Application developers design and create software for computers, mobile devices and the Web. Undergraduate degrees in this field include the Associate of Applied Science in Application Development and the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology.
Undergraduate programs that focus on application development give students a solid foundation in the field. Students learn about programming languages and data communications as they move into their application design studies. Beyond a high school diploma or equivalent, some undergraduate programs may require a placement test.
Application for the Certificate in Web Application Development requires that the student have experience in creating web content and programming. A bachelor's degree in a relevant area is preferred. Students learn the coding needed for developing many types of applications, including those for mobile devices.
Associate of Applied Science in Application Development
Associate's degree programs in application development can be completed in two years. Students first become familiar with computer operating systems, web development and database design before learning about scripting and application design. The associate's degree program focuses on PC applications, including Microsoft Access and Excel. Some programs prepare students to take the Microsoft Certified Application Developer exam and the Sun Certified Java Programmer exam.
In addition to application development courses, students take classes emphasizing business knowledge, such as technical writing, business communications and macroeconomics. Coding courses include Java, Visual Basic, .Net, Pearl and SQL. Other associate's-level courses are:
- Web programming
- Microcomputer applications
- Linux configuration
- Windows configuration
- Web server administration
- Visual software
Bachelor of Science in Information Technology - Application Development
Many bachelor's degree programs in information technology are available with a focus in application development. Completion of these programs typically takes four years and includes an internship. Undergraduate students learn to troubleshoot hardware and software. Topics include data communications, relational databases and programming languages. Students also become familiar with legal and ethical issues as well as standard requirements for application design, creation, testing and quality assurance.
Many application development programs merge business management with technology education. General education courses cover communication, professional writing, social sciences and math. Broad information technology courses on operating systems, computer security and programming are also included in the bachelor's program. Core class topics include:
- Software testing
- Systems design
- Human-computer interaction
- User interface design
- Database management
- Web programming
Certificate in Web Application Development
A certificate program in web applications development discusses relevant coding languages and frameworks, such as .NET and SQL. Certificate students learn to anticipate needs for services and then design software systems and user interfaces for businesses based on these needs. Other topics include Internet security and web application hosting infrastructures. Some programs include a focus on mobile applications.
Certificate programs can be precisely oriented towards application development or contain generalized computer science courses. Design-related classes may include digital media, multimedia programming and animation programming. Course topics in web application development programs often include:
- Web technology
- Animation programming
- Human-computer interfaces
- Web application programming and scripting
- Mobile application development
- Web services and security
Popular Career Options
Graduates of the associate's degree in are prepared for entry-level positions in the information and technology industry. Common titles for these jobs are:
- Database programmer
- Software developer
- Application developer
- Web developer
- Web administrator
A bachelor's degree is the minimum degree level for many software development positions. Graduates may be prepared for careers in customer support, information and technology, programming and website development. Possible job titles include:
- Network communications specialist
- Network administrator
- Systems analyst
- Network system engineer
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Graduates of these degree or certificate programs may obtain a position as an applications software developer. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all computer software developers had a median annual wage of $110,140 in May 2020. The BLS also predicted that all software development will be a fast-growing occupation between 2019 and 2029, with employment expected to increase by 22%.
Continuing Education Information
Graduate degree programs are also available for students who complete their bachelor's degree in information technology and wish to continue their career. Master of Science in Information Systems programs often concentrate on Internet or web application development.
Degrees in application development can be pursued at the associate's and bachelor's level; certificates in web development are also available at the graduate level. These programs prepare students for work developing and managing software on a variety of platforms, including web, mobile applications and network systems.