Globalisation, automation and rapidly changing needs mean the future of employment will probably look very different to now. In fact, many current careers won’t exist in the next 10 to 20 years. So, it’s critical that students ask the important question: ‘Will my chosen study path lead to strong job opportunities after graduation and beyond?’

In this series, we’re exploring a range of occupations forecast to have strong employment prospects in the future. Some careers in the tech, app development, animation and games industry are quickly emerging. Plus, there are other existing careers that will also have an important place in the employment opportunities of tomorrow.

Let’s look at mobile apps development and game programming – arguably one of the most fun industries you can enter.

WHY STUDY TO BECOME A MOBILE APPS DEVELOPER OR GAMES PROGRAMMER?

First things first: being a mobile apps developer or games programmer means having one of the coolest jobs in the world. Here are a few more reasons why studying to become a developer or programmer is an excellent career move.

You’ll learn key creative and technical skills

Love telling stories? Designing worlds? Inventing useful apps? Do you enjoy creating engaging content, challenging audiences and changing the status quo?

Studying a Bachelor of IT with a focus on Mobile Apps Development or Games Programming will arm you with the tools to transform you into an inventor, storyteller and professional media-maker all at once. You’ll be using sound, image, code, programming, animation and more. Not only will you learn what stories people love and the tricks to telling them well, but you’ll also gain the practical knowledge to really bring your creations to life to implement and implement them in real-world settings.  You’ll be a pioneer, learning the skills to create new, exciting apps that can help and assist in the everyday lives of people, companies, and organisations. Having both practical and creative skills makes you highly versatile and very employable.

You’ll be pushing boundaries in an exciting new industry

As a developer or programmer, you’ll be working in an ever-changing industry and always at the forefront of technology. You’ll play a vital part in creating and exploring augmented and virtual realities (VR), immersive gameplay experiences, artificial intelligence, and groundbreaking mobile applications of the future.

Make sure your degree offers up-to-date software tools and teaches skills relevant to where you want to go in the industry. It’s a great idea to master in-demand Integrated Development Environment (IDE) software like Microsoft Visual Studio, Xcode, NetBeans. You’ll want to learn how to smoothly project manage like a pro with tools like Jira, Trello and Basecamp, and work with programming and scripting languages and software such as NodeJS, Python, Java, C#.net, C++, Objective-C, and Swift.

You’ll become part of a supportive mobile apps and games development community

Does your degree offer real-world access to industry events like talks, mentoring opportunities and lectures? Attending events is an important part of being in the developer community. It’s a fantastic way to support, network and collaborate with artists and developers. Every year, many developers take part in prominent mobile apps and games development community events, like Global Game Jam – the world’s largest app/game jam event. During Global Game Jam, you’ll camp out at local institutions, spending two to three days networking with people who are passionate about making games and mixing with other hobbyists, students and seasoned industry professionals.

Responding to a global ‘theme’ revealed on the first night of the jam, you’ll team up with like-minded coders, artists, sound designers, animators, programmers (and more!) to create an entire game within a 48-hour development cycle. Game jams and local development groups also hold community meet-ups (such as ‘Beer and Pixels’), conventions and networking events across Australia, so don’t be shy. Make sure to ask other students where the local dev hang-outs, events and jams are taking place. It’s a great way to network and meet local students.

Your degree can and will take you anywhere

The apps and game development sphere is fluid, fast, flexible and ever-changing, so the possibilities for varied roles within the industry are unlimited. Whether you love the programming and development side of things or just have a strong passion for storytelling, design, games, and app-creation, you’ll gain skills applicable to any situation. So, wherever you go, you’ll be highly employable and sure to find your niche.

Possible career options include:

  • App Designer/Developer
  • E-Commerce Developer
  • Game Designer/Programmer
  • Graphic/Special Effects Programmer
  • Games Engine/Tools Programmer
  • Information Architect
  • Information Systems Manager
  • IT Consultant
  • Mobile Games & Application Developer
  • Multimedia Developer
  • Project Manager
  • System Administrator/Tester
  • Systems Architect

EDUCATION PATHWAYS

To qualify to specialise in the field of mobile apps development or games programming, you may need to complete a qualification in a similar field. Relevant career pathways may include:

With these qualifications, you’ll not only graduate with a degree but also a full portfolio of work. This is absolutely essential for entering the industry.

MEET MOBILE APPS DEVELOPMENT STUDENT SANTIAGO VILLAMIL

In 2016, Santiago, an international student from Colombia, pursued a Bachelor of IT (Mobile Apps) at the Academy of Information Technology (AIT). In February 2018, he became the winner of the AIT Creative Minds Scholarship – a special scholarship developed by AIT open to recognise the passion and dedication of international students.

“I’m very committed and passionate about IT, and winning this scholarship certainly helped in fueling and encouraging me to keep doing my best in the following semesters,” Santiago says. “I decided to apply to the Creative Minds Scholarship as an opportunity to prove myself that nothing is impossible. If you try hard enough and set goals, you will be rewarded.”

For Santiago, the initial road to Australia was a challenging one. First coming to Australia as a high school student to study English, after graduation Santiago faced a big dilemma. Unfortunately, his parents could no longer afford to fund his studies. Because of this, Santiago had to move back to Colombia. Still, he remained determined to return.

“I always knew that I wanted to come back to this beautiful country to become a professional,” he says. “To make this dream come true, my wife and I started a small business. In 2016, after a long period of time, we were finally able to return to Australia.”

In 2016, Santiago made the move back to Melbourne – Australia’s technological hub – to study Mobile Apps Development at AIT.

“Mobile apps development has always fascinated me with its huge potential in the technology industry,” he says. “The endless opportunities in this field is also very inspiring — the landscape is always changing and you always need to keep learning in order to keep up. Another reason why I studied Mobile Apps Development is because I really love design, and this field has the best of both worlds — design and development!”

Since starting at AIT, Santiago has not only won the AIT Creative Minds Scholarship, he has since taken on many exciting projects – including his ‘2Pet’ app. Santiago created this mobile application, which serves as a gateway between dog owners to find playmates or arrange dog dates, for the AIT User Interface (UI) assignment.

“2Pet provides the features necessary for interactions between dog owners, as well as easy access to dogs’ profiles, giving the relevant information about them such as their name, age, gender and a brief description,” Santiago says. “2Pet allows dog owners to easily seek out playmates or dog dates.”

For Santiago, this journey to success has all been worth it.

“I feel very grateful for having the opportunity to study at AIT. It has made me grow personally and professionally, and this makes me feel confident about choosing the right degree at the right institution. The teachers at AIT have also made this a great journey where I have learned a lot and prepared me for the industry once I graduate.”

WANT TO STUDY FOR A FUTURE IN MOBILE APPS DEVELOPMENT OR GAMES PROGRAMMING?

The Academy of Information Technology (AIT) offers a range of course options that will get you right into the field. You’ll enjoy the benefits of small campuses and classes with low student-to-teacher ratios; hands-on, practical learning in state-of-the-art facilities such as a green screen room, audio recording room, PC and Mac labs; the opportunity to attend and gain insights at industry events; and a final-year subject known as The Forge, where students are able to work in groups on project briefs taken from industry, using real-life methods and processes that are critiqued by industry professionals. For more information, head to the AIT website.