‘I Have a Good App Idea, But No Programming Skills.’ What You Can Do

Do You Have a Good App Idea?

It seems every day the technology news is scattered with examples of people who came from nothing had a great app idea, and blew up to achieve monumental levels of success. Every time you see this kind of success story, you might find yourself thinking, “I have an idea for an app, but no programming skills to make it a reality.”

While a lot of people might give up, there’s no reason why you can’t bring your app idea into fruition. And, it doesn’t have to be as hard as you think. There are actually lots of ways to learn how to make an app with no experience, and not all of them involve as much time, money, or work as you may expect. Read on for some suggestions on what to do with an app idea.

Outsource it.

Outsource it.

If you want to get started on your app right away and do not have time to learn how to code it yourself, there is a way to do that. There are a lot of freelance app developers to be found, both online and elsewhere. But how do you find a good one? If you want to have a positive experience, it’s important to properly vet potential app development freelancers to make sure that whoever you employ will be a good fit. Here are a few tips for getting it right:

  • Try searching for a developer, or app builder, offline first. Ask friends for recommendations, or perhaps if you live near a university, ask a professor in the computer science department for a recommendation. This may also save you some money as the students will be eager for the real-life experience.
  • Online there are a lot of good places such as Elance or Upwork where you can hire a programmer to make an app. They are legitimate sites that will be ideal for protecting your arrangement.
  • Whoever you hire, look at their past work, ask them for examples of their skills, and talk with them about your vision by wireframing and see their ideas for how to make it a reality.
  • Make sure that you have a contract or agreement in writing before you get started. This might cover things such as royalties or what might happen in the event of an incomplete project. You can also talk about iOS vs Android apps at this point of the conversation.

There are a lot of pros to doing things this way. A huge plus being that you don’t have to learn the necessary programming knowledge yourself, which is much easier for you, and has the potential for a much quicker turnaround. On the other hand, this will cost you extra—for the cost of the work, and (although unlikely) there’s a chance that the freelancer may also request residuals for any money made from the app—and provides the disadvantage of having to rely on someone else to carry out your vision;  this can lead to clashes creatively, or even a delayed timeline.

Use a drag and drop program.

Use a drag and drop program.

Another way to create your app without having to learn how to code is to use a program that will write the code for you. These kinds of “drag and drop” solutions make it easy for anyone to put together a basic application, and are easily found online. It’s worth checking out reviews and ratings before diving in with a particular program, but some good options are AppyPie, GoodBarber, and MobileRoadie.

The benefits of going down this route to create your app are that, as with using a freelancer, you do not have to learn how to code—but, in contrast to the freelancer option, you can be more in control creatively. You also do not have to pay someone else to write the code and, though the service may cost money, you will not have to deal with contracts and royalties. 

The drawbacks of this method are that there may still be a learning curve—which will affect your turnaround—and you are limited to what the program offers, meaning you may not get the exact same level of creative freedom or ability to customize that you might get through writing the code yourself. 

Learn how to create an app idea yourself.

Learn how to create an app idea yourself.

Of course the only real way to make sure that you have complete control and ownership over your app is to build your own app. And it may be easier than you think to get the skills that you need to make it happen. You can learn to code in a traditional college, online, or with a more specialized immersive bootcamp.

The obvious benefit of this route is that you will be learning skills that you will have forever, and which will continue to serve you in updating your app, or creating more in the future. You will also have more possibilities open to you creatively, and sole ownership over your app—both in terms of money and vision. 

On the other hand, this route will probably cost you more money than the alternatives, but it will be a finite amount of payments (as opposed to a potential monthly fee for an app builder or repeat payments to freelancers for updates). The return on investment is also much greater than if you spent your money on, say, a freelancer, as you will continue to benefit from your new skills and knowledge.

Of course, one other drawback with this method of creating your app is that you will have to put in the hard work necessary to learn how to code. Overall, however, it’s not as hard as you might think to get the skills needed to make your dream app idea a reality; and if you are willing to put the work in to learn programming knowledge, you will have them forever.

That’s something that will benefit you in the long term, even if your first attempt at an app fails.

Another benefit of doing it yourself is that you might find some app marketing inspiration in the process. And the next time some inspiration strikes, you’ll no longer find yourself saying, “I have a good idea for an app, but no programming skills.”

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