A significant chunk of today’s digital market comprises companies with software, applications, or platforms as their primary offering and seek individuals that can help develop innovative and cutting-edge solutions.
According to a report by Statista, the global market for mobile applications is projected to reach $935 billion by 2023, up from $365 billion in 2018.
As a result, there has been an exponential spike in demand for application development skills in the past few years, making it highly desirable for both Talent Acquisition and Talent Development professionals.
What are Application Development Skills, and why is everyone talking about them?
Application development skills are the technical abilities and knowledge required to create software applications for various platforms, such as desktops, mobile devices, and web browsers. These skills include proficiency in programming languages, knowledge of application development frameworks and tools, understanding of software architecture and design patterns, experience with databases, APIs and user interface design, project management methodologies, and much more.
Although Application Development Skills have always been in demand within the tech sector, their sudden increase in dependency can be credited to the rise of cloud computing and the increasing use of software as a service (SaaS) solutions. As more businesses move their operations to the cloud, there is a growing need for applications that can be easily deployed and managed on these platforms. Hence, developers with the necessary skills are in high demand.
In addition, nowadays, application development skills are not limited to traditional software development roles. These skills are increasingly in demand across various industries, including healthcare, finance, and retail, as more businesses seek to create custom applications to streamline operations, improve customer experiences, and gain a competitive advantage.
According to a survey conducted by AppDynamics, 95% of global enterprises have embarked on a digital transformation journey, with 73% of them having specific application development initiatives in place.
This is why, in this month’s Skills Report, we discuss application development skills that are a must-have for your organization and can help you get an edge over your competitors. Let’s get started!
Most Popular Application Development Skills for 2023
The vast Application Development skills umbrella can be divided into five sub-categories:
- Front-End skills
- Back-end skills
- Mobile Application Development Skills
- Data Science & Machine Learning Skills
- Database skills
1. Front-End Skills
With the shift towards a mobile-first design approach and the rise of Progressive Web Apps (PWA), front-end application development skills are evolving at an unprecedented rate. To stay competitive in this highly cut-throat market, hiring and L&D managers should aim for these skills when hiring a new front-end developer or upskilling your existing professionals:
- TypeScript: TypeScript is a strongly typed language with excellent code maintainability and scalability. TypeScript allows developers to write modular, reusable code that can be scaled as the project grows and catches errors during compile time rather than run time to save time and effort.
2. Back-End Skills
Rather than building monolithic applications, developers now create smaller, more modular services (called microservices) that can be easily deployed and scaled independently in the cloud using services such as AWS and Azure. This, combined with the other latest developments in the field, often results in skill gaps, which can only be tackled by the knowledge of reliable and evergreen backend languages such as:
- Java: Codes written in Java can run on any platform with a Java Virtual Machine (JVM), making it a portable choice for building applications that can run across different environments. Additionally, Java is a strongly typed language with high-level error-checking and debugging capabilities, making it a robust choice for building large-scale applications.
- Python: Python is a versatile language that can be used for a wide range of tasks, from web development to data analysis to machine learning. Its simplicity and ease of use make it a highly productive language for developers. While its extensive standard library and a wealth of third-party libraries and frameworks help speed up the development process.
- C: C is a low-level language that provides direct access to the computer's hardware, making it highly efficient and fast. This is particularly important for building backend systems that quickly handle large volumes of data and process requests.
3. Mobile Application Development Skills
With the growth of different mobile platforms, developers need to design and develop apps that work seamlessly across multiple platforms. Cross-platform development tools and frameworks such as React Native and Flutter are becoming increasingly popular, enabling developers to create apps that can run on both iOS and Android devices. Apart from them, developers still require the knowledge of platform-specific skills such as:
- Kotlin: Kotlin's interoperability with Java, conciseness, safety features, functional programming support, and Android Studio support have made it a popular choice for mobile app development, especially Android apps. Additionally, Kotlin has been endorsed by Google as a preferred language for Android app development, which has further contributed to its popularity.
- Swift: Swift is a fast and efficient language designed to work well with Apple's platforms, including iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. It is optimized for performance and memory management, which can lead to faster and smoother app experiences.
- Objective C: Objective-C was a popular mobile app development language for iOS apps, but Swift has largely replaced it in recent years. However, Objective-C is still relevant and used in some legacy apps and frameworks and new projects requiring interoperability with existing Objective-C code.
4. Data Science & Machine Learning Skills
As ML models become more sophisticated and complex, the demand for explainable AI is also increasing for technical and non-technical stakeholders. Additionally, there has been an increased focus on the ethical consideration of data science and ML models, which needs to be tackled by a clear and in-depth understanding of skills such as:
- Python with ML: In application development, Python with ML can be used for various tasks, such as natural language processing, image and video analysis, recommendation systems, fraud detection, and predictive analytics. ML algorithms and techniques and Python’s ease-of-use help developers build more intelligent and data-driven applications that can adapt to user behavior and provide more personalized experiences.
- R: R is widely used in data analysis, statistics, machine learning, and application development for these domains. It provides a wide range of statistical and graphical techniques, making it particularly useful for applications that require data analysis and visualization.
5. Database Skills
With the increasing demand for real-time data processing, developers need to understand how to build applications that can handle real-time data streaming and processing using technologies such as Apache Kafka and Apache Flink. Additionally, since most of today's applications are hosted on the cloud, knowledge of cloud-based databases such as Amazon RDS and Google Cloud SQL is in demand for DB developers. Other essential skills that you should consider while hiring a DB developer in today’s market are:
- MySQL: MySQL is a vital database skill for application development because of its popular open-source relational database management system (RDBMS) that provides a reliable, scalable, and flexible solution for storing and managing data.
- SQLite: SQLite is a lightweight, fast, and reliable open-source database management system that provides a convenient and efficient way to store and manage data. It is easy to use and versatile. Hence, it is widely used in mobile, web, and desktop applications.
- MSSQL: Microsoft SQL Server or MSSQL is designed to handle large amounts of data and can scale to meet the needs of enterprise-level applications. It provides advanced security features, such as encryption and authentication, to protect data from unauthorized access, making it a popular choice for applications that handle sensitive data.
Other Application Development Skills
In addition to the skills mentioned above, here are a few other crucial application development skills you should have in your skills library:
- Project-Based Environment: JupyterLabs, Angular, React.js, Spring boot, and .Net
- Scripting Languages: BASH, Ruby, and PowerShell
- Good Cognitive/Function Skills and Problem-Solving Ability
- Proficient Business English Communication: Listening, Speaking, Writing, and Reading
As application development trends change with time and technological disruptions, new application development skills may appear in the near future. As Talent Acquisition and Development professionals, we must keep track of all the relevant application development or mobile application development skills in our skills inventory and update them timely by either hiring new talent or upskilling/reskilling existing developers in our workforce.
We hope this article was helpful to you. We’ll be back with some more trending skills next month. Meanwhile, don’t forget to share your thoughts and feedback with us at email@example.com.