App Development vs. Software Programming - What's the Best Bachelor's for Me?

As a tech enthusiast, you probably already now the latest updates, gadgets and digital gimmicks out there. But if you are preparing to do a Bachelor’s in IT you probably feel like you’re in Pac-man in a maze because of so many study options.  

Universities worldwide provide Bachelor degrees in Computer Science specialized in a wide range of areas, like Data Science, Games and Multimedia, IT Security and so on.

This can lead to confusions, especially to students who prepare to become tech experts. Such is the case of App development vs. Software programming. Are these disciplines the same thing and if not, how are they different?

The easy answer is: App developers create mobile and computer apps and software programmers create, test programs or systems and fix bugs if and when they encounter them. But there’s more to it. 

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App Development and Software Programming explained

Anyone who hears the App development instantly thinks of mobile applications. And they are not wrong. App development means the process of designing, creating, testing and finally launching an app that is meant to satisfy the need of many users.

However, App development does not refer strictly to smartphone mobile applications. It can also include developing new type of applications for computers or other electronic devices (such as car navigation systems). This can be the first kind of confusion: isn’t designing an app for computers called web development? Well, yes and no.

Web development covers a multiple set of tasks, functions, operations and design, whereas an application (for computers or mobile phones) usually involves one or a few functions and is created after an extensive research that led to the idea.

Software programming, sometimes called software engineering deals with writing code to create a software program. A software programmer needs to know coding and excel at developing algorithms, always run tests to make sure all the codes are correct and fix bugs. Along the way, software programmers may decide to make some changes to the software and adds documentation within the code itself.

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How is App Development different and similar to Software Programming?

What do app developers and software programmers have in common? They should both possess the following set of skills:

  • high-level of programming and technical skills;
  • creativity and quick problem-solving skills;
  • analytical and logical thinking;
  • numerical and math skills;
  • ability to work under pressure;
  • attention to detail.

App development can focus more on design, user experience and sometimes entertaining features, while software programming has as main target finding and introducing the right codes and making sure the standard of quality is met.

Here are the main courses you can expect from a Bachelor’s in App Development vs. one in Software programming: 

App development vs. Software programming

IT degrees that can help you become an app developer or software programmer

If you want to become a professional developer or programmer, you need to start with getting a Computer Science degree. 

Many app developers have graduated from computer graphics, web development, computing and digital media Bachelors. These programmes usually include topics related to data mining, software architectures, mobile communications, interaction design.

In case you’re more inclined towards software programming, here, things are pretty clear because you will find plenty of Bachelor’s degree courses entitled exactly “software programming” or “software engineering”. These courses focus on programming, computer systems, advanced software modelling, numerical methods, ethics in computing.

Career options and prospects for app developers and software programmers

Whether you choose to be an app developer or a software programmer, your work will be greatly rewarded on a personal level and in terms of your monthly paycheck as well. 

App development vs. Software programming

Speaking of salary, there is almost no difference so app developers and software programmers are almost equally paid, depending of course, on the years of experience and the location:

  • Average salary of a software engineer in the US:  78,000 USD/ year
  • Average salary of an app developer in the US: 66,000 USD/ year
  • Average salary of both app developers and software programmers in the UK: 30,700 GBP/year.

Like any science and technology experts, developers and software engineers will always be in demand and it’s highly likely the demand will increase. The number of apps will continue to rise and there will always be the need for people who create new computer programs and find solutions for various software issues.

Compare Bachelors in Computer Science

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