Today, more and more mobile phone users are using Mobile applications to share information about their communities. Are you curious about learning how to develop mobile applications?
Meet Shikoh Gitau (read our interview with Shikoh). Her ideas for a mobile application, M-Ganga (Mobile-healer), helped her win the 2010 Google Anita Borg Memorial Award.
Read more about her ideas here at the University of Cape Town site. The mobile app is designed to “record, catalogue, and map traditional medicine knowledge for both archival purposes and to be passed on to the next generation”. Follow her on Twitter @shikohtwit and on

Also, we want you to meet James Wire Lunghabo. He is one of the pioneers of the free software movement in Uganda. Listen as he discusses the impact of mobile phones in Africa at

How to become a mobile application developer

It is now easy to become a mobile developer. Our model, Shikoh Gitau, learned a couple of skills that have proved to become quite an invaluable asset to her.
She can program computers and tell them to do things. So the first thing on the checklist is
  • Learn to program
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The next thing, you’ll want to learn is to be very comfortable with the different wireless technologies out there in the world. Learn what terms mean, how mobile communication works, the types of devices, the capabilities of devices. All this is gradual process and takes time to learn; but it is worth learning.
  • Learn about the latest in wireless technology

Finally, learn about mobile application development technology. There are currently many mobile phone manufacturers. Each of them provides different ways to design mobile applications.
  • Learn something new about mobile application development and technology each day

The following points will give you a clear picture of what it means to be a mobile application developer.
1. To become a mobile applications developer, you will in many cases need a 3 to 4 year degree in computer science. However, if you are smart, you can easily create an app that you’ll be proud of.
2. Analyze the skills you have and if you don’t have them, try to build them. Skills that are important to mobile computing include creative and analytic skills.
3. Build your knowledge base by creating your own software applications as a beginner but continue to build and refine your skill set on the job, and learn from the experience of other developers.
4. Start to build something simple on your own. Don’t focus on building a killer application, try to create a simple application that is user friendly and has some function that can be used to improve a mobile user’s being.
5. Always develop some kind of plan that you will follow. A detailed outline of important details such as features, elements, and benefits of the application.
6. Create a network of knowledgeable, experienced, and reliable developers. You can start by reaching out to those that you know well, developers you can contact through social networking (i.e. facebook, twitter, developer forums, etc.) Create a team that you can work with.
7. Take notes of your progress, keep it updated. This will easily help identify areas where you are not good at something and this helps easily correct that. Logs of your progress help you know when to move forward to a newer part of mobile computing.
8. Contact other developers who are building apps that are in other categories, and discuss how they transfer ideas into real applications.
9. You have to build relations with other developers with whom you can share a mutually beneficial relationship. This is how you will be able to gain new ideas and skills.
10. Code up and release your first app, no matter how small it appears. Share the application with your friends, ask them to give you feedback.
11. Attend some mobile conference or a seminar which can be the right place to launch our application. If you cannot attend a conference, there are still a lot more resources you can use. Blogs and social media are full of information written by developers, conference managers, etc. use that information for your own benefit. If you must launch your application, you can easily do that with social media. Blog about your application, create some traffic in the web. People will start talking about your application, investors might get to hear about it, or you might become an entrepreneur yourself. This only means you can start generating an income quite easily even if you are young.