Top 9 Skills to Look For in Mobile App Developers in 2021

Top 9 Skills to Look For in Mobile App Developers in 2021

The most important mobile app development skills for the future. From top programming languages to crucial personality traits; we enumerate what it takes to become the best application developer.

Updated on :
December 3rd, 2020
Twinkle Kalkandha
Twinkle Kalkandha
Product Strategist

Good developers are always in demand. With more and more businesses focusing on application development, the demand for developers has increased drastically over the past few years. Not just big businesses, but SME’s (Small and medium Enterprises) as well as startups rely on mobile applications to pitch their products and services to consumers.

In this age of startups, thousands of companies are born each week and there is tough competition in the app development domain. Top app developers are required to stay updated and equip themselves with the latest skills to stay ahead of the game. This also helps them to capitalize on any technology shift trending the global digital space.

Even old school organizations with no online presence until now, have been in the process to hire dedicated developers to aid them in their digital transformation journey.

What separates a good developer from a great developer? We have shortlisted top application developer skills to look for and why they are so important for building your product.

Skills that differentiate the top Mobile app developers from the ordinary ones..

Every mobile app development company is looking for the best developers who can create apps, detect bugs, modify and update the app precisely, all with the use of the latest technology.

The following list of skills are gaining more and more relevance in the industry and will also define the nature of future app developers.

1- Expertise in Native Language

There are many programming languages to choose from but native code has been leading the pack of latest digital trends. Coding for iOS & Android separately gives more power to the app.

It provides better performance, speed, and stability when compared to non-native code.

This is not the only reason that this is one of the required application developer skills. Certain features and functionalities only work with native code. Especially when the code is utilizing some unique feature of the phone’s hardware. If you are an app developer with knowledge about javascript, Native language expertise is easier for you as the two share similar libraries and API’s.

2- Cross-Platform Development

After writing about the powers of native code, you wonder why cross-platform has made this list? Well simply because this is a very economic decision for many startups. In fact many famous mobile apps like Facebook, Walmart, Instagram, GoogleAds, Alibaba, amongst others have been developed using these technologies to different extents.

So if you are considering coding only once for an app for both iOS & Android then developers with experience in cross-platform development will be very useful. With easy to use platforms like React Native, Xamarin and Flutter, etc. easily being available; this technology helps developers to effectively develop exact same applications for various platforms in one go, using the same code.

3- Multi-Program Knowledge

There are more than 600 different programming languages in the world right now, each has its own merits & demerits.

Random knowledge about legacy code isn’t very relevant in today’s day and age. Knowing which new & exciting language is the most useful, has market acceptance and which one is fading out, separates great developers from the good ones.

If you want to judge a person’s market knowledge and enthusiasm about software development then ask about these emerging languages-

  • Elm
  • Rust
  • Kotlin
  • Crystal
  • Elixir

Proficiency in these new languages shouldn’t be the screening method unless you are looking to hire coders for these specific languages. This can act as a general knowledge question, whether the person is aware of new and future technologies.

4- Enterprising

Focusing on the big picture is a must-have for great mobile app developers.

Top mobile app development companies are always on a lookout for app developers that truly understand the true intent of an app and work towards developing a better customer experience rather than building only one technology block at a time.

People who point out if and when a particular element can disrupt some other aspect of the application experience grow to be successful product managers.

How to test for it?

  • Inquire if the candidate ever disagreed with the project manager and why.
  • Try to ask questions about approach and note if they consider the true intent of the software.

5- A Great Team Player

Contrary to popular belief developing applications isn’t an isolated job. Many coders collaborate together and with other departments of the company.

Being responsive, helpful, and collaborative is an integral skill set for app developers.

Haven’t you ever wondered why there are so many hackathons and developer meetups? Well to share knowledge, experiences, and possibly collaborate in the future.

How can you test for this?

  • Asking the candidate if they have had mentoring experience informally or formally.
  • Inquire about their thoughts on developer meetups and collaboration in general.

6- Blockchain

This technology has caught the attention of the world. Ever since bitcoin made its appearance in 2009, this revolutionary new technology has captured the imagination of big and small companies alike.

In 2020, blockchain applications have gained massive popularity. This is one of the topmost mobile developer skills to have right now.

Mobile App Developers

What are the Technical Skills Required for creating a Blockchain application?

Blockchain essentially runs on code and proficiency in certain programming languages allows you to form a blockchain distribution network.

Programming Languages used for Blockchain- C, Javascript, Flat & relational database, OOPs.

Many Fortune 500 companies have already started looking for blockchain developers to re-imagine & re-construct their applications.

7- UI/UX

Are you wondering now, what does an app developer do exactly? Are they also required to design the application? The short answer is not necessarily but it is a bit more complicated than that.

UI (User Interface) & UX (User experience) are elements of application design that come under mobile app development. This is one of the advanced mobile developer skills. Many companies do hire designated UI/UX designers but many do not. Many organizations rely on their developers to come up with an engaging and user-friendly design.

To give you a better understanding of the relationship between design & coding:

There are 2 aspects of application development-

Back End development- This deals with the application logic at its core and consists of a server which presents data when requested.

This is hidden from the application user, it is the backstage of an application.

Front End development- This development is for the face of the application. The part that users interact with, the buttons, the different pages of the app, these things are developed using front end development languages.

Front end development works very closely with UI & UX because this integrates the designed framework into working elements and pages.

This makes knowledge of User interface and user experience very important for front end developers.

How to test UI/UX sense?

  • If the developer has designed any application then try to understand if the UI is seamless and easy to understand.
  • This can also be tested with a simple assignment project.

8- Task & Time Management

One of the most important application developer skills is time and task management. Many companies construct their whole business around their mobile application. This means the application is the main power source, the source of revenue. Hence, there are many departments that are working separately on some or the other function.

Due to this inter-dependent operation, it becomes extremely important to stick to deadlines and deliver tasks within the stipulated time so the next person/team can move on to their work.

This also entails estimating the right amount of time which is the basis of scheduling and project management.

How to test this?

There is no way to test this than with actual work. Time-based assignments are a good way to test time management skills.

9- Moderate to Good Communication Skills

This isn’t a commonly realized skill but it holds a lot of merit even for app developers. Now, the expectation isn’t of a master orator or a skilled writer but that of a person who can communicate problems, doesn’t hesitate while approaching other coders for help & is able to get their point across to the client successfully. Good communication also makes for great team collaboration.

The individual contribution of a coder can make beautiful code but a collaborative code can be extraordinary and can also be executed faster.

How to test communication skills?

Ask the candidate to speak about a problem they encountered while working, how they fixed it and what impact it could have had if left unchecked. This should give you an idea about the specific type of communication that is required for an app developer.

Top Programming Languages of 2021

Mobile App Developers

Each programming language presents new possibilities. Valuing one skill over another is just a matter of specific requirement or personal preference. The perfect mobile app development company will first understand the app requirements and then hire dedicated developers for the most relevant programming language for that particular app idea.

Following are the top programming languages used for mobile app development across the world in terms of active developers.


This is an advanced yet easy to use language which has disrupted the ecosystem and is in wide use for both web and mobile app development.
Python is simple, complex, easy to understand and learn. It is prominent amongst popular android developer skills.


This language is considered as the future of app development. Top app developers keep an eye on up and coming technologies to upskill and swift is amongst the most cutting edge in the Apple ecosystem.
It is only available for iOS right now.It is also great for AR/VR apps.


A massively popular multi-paradigm language that has many functions. When developing mobile applications, it is generally used in the form of CSS, HTML and ajax,


This language is well known to be a pragmatic language that is faster and more reliable than many other programming languages.
Rust’s syntax is very similar to C++ but operating a few functions can become a bit complicated.


This language essentially came into being to fix problems faced by Java and that is its premise of its success.
Scala supports many programming features such as immutability, currying, lazy evaluation and pattern matching


This language is one of careful balance. Ruby takes the best parts from Perl,smalltalk, eiffel,ada and Lisp and blends them together.
It is used in creating applications for both Android & iOS.


Go or GoLang has been created by Google and it is strong in dealing with multithreading which is ideal for companies relying on distributed systems.

Easy to learn and popular amongst startups.


A very popular android developer required skills is the knowledge of Java. It still holds relevance in the market and is considered to be of great use for developing cross-platform & android applications.


A great programming language for creating creative UI elements, beautiful animations and graphs.
R is great with cross-platform development and is well known for its ability to visualize data.


Widely used to develop applications for the financial sector, banking and manufacturing domains.
It has been around for some time and is great in developing cross-platform mobile applications.

Mobile Developer Skills + Learning curve

These 9 mobile app developer skills will filter out the average from the best however it is essential to note that complete mastery of every skill could make it very difficult to find a suitable developer. The key is to figure out if a developer has an understanding of the importance of these skills and how willing are they to learn and polish their skill sets.

An experienced app development company always considers the potential of growth along with the essential technical knowledge along with the above mentioned mobile app developer skills.

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