• 14 Sep 17
  • |
  • SAE Creative Media

The UAE is the world smartphone leader, with 3 in 4 people owning a smartphone (USA only has 56% penetration) Source: People are constantly on the move and want, rather need to have access to everything, all the time, wherever they are. Whether they want to book a table for dinner, manage their banking or book a cab, they want access to their favorite services immediately, from their smartphone. Businesses need to meet their customers’ expectations or lose them to the competition. 

By the end of 2016, the global app economy was estimated to be worth over $143bn, with at least 33% accounting for mobile apps. (Source:

So, if you’re looking to the future and wondering where you should be focusing your learning and time, look no further than Mobile App Development. 

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Interestingly, the mobile app market in the Middle East has been slow to take shape, with creativity and innovation relatively slow to develop in comparison to the rest of the global community.  However, with businesses in the region growing their online presence, it is estimated that by 2019 MENA will have the highest cloud traffic.

(Source: growth.

With improvements in internet speeds and an increase in the number of online users, the Middle East is growing 3x faster than the USA and double the growth patterns of China. More people are buying expensive smartphones than ever before. With this exponential growth, the region has found itself in the unfortunate position of having a shortage of experienced app developers to deploy on complex projects, forcing companies to turn elsewhere for solutions.

This opens a unique opportunity for App Developers to really make their mark on the Mobile App market in the Middle East. It is also a perfect springboard to launching your own business with relatively low start-up costs. If you take the time to focus on better quality products and LISTEN to the needs of consumers, you’re perfectly aligned to catapult your career forward. 

"Sweat equity is the best start up capital" Mark Cuban - Founder,

Of course, many companies are also building their own internal teams, so if business ownership is not in your sights there are still plenty of opportunities to build your career as part of one of the cutting-edge development teams.

Have we got you wondering whether the Mobile App Development market is a lucrative one? 

$750m was invested into the region’s tech start-ups from 2013-2015

The mobile world is your oyster!

Understanding why Mobile Apps: 

The business landscape is changing at a faster rate than ever before in history, people need to be more and do more, with less time than ever before. With the need for 24/7 connectivity and availability, it has become essential that companies transition their business onto mobile. Although the initial setup costs can seem hefty, the overall increase in productivity and decrease in operational costs across the board, more than help pay for setup and deployment. Mobile usage is influencing digital strategy the world over with many customers’ primary means of communication taking place in app. 

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When you start deploying ‘push’ notifications and in app purchases as well as using the insight gained from analysing behavioural insights, the power of mobile becomes incontestable. And the only question left to ask becomes – ‘Who is going to do it for us?’   

Start Building your Mobile App Development Business in 36 hours!

You need the Skills

I hope it goes without saying, that the FIRST STEP TO BECOMING A MOBILE APP DEVELOPER IS TO LEARN HOW. You need a course that focuses on the fundamentals of programming and designs for mobile devices (iOS and Android devices). Along with learning application development, you need to understand the business model of the Apple App Store and Android Play Store. 

The SAE Mobile App Development Course is a fantastic place to start, providing you with solid a foundation in App development in just 36 hours of collective tuition. 

Once you have a good grounding, you can then focus on the deeper understanding and practical application. It is important for you to develop native and cross-platform skills ensuring you are able to position yourself as a valuable asset to a development team or as a development partner. Being able to understand how to integrate with existing systems and seeing how it all links into strategy, are all key skills to nurture, ensuring you continue to cultivate the long-term benefit you offer to your clients.  

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Now you know how, it’s time to SIGN UP AS A DEVELOPER

Every App you build needs to be submitted to an app store to be marketed and accessed by users. The two major players in the app world are Google Play store and iOS App store. You will need to register with each of them as a developer before you are able to submit your apps for sale. The iOS Developer Program, costs $99/year and the Google Play, Developer Console costs $25. Both programs offer you great resources to help you grow as a developer, and often have the added advantage of helping you to grow your contacts too.

When you submit an app for approval, each app store will put your app through a review process to ensure you’re not embedding any malware and that you meet their quality standards. 

You’re Officially a Developer…it’s time to DECIDE WHAT TO BUILD

The purpose of an app is to solve a problem – to help the user be more productive, save time, be more organized, kept up to date or…?

You will be most successful if you build an app that solves a problem that you understand, that you can sympathize with and that you believe you can improve. When you build, make sure you are user-centric in your planning and execution.

What problem can you solve today?

Apps can be form-based which means they interact with data entry, databases and store data for later retrieval.

Games, are one of the most popular segments of the market, if you are keen on exploring the games market further, we highly recommend you look at the GAMES DEVELOPMENT COURSE from SAE. 


Most apps sell for under $10. You need volume to make money. So it needs to be good. 

PROTIP: Almost all the money spinners are free to download and make their money from in-app purchases.

But there are other options too. You can offer a subscription model where users pay a monthly fee, you might offer an entry version and premium version where users pay to upgrade. Or you could generate revenue through advertising. Flappy Bird was entirely ad- revenue driven and made the one-person development team $56,000 a day! The most important thing to remember is always give VALUE. The more value you offer your users, the more nurtured they feel and as a result the more money they’ll happily send your way.

Building Time…let’s go!

You know what you want to build and you’ve decided on a business model, so you know where the money lies. Now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty and start with the model. You’ll need to wireframe your app, plotting out the navigation and customer journey. There’s a saying in the building industry, measure twice, cut once. Such sage advice!

Plan out your app carefully, consider all aspects, what it needs, what it doesn’t, how the user will interact with it and where the fall-off points are. Retention rates are key to longevity and success, so make sure you don’t lose customers due to poor planning in the beginning. 

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Building an app takes TIME, but that’s a good thing! Leveraging your time means you don’t need massive start-up capital, but the potential to build a business and/or app that generates recurring revenue for you gives you a fantastic springboard to launch yourself into the Mobile App Marketplace.

A picture is worth a 1000 words!

Visual prompting is the key.Every app needs a set of graphics and icons to prompt the user. There is not a huge amount of space on an app screen to provide lengthy instructions, so developing easy to understand icons is highly recommended. You may have some graphic experience yourself and be comfortable using Photoshop or Illustrator.  However, if you don’t, the one area we strongly recommend you outsource is your graphics. It is the first impression your users get and can be the difference between buy or no-buy. 

TEST, TEST, TEST…Before you submit!

You know how you spot the typo in an email as you hit send? Well any development work can be almost the same. You know how the app should behave, and so you follow the user sequence exactly, every time…but your mom or your dad, or your granny won’t. I can almost guarantee you, on the first test sequence they’ll manage to send the app into a complete tailspin because they clicked something in the wrong order. 

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Your testing needs to be 2-phased, 1st round is to spot the user errors, give you an opportunity to fix any bugs and then get a second group of people to do the 2nd round of testing. 

PROTIP: Feedback is a really good thing, don’t be offended by it. It helps you grow! Mistakes are also a good thing, it helps you learn what not to do next time. Building apps is a lifelong learning curve, the only way to BECOME A MASTER, is to eliminate all the ways not to do something. 

It’s READY…now what?

You’re almost ready to submit to the App stores for approval. Both App Stores will ask you to upload multiple screenshots for review. These screenshots will also form part of your marketing, giving users, a taste of what the app includes, how it looks and how it works.

An intro video is also a great way to showcase your app. Use a program such as screencast to capture the app in-motion. You can also overlay a soundtrack to make the intro video more engaging. There are plenty of sites that offer royalty free music that you can explore to find the perfect jingle. 

Mobile App Development Short Course


  • 14 Sep 17
  • |
  • SAE Creative Media