The skills you need to build an app

The skills you need to build an app

Apps are truly the innovation of our generation. With their purposes and potential spanning home and work life, and they only seem to be getting better as time goes on. The industry itself has seen enormous growth with designers and technical leads getting into app development and working on how to make an app that is going to resonate with the greatest number of people. As technology advances and app development becomes possible for small to medium business, many wonder if they can take an app build on themselves. Today, we are going to look at the skills you need to build an app and why they deserve consideration in each phase of the build. 

Design and technical ability

App development may seem accessible to more designers now, but there is an assumed knowledge that you will have to possess to be able to make a function and good looking app. For example, having experience with JavaScript is going to serve you well and open you up to more programs and features which use standard coding language. An experienced technical ability will also ensure that you can diagnose and fix any bugs that present themselves, eliminating the risk of launching a faulty app, or worse - one that is not secure or able to protect user data. 

Design acumen

It’s been fantastic to see art directors, graphic designers, animators and even copywriters make the transition into app development as the industry demands the influence of creatives. These fundamental design skills are invaluable in the building phase, and really demonstrate value to the app user who can’t as easily appreciate the features below the surface. Being proficient in the Adobe Suite and other design supporting programs will put you in good stead to make your own app or to even pursue an app design career, so consider some design upskilling programs before you commit to an app build.

User experience (UE)

User experience is a skill you might not have heard of but have absolutely experienced and benefited from when interacting with apps. User experience determines the pathway of the app, certain prompts, communication style, speed and the flow of the app experience. User experience champions the user at every turn, and if the app features do no enrich or add value to the user experience - then there will be a rethink in order to perfect this process. There are some great user experience resources and mapping tools to keep you on track if you haven’t worked in this space before, so start to look out for examples of this consideration next time you use an app. 


There is no excuse to design an app on a whim anymore, as there are so many data tools that can be used to understand your user market and why they are or are not loving your app design. If your app has commercial goals then your data points are even more important and require analysis and action so that you are pivoting toward a more successful app experience. Brands of all sizes and reputations are prone to applying confirmation bias to their business, and data can be a great line of defense against that issue and keep you accountable and curious to the market and what it is telling you.


Marketing fuels the success and growth of every app, and without being aware of the options and channels available to you, your new app might be sidelined in favor of an inferior app that was better marketed to the masses. Not surprisingly, the best place to market your apps is in the app stores themselves and through social media marketing that targets ‘look alike’ users who are more likely to interact with the app you have designed.

The skills required to build an app are universally valued skills, and so you won’t regret investing time in developing these areas. App development is more accessible than ever, but it may be a longer project if you do not enlist support from a qualified designer, app design company or design agency to keep you on track and ask the right questions at the right time.

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