Top mobile app development courses: free and paid

April 18, 2019
App development courses - learn app development

Code your perfect mobile app development career into existence with these top free and paid app development courses.

So you want to learn app development? We completely understand. App development is among the most rewarding industries to work in these days. With salaries higher than the national average and demand for people to fill app development positions skyrocketing, there’s never been a better time to learn mobile app development.

Start designing and developing new apps. Unlimited projects.

For budding developers, it’s time to hop aboard the gravy train. For current developers, keeping on top of your game in a rapidly growing industry is tantamount to a successful career. The question is, where do you start? This post aims to help answer those burning questions like “what courses should I sign up for to learn app development?” and “Should I teach myself app development?”

Obviously, it all depends on where your current level of knowledge and expertise lies, so, without further ado, here are some quick fixes and our top app free and paid app development courses.

Online courses

1. Udemy

Dee Aliyu Odumosu’s Mobile App Development course is ideal if you’re looking to break into iOS.

Online app development course - Udemy

Learn how to create and customize 10 or more iPhone apps (using Swift and Xcode) with easy step-by-step instructions. This app development course begins with implementing of basic elements – UILabel, UIButton, UITextField etc. – Auto Layout and multiple-sized icons, with more advanced classes covering memory issues, storyboarding and displaying rich local notifications.

Udemy for Business allows unlimited access to all courses on any device. It’s been used by companies like Volkswagen, Adidas and Paypal.
  • Price point: $56
  • Duration: 33 hours
  • Level: beginner; ownership of a Mac is required

2. Coursera

This is the ultimate Swift for iOS app development course, brought to you by Parham Aarabi and the University of Toronto.

Online app development course - Coursera (iOS App Development)

Using XCode, Parham will teach you how to design elegant interactions and create fully functioning iOS apps, such as the photo editing app for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. The course also includes best practices to help you become proficient in functional Swift concepts.

Coursera has trained employees in various high-profile companies like Pfizer, P&G, L’Oréal and Airbus.
  • Price point: 7-day free trial, $49 per month thereafter
  • Duration: 6 months
  • Level: beginner; ownership of a Mac is required

Start designing and developing new apps. Unlimited projects.

3. edX

Imagine being able to go from app user to app creator at your own pace and being able to implement an app design all of your own? That’s what Harvard University’s Professional Certificate in Computer Science and Mobile Apps aims to help you do.

Mobile App Development Courses - Harvard through edX

This mobile app development certificate is taught through edX and is a fast track to mastering important concepts like debugging, data structure, algorithms and abstraction. It also provides a firm primer in important coding languages for mobile app development such as Python, JavaScript, SQL, React Native and many more.

Looking for a self-paced course that you can do in your own time without the pressure of deadlines? This certificate could be what you’re looking for.
  • Price point: $162
  • Duration: estimated 6 months to completion
  • Level: beginner to intermediate

4. Skillshare

This app development course, taught on Skillshare by Zeph Cohen – a developer with many years experience creating mobile and desktop software – provides bite sized videos detailing everything you need to know about iOS development and Swift, in order to get you to paid professional with zero experience.

Online app development course - Skillshare

Warmups, class projects and exercises will help keep you on your toes and you can also check out some of Zeph’s coding tutorials on his Youtube channel if you’re unsure about any aspects of the coding used in the videos.

Code along with the videos on this course and build a reminder-tracking app!
  • Price point: 30 day free trial; $15 monthly; $108 annually. Value discounts are available for groups and organizations
  • Duration: 3 hours, 28 mins
  • Level: beginners

5. Treehouse

Ben Deitch’s app development course Build a Simple Android App with Java will help you build simple mobile apps for Android, without any prior knowledge.

Online app development course - Treehouse

Best-suited to budding Android developers, this app development course will explore programming in Android and some very basic concepts of the Android SDK. By the end of the course, you’ll have a working knowledge of how a basic app works, as well as how to use Android Studio.

Build a basic Android App with no prior knowledge that displays fun facts when tapping a button in just over three hours.
  • Price point: around $25 per month
  • Duration: around 3.5 hours
  • Level: beginner

6. Pluralsight

Simon Allardice’s tutorials on iOS Fundamentals is an iOS app development course that teaches you, from the ground up, how to use Xcode and Swift to make apps for multiple devices.

Online app development course - Pluralsight

You’ll write your first iPhone app code and learn about how to create apps with adaptive user interfaces in addition to learning how to implement navigation options and work with data-driven controls.

An excellent short course to ground you in the basics of iOS app development and build an app from zero knowledge.
  • Price point: around $29 per month
  • Duration: around 4 hours, 22 minutes
  • Level: beginner

7. Udacity

Developing Android Apps by Google, offered through Udacity, is a free app development course and counts towards part of the Android Developer Nanodegree.

Online app development course - Udacity

This short course builds on basic coding knowledge to enable you to start building professional apps for Android in as little as two weeks, in addition to teaching you the best practices of mobile app development, with a particular focus on Android and its history.

If you’re interested in all things Android, and already have basic software development knowledge, this free course by Google will have you creating professional apps in less than two weeks.
  • Price point: free
  • Duration: just under two weeks
  • Level: intermediate

Start designing and developing new apps. Unlimited projects.

8. Google developers training

Google developers training offers great Android app development courses all round, from zero developers to heros. The topics offered on this site cover everything from creating your first app to nailing graphics, localization and performance.

Online app development course - Google Developers Training

Android Development for beginners is a free set of courses that not only get you creating your first app from lesson one, but also how to add functionality, databases and connecting to the internet.

Completing the Android Basics Nanodegree is a great aid to help you work through Udacity’s beginner courses and build a basic portfolio of apps.
  • Price point: free
  • Duration: varies according to course
  • Level: all levels

9. Ray Wenderlich

Ray Wenderlich is a community of experts in the field of app development from around the world. It’s a fun and informative site for beginners through to advanced developers that offers a plethora of free tutorials and app development courses to increase your knowledge in the shortest timespan possible.

Online app development course - Ray Wenderlich

You can get free and instant access to professionally made, informative courses with videos ranging from topics such as iOS & Swift and Android & Kotlin to Unreal Engine (a cross-platform engine for game development) tutorials.

A great mix of fun and free learning materials and video courses for beginners through to advanced developers.
  • Price point: free or pay between $99 and $240 for unlimited access to highly specialised all videos year round
  • Duration: courses vary between a few minutes to several hours
  • Level: all levels

10. Coursera

Offered by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology through Coursera, this Specialization consists of a series of hybrid app development courses and will give you the chance to build complete web and hybrid mobile solutions, as well as master front-end web, hybrid mobile app and server-side development.

Online app development course - Coursera (Mulitplatform App Development)

This course goes into details regarding both hybrid and front-end app development. You’ll learn Bootstrap 4 front-end frameworks, how to build hybrid apps using Ionic, Cordova and Native, in addition to implementing NoSQL databases with MongoDB and working within Node.js environments.

Have a working knowledge of HTML, CSS and JavaScript? Want to learn how to make apps for various platforms with one codebase? Then this is the course for you!
  • Price point: 7-day free trial, $39 per month thereafter
  • Duration: 7 months
  • Level: intermediate to advanced

Start designing and developing new apps. Unlimited projects.

In-class courses in the US

1. Washington University - Seattle

Washington university’s Certificate in Java Programming app development course sets out to lay the foundations of the most commonly used APIs along with how to know when and when not to use them.

In-class app development course - Washington University

They aim to teach you the most widely used tools in the industry for developing and testing applications built with Java, along with the best practices used for developing with this language.

This course focuses a lot on the design rationale behind building certain features of apps, to ensure that you know how to meet the needs of your future users.
  • Price point: $1,142
  • Duration: 10-11 weeks
  • Level: beginners

2. NYU Stern - New York

If you’re looking for a zero to hero app development course that sets you up to both design and develop professional iOS apps, then NYU Stern’s iOS App Development Intensive: from Concept to App Store might be for you.

In-class app development course - NYU Stern

Like the name suggests, this app development course takes you from the ideation stage, right through to the finished product ready for publication. It’s beginner friendly and provides you with training in the latest iOS development and iOS SDK tools.

Go from beginner to designing and developing your own professional app to include in your portfolio.
  • Price point: $2,800
  • Duration: 2.5 months
  • Level: beginners; must own a Mac for homework

3. USC - California

USC’s Mobile App Development course teaches you how to develop standards-compliant apps for both Android and iOS tablets and smartphones, in addition to innovation and design rationale for app development.

In-class app development course - USC

This course also teaches you how to build apps using the relevant libraries to process user input and obtain an authentic look and feel.

This course focuses heavily on the ideation stage, as well as the correct design of interfaces and featurest that can meet the needs of today’s market.
  • Price point: $2,800
  • Duration: 1 year
  • Level: beginners

4. Stanford - San Francisco

Stanford University’s free app development course promises to get you up to speed with the latest in iOS development. IT teaches you all the tools and APIs necessary to successfully build apps for both the iPhone and iPad, for which you’ll use iOS SDK.

In-class app development course - Stanford

Among the innovative techniques listed on this online app development course is how to correctly implement user interactions via multi-touch technology, in addition to Swift 4.2 programming practice and object-oriented design.

Get the latest iOS development updates, fundamental tips and design best practices from leading experts in the industry...absolutely free on iTunes!
  • Price point: free
  • Duration: 32 hours
  • Level: knowledge of C# language and object-oriented programming required

5. Harvard - edX

CS50’s Mobile App Development with React Native app development course from Harvard, done through edX, picks up from the CS50 introduction to Computer Science, for which completion isn’t compulsory.

Online app development course - edX (Harvard)

This app development course serves as a great introduction to JavaScript and JSX (an extension for JavaScript created by Facebook). You’ll work on practical projects using React, as well as design and develop your own app from scratch.

Get Harvard-level education for iOS development free or simply pay $90 to get a certificate from Harvard.
  • Price point: free to audit, or $90 for a Harvard certificate
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Level: intermediate

Start designing and developing new apps. Unlimited projects.

In-class courses in Europe

1. London App Brewery - London, UK

The London App Brewery provides a bootcamp app development course which promises to get you from zero to hero in little more than a weekend!

In-class app development course - London App Brewery

They offer in-person app development courses for to get you up to speed with Android and iOS development, with one-to-one tutoring and all resources provided. Or, for an extra $130, you can avail of the certification course that provides you with an accreditation and LinkedIn Badge.

London App Brewery has been used by big house brands such as Ford, Twitter and Amazon, as well as the British National Health Service.
  • Price point: $655 for the in-person course, $787 for full certification
  • Duration: one weekend
  • Level: beginner

2. Lean Quest - Munich, Germany

Learn Quest aims to help you master the fundamentals of iOS native app development with plenty of hands-on coding exercises using Swift. Their app development courses will teach you all the practicalities you need to build and run your first iOS apps, including the appropriate design patterns for the iPhone and iPad.

In-class app development course - Learn Quest

They offer a two-day app development course which covers the foundations of Swift 4.2, a three-day course which builds on the foundations for running apps and a five-day course that builds on everything learnt in the previous two.

Get hands-on training and coding exercises using Swift 4.2, as well as practice using different design patterns for both iPhone and iPad.
  • Price point: $1,573 for introduction to Swift 4.2, $2,365 for Introduction to iOS 12 SDK and $3,940 for App Development with Swift 4.2
  • Duration: two, three and five-day courses available
  • Level: intermediate – you’ll be required to know the basic concepts of logic, strings and variables.

3. Barcelona Code School - Barcelona, Spain

Are you in Spain, looking to do an intensive app development course and become an expert in JS but not sure of where to find a reputable school? Look no further than Barcelona Code School, where you can avail of a nine week course, five days a week from 9:30am to 7:30pm. They give you the skills to start freelancing immediately after you finish your training.

In-class app development course - Barcelona Code School

Here, all the training, taught in English, is in-person and intensive. They’ll teach all the practical coding skills required such as JS, React Native, HTML and CSS, MongoDB and even some basics in UX!

100% of Barcelona Code School’s graduates find work within three months of graduating!
  • Price point: $6,565 (get a discount if you’re over the age of 40!)
  • Duration: 9 weeks
  • Level: beginners

4. CCT College Dublin - Dublin, Ireland

CCT’s diploma in Mobile Application Development focuses specifically on Android native app development, and provides an introduction to the different types of approaches used in development today.

In-class app development course - CCT Dublin

You can expect to learn everything on this app development course, from creating data storage solutions and data feeds, to accessing internal resources such as a device’s GPS and sensors.

This relatively cheap diploma can get you on the fast track to developing native apps for Android.

Price point: $1,352

Duration: 11 weeks

Level: beginners

5. Training Dragon - London, UK

Another relatively cheap course – Training Dragon’s Android Programming app development course in London sets out to give you training and practical experience by helping you develop Android native apps to include in your portfolio.

In-class app development course - Trainin Dragon

In a class size of no more than 10, you’ll learn about important concepts in Android development such as Broadcast Receivers, Databases, Content Providers, Graphics and Animation, including how to upload your apps to Google Play.

Training Dragon gives you one-to-one tutoring from professional Android programmers in the form of a flexible course that you can adapt to your own personal schedule.
  • Price point: $1,245
  • Duration: 4 days
  • Level: beginners

Start designing and developing new apps. Unlimited projects.

In-class courses in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific

1. Asia Dev Academy - Selangor, Malaysia

Asia Dev Academy’s Android App Development course was designed to teach you how to develop apps from scratch in six months. It’s delivered by some of Asia’s finest developers.

In-class app development course - Asia Dev Academy

You’ll have classes in instructor-led labs, in addition to learning the foundations of OOP and Java, Backend Development, Firebase and Google Play marketing.

This course is an excellent and cheap way to go from zero to hero fast, in addition to building up to three real apps for your developer portfolio.
  • Price point: $520
  • Duration: 24 weeks
  • Level: beginner

2. NTUC Learning Hub - Singapore

NTUC’s Android Programming and App Development course teaches the full range of knowledge and skills needed to build an Android application from the ground up, and it does so with a special focus on the Java and Kotlin programming languages.

In-class app development course - NTUC Learning Hub

From day one students will be learning object-oriented programming in addition to techniques geared towards SDK, meaning you won’t waste any time (or money) on this practical course.

If you’re looking for a fast-paced app development course in a challenging, rewarding environment, then this is the course for you.
  • Price point: $2,181
  • Duration: 4 days
  • Level: intermediate; experience in C#, Java or other object-oriented language

3. SAE - Dubai, UAE

Not only does this app development course cover the fundamentals of programming for both iOS and Android platforms, SAE’s Mobile Application Development Short Course also sheds light on both the App Store and Android Market business models.

In-class app development course - SAE

This is an intensive app development course that aims to cover everything from the ground up, and is essential for those with a business idea for an app but that aren’t sure how to go about designing or developing it.

Got an idea for an app and want to create a business out of it? This course will show you the fundamentals of app development, in addition to the App Store and Google Play business models.
  • Price point: $1,634
  • Duration: 6 weeks
  • Level: beginners

4. Charles Sturt University - Queensland, Australia

Looking for a great free app development course to take in Australia for developing cross-platform apps? You’re in luck!

In-class app development course - Charles Sturt

Cross-Platform Mobile App Development by the Charles Sturt University introduces you to the open-source Phonegap, a framework that lets you write code only once and reuse it across multiple platforms.


The only downside is that, as the course was delivered in 2015, there are no longer certificates given on completion, though learning materials and exams are still accessible.

This app development course serves as a great free introduction to get you on the road to developing multi-platform apps in as little as 5 weeks!
  • Price point: free
  • Duration: 5 weeks
  • Level: intermediate

5. Open Polytechnic - Auckland, New Zealand

This online app development course promises to cover everything you need to know about about developing with the C# programming language, as well as ground you in the basics of using object-oriented core programming techniques and object-oriented concepts for modular software development.

In-class app development course - Open Polytechnic

This app development course will teach you everything you need to know about designing, writing and testing apps with an IDE (integrated development environment).

Do you have a special interest in C# programming? This course aims to teach you everything about how use it and apply it in an integrated development environment.
  • Price point: $1,135 (NZ students); $2,643 (international students)
  • Duration: 3 months
  • Level: beginners

Practice for free

Have a go at prototyping

If you’re a rookie coder or just starting out, it might be an idea to try app prototyping with our prototyping tool. When building an app, developers often have to work closely with design teams, usually in respect to prototypes delivered to them in designer handoffs.

Prototyping is a crucial aspect in mobile app development. Furthermore, creating prototypes will help you get the hang of app functionality (both for Android and iOS), before you even start to get your head around the code. It’s also a great way to visualize what you’ll be building further down the line.

On top of that, Justinmind’s integration with Phonegap also allows you to generate and share native apps from your prototypes on Google Play and App Store.

Practice with the App Inventor

Developed by Google and maintained by MIT, the App Inventor is a great way for people with little-to-no experience creating apps to practice putting an Android app together. Packaging and Sharing is a feature that lets you download your apps and share them with your friends. You can also upload them to the Google Play Store.

The bottom line

There’s never been a better time to take an app development course. It can be a very lucrative and rewarding career for those with both a logical and creative streak running through them.

It is, however, a very technical area and while there is always a certain amount you can teach yourself, for those starting out, taking some crash courses is the best way to make sure you’re fully prepared to enter the developer world.

For those who are already developers, it never hurts to take the occasional course to stay abreast of all the developments (pun intended!) in a rapidly growing industry.

Joseph Downs
In-house UX copy-slinger, foodie and classic motoring enthusiast