Earning an Online Mobile App
Development Bachelor’s Degree

An online mobile application development degree provides learners with the knowledge and skills necessary to design, develop, implement, and maintain applications found on mobile devices. Students learn about software and hardware related to mobile applications through the advanced study of computer science, computer engineering, electronic communication, and information technology. Mobile application development programs also give learners the opportunity to bring creative ideas to fruition.

Individuals interested in the competitive world of computer programming, software development, and electronic communication platforms can benefit from an online degree in mobile application development. Technology professionals who seek to expand their competencies can similarly enhance their value within the field.

Overview of Mobile App Development Degrees

Mobile application development, also called mobile computing and mobile engineering, explores the life cycle of native applications found on cell phones, tablets, and other hand-held devices. Native applications exist on a single system, platform, or device. Mobile application development also includes web-based delivery of application services and experiences, alongside the creation, use, and maintenance of hybrid applications.

Students in an online mobile application development degree gain skills applicable to technology, computer service, and information management sectors. An online degree in mobile application development introduces students to the broad topic of computer science and information technology before delving deeper into software configuration, hardware specificity, and mobile user interfaces.

The proliferation of cell phones and other computer devices offers opportunities for mobile application development students to pursue careers in software development, application testing, and mobile application platform management. With the ability to create, implement, and manage applications, individuals with a degree in application development find themselves in high demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), application software developers earn an annual mean salary above $104,000, with the highest employment numbers found in software publication and computer systems design.


Application Process

Admission to an online degree in mobile application development requires submission of a college or university application. Students can access applications online or by contacting a school’s admission office. Many institutions include an application fee, but applicants who demonstrate financial need may receive a fee waiver.

As part of an application, schools usually require students to submit a statement of purpose or a prompted essay. Most undergraduate programs do not require applicants to include letters of recommendation with their application, but many schools and departments include GPA requirements. A GPA requirement can apply to high school coursework or any previous postsecondary classes.

Students need to submit transcript information with their application. High school students can request formal transcripts through the guidance counselor or comparable administrative official’s office. Transfer students and adult learners returning to college need to request transcripts from all previous postsecondary institutions. High school transcripts do not usually include a fee, but transcripts from colleges and universities may. Transfer students should also check course equivalencies to ensure their previous coursework counts toward their online mobile application development degree.

Colleges and universities may also require students to complete the ACT or SAT. When students take the ACT or SAT, scores can go directly to potential schools. As learners explore options for online mobile application development programs, they can request scores throughout the process. Applicants should check individual institutions and programs for ACT and SAT score admission requirements.

What Will I Learn?

Most online mobile application development degrees include 120 credit hours, which consists of general education, core, and elective coursework. Mobile application development degrees offered as specializations within broader information technology and computer science curricula often give students advanced knowledge of mobile computing and software development.

Core classes in an online mobile application development program emphasize computer programming, software development, user interaction, and technology security. Students learn to design and develop mobile applications through coursework on computer languages and coding, exploring aspects of application implementation and testing. Learners also gain knowledge of computer systems, platforms, networking, and databases as they assess the need, use, and value of mobile applications services and processes. Many programs include capstone or internship classes to provide students with critical thinking and practical experiences applicable to their future careers in mobile application development.

Mobile User Interface Design

A mobile user interface design course introduces students to the limitations and opportunities of mobile user interface tools and techniques. Learners explore the use of grids, typography, graphics, and color before putting together their own skeleton pages. Students also create mobile user pages, applications, and software in hands-on exercises.

Java Programming

Java programming coursework introduces students to the popular programming language of Java and its many uses. Learners explore the multiple iterations of Java, its current version, and the fundamentals of how Java works through the use of loops, objects, arrays, and variables. Students use this knowledge to develop mobile applications, software, and systems programs.

Programming Logic

A programming logic class focuses on critical thinking skills to apply programming techniques. Students learn the basics of programming, including languages, algorithms, and flowcharts. Learners explore conceptual aspects of programming and procedural coding, including object-oriented and event-driven programming. They assess applicability of programming tools, procedures, and techniques through case studies and hands-on activities.

Introduction to Mobile Application Development

Introduction to mobile application development gives students an overview of different types of mobile applications, including native applications for iOS, Android, and Windows platforms. Learners gain knowledge of mobile application platforms, their similarities and differences, and their strengths and weaknesses. Students also learn about hybrid mobile applications, useable on multiple platforms.

Software Engineering

Coursework in software engineering prepares students to build software systems with an understanding of functional and nonfunctional components. Learners also develop and test software systems, gaining problem solving and analytical skills applicable to careers in the field. Software engineering classes allow students to work independently and as teams to explore the life cycle of a software system.

Introduction to Web Applications

An introduction to web applications class provides students with basic knowledge of the different types of software systems that provide users interface opportunities through a web browser. Learners assess web applications such as blogs, search engines, and shopping to better understand static and interactive web applications, uses, and limitations. Learners may design and develop web applications as well.

What Can I Do with an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Mobile App Development?

A degree in mobile application development online gives students the knowledge and skills to work in computer and technology industries. Learners gain competencies applicable to business settings, entrepreneurial endeavors, and communications. With a degree in mobile application development, students pursue careers in software design and implementation while exploring tools and techniques associated with hardware, user interaction, and web-based communication. Niche careers in platform development can provide learners with lucrative and competitive career options.

Core Skills

An online mobile application development degree prepares students to work in a variety of settings. By learning about computer science and information technology, students gain competencies in programming languages, software design, and application development. Broad foundational knowledge transfers to specific information on types and uses of mobile applications. Students learn about native, web-based, and hybrid applications; purposes and uses of each; and how to improve efficiency and function. Mobile application development programs also provide learners with information on networks, platforms, databases, and communication processes.

Mobile application development programs also allow students to pursue creative interests. Coursework prepares learners to integrate images, graphics, and audio content into mobile applications to enhance human-computer interactions. Alongside coding and programming, students can optimize applications for users to promote future careers in project design, software architecture, and mobile application marketing.

Potential Careers and Salaries

A mobile application development degree offers students opportunities to work in computer and technology sectors. Learners also find gainful employment in business, healthcare, and insurance. Mobile application developers can also work independently as freelancers and entrepreneurs.

According to the BLS, the top employers for software application professionals include computer systems designers and software publishers. A degree in mobile application development also prepares students for gainful employment in management, information services, and data processing. The highest paying industries for software application professionals include computer manufacturing, securities and commodities, aerospace product and parts manufacturing, and audio and visual equipment production.

Mobile application development professionals can find high-paying jobs in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas alike. Application software developers in cities like San Francisco and Seattle earn salaries comparable to their counterparts in southeastern Idaho or southern Vermont.

Career Profiles


Mobile Applications Developer

Annual Mean Salary: $71,942

Mobile application developers design and implement applications on various platforms. Mobile application developers use programming languages such as Java and C++, understand software application testing and maintenance, and work independently and with teams.


iOS Developer

Annual Mean Salary: $82,129

An iOS developer creates programs for the iOS platform. Professionals design and implement programs and applications for Apple mobile services using languages that include MySQL and PHP. They also create manuals for customer support purposes and provide technical assistance throughout the life cycle of the program or application.


Android Software Developer

Annual Mean Salary: $81,484

An Android software developer works exclusively to create applications for the Android platform. Android software developers assess customer and consumer need while integrating functionality into Android applications. They also work to optimize efficiency and efficacy of Android applications. Android software developers may work as part of a creative or technical team.


Software Architect, Applications

Annual Mean Salary: $119,073

Software architects create software solutions to optimize application efficiency, interface, and function. Software architects use coding and program tools, hold extensive knowledge of programming languages, implement and test applications, and may train others to use application software.


Lead Software Engineer

Annual Mean Salary: $111,991

Lead software engineers oversee software development, testing, and release. Professionals may take part in client pitch meetings, participate in design planning, and manage teams of other software engineers. They hold experience working with multiple platforms and use a variety of programming languages.

Will I Need a Graduate Degree for a Career in Mobile App Development?

An undergraduate degree in mobile application development prepares learners for entry- and mid-level careers in the field. The foundational knowledge contained within a mobile application development degree online provides learners with competencies and skills in an array of computer and technology sectors. With a bachelor’s degree in mobile application management, students can work as mobile application and software developers, as well as engineers, computer programmers, and information technology entrepreneurs.

Professionals who want to advance their careers may consider a graduate degree. Through a master’s degree or Ph.D. in mobile application development, individuals gain specialized knowledge and tools applicable to software development, mobile application design and implementation, computer communications, and information technology management. Graduate programs in software application development also provide learners with advanced research and problem solving skills applicable to executive and leadership positions. Entry- and mid-level mobile application professionals can also obtain industry certifications and qualifications through continuing education options.

Accreditation for Mobile App Development Bachelor’s Programs

Colleges and universities hold regional or national accreditation through an agency overseen by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Regionally accredited schools offer research-oriented academic programs, while their nationally accredited counterparts provide vocational and career-focused programs. Schools voluntarily participate in the accreditation process and work with accrediting bodies and fellow institutions to maintain academic integrity and educational standards.

Individual departments and programs may also hold programmatic accreditation. Mobile application development online degrees offered through information technology and computer science departments and programs may hold accreditation through the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

When applying to mobile application development programs, students should take accreditation into consideration. Many regionally accredited schools do not take transfer credits from nationally accredited institutions. Students enrolled at regionally accredited colleges and universities also gain greater access to financial aid opportunities.

Mobile App Development Professional Organizations

Joining a professional organization offers mobile application development personnel resources that benefit them throughout their careers. Students entering mobile application development can access job boards, career advice, and mentorship opportunities. Entry- and mid-level professionals can pursue continuing education and certificate programs. All members of professional organizations can participate in collaborations, communication, and cooperative opportunities with like-minded colleagues. Professional organizations also provide members with options to advocate for the field, participate in conferences and events, and learn about the latest news within the profession.

Association of Software Professionals
As a trade association for software professionals, ASP members include programmers, application developers, cloud computing experts, and mobile service marketers. ASP provides technical, business, and marketing guidance to members and nonmembers with consumer and expert resources, such as newsletters, a code of ethics, book reviews, and discussion forums. ASP members enjoy extensive industry discounts and networking opportunities.


ACT: The App Association
The App Association represents application makers and companies around the world. With the expanding application economy, the App Association provides resources on privacy, marketing, security, and industry regulations. The App Association also offers industry updates, publications, blogs, and op-eds for members and consumers. Initiatives of The App Association include clarity in application security and privacy, as well as maintaining fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) principles.


Developers Alliance
Developers Alliance brings together software developers and companies from around the world to build connections. The Developers Alliance seeks to strengthen the developer community, increase job opportunities, and enhance the social and economic value of software through innovation. It also provides industry updates, advocacy and policy committee opportunities, and research reports to software professionals.