifications to help students in high schools and college get started with technology certifications. But the certs have proven to be great stepping stones for folks looking to enter the IT field and for IT professionals who want to change careers (or specializations), as well. Achieving an MTA certification can also help candidates prepare for higher-level Microsoft certifications, like the Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD), mainly by getting hands-on experience with applicable products and technologies.
One thing that's important to note is that MTA exams are not prerequisites for more advanced Microsoft certifications and do not qualify for Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) certification.
The MTA certification program offers a number of certifications geared toward IT infrastructures, databases and developers. Because the focus of this article is on mobile app development, we'll focus on the MTA Developer credentials, which are:
- Software Development Fundamentals
- HTML5 App Development Fundamentals
Microsoft suggests that candidates start with the MTA Software Development Fundamentals and then choose another MTA credential that's more specific to their career goals. Candidates for any MTA Developer credential should expect to understand and use the latest version of Microsoft Visual Studio as their primary development tool. And, unlike many other certifications, MTA credentials don't expire. That means, once you achieve a certification, it's good for life.
Android and iOS dominate the smartphone operating system market, and Android maintains a solid lead with an 84 percent market share (Q2 2016 figures, IDC). The demand for Android apps is also soaring, which means that skilled Android developers are in high demand as well.
Advanced Training Consultants (ATC) for Android, located in Dallas, Texas, provides certifications and training (through its partners) to help ensure a competent Android developer workforce. The Android Certified Application Developer is the ATC certification program's base-level credential, which recognizes skills in designing, building, debugging and maintaining Android apps. Credential holders also understand the Android app life cycle, as well as how to use external resources and manifest files, store data and process background tasks.
The ATC program also includes the Android Certified Application Engineer certification, which requires the application developer credential and adds components on security and monetizing Android applications. The Android Certified Trainer cert requires candidates to achieve the Android Certified Application Engineer credential and pass the Training Skills for Android ATC Certified Trainer exam, which qualifies the individual to teach Android ATC courses at authorized training centers.
Kony is a fast-growing enterprise mobility and mobile application development platform (MADP) provider with customers in retail banking, healthcare, insurance, field services and many other industries. Kony is also well known for its cloud-based mobile backend-as-a-service (MBaaS) solution.
On the mobile app front, customers can use the Kony Visualizer platform to create, configure and manage custom apps for Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices. (The software is freely available for anyone to download from the Kony website.)
The company's certification program consists of a single credential, the Kony Certified Developer, with about 500 certifications granted as of August 2016. However, the cert is gaining visibility and recognition, and it’s edging out some of the more well-known mobile app developer certifications from Microsoft and Oracle in terms of employer popularity. Bundled with the two-week Kony Bootcamp course, candidates can take the performance-based exam at the end of the course, which covers widgets, services and the Kony application programming interface (API) for developing mobile and web applications. Candidates can also sit for the exam outside of the course by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Certification is tied to each version of Kony Visualizer, so developers are encouraged to upgrade their skills and their certification when a new version is released.
IBM's Professional Certification Program is one of the largest IT certification programs in the world, aimed at individuals, customers and partners.
The IBM Certified Mobile Application Developer – Worklight Foundation is designed for experienced application developers who use Worklight Foundation V6.2, a development platform, to build and test mobile apps. Individuals who achieve this certification are well-versed in developing client-side applications, as well as in developing Worklight adapters, using Worklight server-side application programming interfaces (APIs), and implementing authentication and other security measures.
To prepare for certification, IBM recommends that candidates take the Mobile Application Development with IBM Worklight Foundation V6.2 training course, which is offered via classroom or online and lasts for three days. Self-study is also an option for candidates with ample hands-on experience with Worklight.
IBM certifications that are tied to products don't expire, but they are replaced by later versions as new technology is released.
If you lean more toward the security end of mobile apps, you should consider the GIAC Mobile Device Security Analyst (GMOB) certification, part of the well-known SANS GIAC (Global Information Assurance Certification) program.
The GMOB recognizes security professionals who can find and mitigate vulnerabilities and threats against applications that run on the Android and iOS mobile operating systems. Skills include mobile device penetration testing, security policy application, configuration management and encryption.
No specific prerequisites are required, but candidates are encouraged to seek training (online, via a live conference or self-study) and/or get on-the-job experience before sitting for the GMOB exam. The exam is administered at the end of a SANS GIAC training event, and candidates can take the exam — referred to as "challenging" the exam — at Pearson VUE without taking a training course.
The GMOB certification must be renewed every four years by acquiring 36 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits.