Five iPhone and Android developers explain the tools and online classes they used to get started in tech and make their first app

A family players with TWSU’s Arcade Coder

iPhone and Android app developers come from all walks of life. While many of the most popular apps are created by professional developers, everybody from chefs to HVAC technicians have seen their lives and careers change after taking the time to learn to code and build applications for themselves.

“Mobile development was fairly welcoming because development felt straightforward,” Rick Wolter, an iOS developer based in Orlando and the founder of mentorship program Underdog Devs, told Insider. “You could put it on your phone, and what you made was something physical you could hold in your hand, which really drew me to it.”

Insider talked to five iPhone and Android developers about the tools and resources they used to get started making their own apps and get started building their careers in the booming tech sector.

In terms of actually learning how to code, developers made use of a variety of resources, with most looking to languages like Python, particularly popular among data scientists, as well as Apple’s own Swift, used for iOS app development, or Kotlin, the preferred programming language for Android apps.

“Swift is the programming language to know for iOS development, and Kotlin is the equivalent for Android,” Noah Gilmore, cofounder of e-commerce startup Alchemy, said. “Knowing other programming languages can help for general conceptual knowledge, but those are the ones you’ll need to know in order to actually build your first app.”

Wolter graduated from the Lambda School in 2016, and tells Insider that online tech programs like Udacity and online school Udemy helped him “brush up” on key programing skills like the Swift and Python programming languages. He also recommends aspiring developers look for free resources like Free Code Camp, which offers access to 7000 programming courses.

Other developers used online schools like Udacity to make a career change, including Nikitha Gullipalli – a web developer and hardware engineer, who was a pastry chef at a Michelin Star restaurant before she transitioned to Android development.

Community is a valuable resource for any prospective programmer, all five developers tell Insider, with Wolter calling it a huge “source of guidance” in learning the ropes and building a network. HVAC technician-turned-mobile developer Sergio Bost was one of Wolter’s students at Underdog Devs, combining the mentorship and guidance he recieved in the program with classes from online school Udemy to learn Swift and Python.

Groups like Black Code Collective and RayWenderlich are also available to help mentor early-career programmers, the developers pointed out.

Gilmore also recommends that students look through the official Swift documentation, which contains Apple’s own samples for building simple apps. Gilmore says that learners can “apply those concepts by building similar apps.” Gilmore also recommends YouTubers like Sean Allen, Hacking with Swift, and Swift by Sundell as a great way to get started with simple, engaging tutorials.

Beyond Kotlin, Gullipalli believes that its important for Android developers to learn JSON, or JavaScript Object Notation – a platform used to manage an app’s frontend, the part the user actually sees. She also encourages mobile developers to get familiar with application programming interfaces (API) databases like MovieDB API.

Ben Siraphob, a student at Vanderbilt University, built the college community app Cample, available on iOS and Android. He tells Insider that Google’s software developer kit Flutter and its programming language Dart were incredibly useful in building his first app because Flutter and Dart can be used regardless of platform.

“There are a lot more resources now to set people up for success,” Siraphob said.