10 Ways to Be Successful with iOS Apps - dummies

10 Ways to Be Successful with iOS Apps

By Neal Goldstein, Dave Wilson

When the App Store opened in July 2008, it’s safe to say that no one imagined the world of iOS apps there are today. From the launch of the iPhone in June 2007 until July 2008 when iOS 2.0 (it was still called iPhone OS then) was released and the App Store opened, the only native apps on the iPhone were written by Apple.

Within a year, there were 55,000 apps in the App Store accounting for more than a billion downloads. Currently, there are well over a million apps with many billions of downloads.

Particularly with the advent of the iPad and more mature versions of iOS, the world of app development has taken shape. Here are ten suggestions for how you can make money from apps using your own skills and experience.

Make a million dollars in a week

Take a weekend off, write an app, and watch it become a top seller on the App Store. Yes, and winning the lottery is also a possibility. This does happen, but it’s not as common as the other ways listed here.

Build a portfolio

A resume has traditionally been considered the key to getting a good job or even a temporary position. If you have a handful of apps (three to five) in the App Store, you don’t need a resume: You have your work to speak for you. They don’t have to be best-sellers, but they should demonstrate what it is that you know how to do.

The mere fact that they’re in the App Store will demonstrate that you understand at least the basics of the app review process. You may want a variety of apps or you may want a variety of a specific type of app such as a game. A real-world app may help, so this might be a good time to volunteer for a nonprofit or for a friend or relative’s business.

Build app icons

You don’t actually have to build apps, you know. Think about it. You don’t have to build the whole app yourself. With the understanding of the app development process that you now have, you may want to specialize based on your skills and interests. The next few items suggest areas to focus on.

App icons are a very specific type of graphic design. If you have the ability to synthesize an app into a very tiny image that suggests what the app can do, app icons may be the place for you. This means that you need to understand the rules from Apple for app icons.

You also need to be able to quickly and accurately understand what an app does. (And you may need to form this understanding long before the app is written.)

Design user interfaces

By now, you should have a basic understanding of app design. You’ve seen toolbars, navigation bars, segues, buttons, and many of the basics techniques for controlling an app. Does this play to your strengths? Not every app developer is great at interfaces, so you may find developers who welcome your expertise. Being able to understand what the main developer is doing can help you be a better user interface designer.

Build back ends

Is data management your forte? Or are you into designing web pages that provide data on demand to users? If JSON and http are the acronyms you work with, and if the use of quickly scalable web resources (like Amazon Web Services) are your game, you can start integrating them into apps, and you can bring your data management expertise to developers who need someone to help in that area.

Socialize with apps

Apps and social media are intertwined today. If you have skills in both areas, you have a leg up. Start by looking at the Apple APIs for integration with social media and add a social media app to your portfolio. That’s a highly valuable skill.

Talk about apps with people who want them

There are many business owners who want to have apps built for them. If you know a particular business well, consider helping people in that line of work find the right app developer even if it’s not you. Twenty years ago, it seemed as if every business owner wanted a website. Today, they want apps.

And, to be perfectly honest, many of them know as much about apps today as they knew about websites 20 years ago. If you can translate from the specific business world to the tech world, and if you are honest and reliable, there are opportunities for you.

Promote apps

If you have a background or interest in promotion and media relations, your background in apps can help you promote apps and businesses that use them. Knowing the words to use can help you help businesses make their points and get people to download their apps. It’s difficult to promote an app if you don’t know what it does and how it does it. You now know how apps work.

Provide support to users

Many apps are built for a specific company or organization to use to provide services to clients. As is the case with any customer service operation, this process often needs support people who are familiar with the business as well as with the app.

A demonstrated ability to understand apps and work on a help desk to support a business’s app can open doors to you either where you work now or at a new company.

Fix bugs

For some developers, a clean build or compile is the end of the road, but you know that it’s only the beginning. There’s almost always room for code improvements. Even if an app doesn’t crash, does it leak memory or behave in unpredictable ways from time to time? For some people, finding these issues is a wonderful multi-dimensional puzzle. If that’s you, then there are opportunities waiting for you.