A few years ago, it would be unheard of for a school to confer an online Master's in Mobile Development. Applications are a relatively new product in America and have only been in mainstream use for about a decade. Now they are how many people work, connect with others, and even relax.
When mobile applications began to take root in society, professionals were generally self-taught or came out of undergraduate software engineering or computer science programs. Now, however, schools are providing online programs that will fit the needs of these professionals. With flexible schedules and affordable rates, there has never been a better time to look at graduate online degrees in mobile development.
This ranking was created by utilizing the College Navigator database, which can be found on the National Center for Education Statistics website. Out of an initial pool of 25 schools, 10 were picked for their affordable tuition. They are listed below in descending order based on in-state graduate tuition rates.
Ranking Low-cost Mobile Development Master's
10. Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Online Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT)
Nova Southeastern University offers the MSIT, which is an alternate Master's in Mobile Development that will be of great benefit to professionals. It is an advanced professional degree that is open to students who have an accredited bachelor's degree in a relevant field. This program is conferred entirely online through asynchronous courses and a 16-week term schedule; it can be completed in as little as 16 months. There are three concentrations available with this degree: Application Development, Database, and System Administration Concentration. These concentrations all come with their specific capstone projects and will help a student specialize in their desired field. Students will be expected to complete 36 credit hours of coursework as well as a capstone project and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Mobile Application in iOS, Web Services, and Platform and Network Technologies.
9. Northcentral University
San Diego, California
Online Master of Science in Information Technology
The Master's in Mobile Development online degree at Northcentral University comes in the form of the MSIT, a degree that provides students with an advanced understanding of how current technology concepts and tools work in the real world. This degree is conferred 100 percent online with asynchronous courses and can be completed in as little as 23 months; there are start dates every week and students are taught in a one-to-one format. The curriculum was designed by industry professionals in order to ensure that students are taught to current industry standards. The program is also designed to allow students to specialize in different areas, including mobile development. Students will be expected to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Computer Networks and Mobile Computing, Systems Analysis and Design, and Databases and Business Intelligence.
8. Full Sail University
Winter Park, Florida
Online Master of Science in Mobile Gaming
Full Sail University has one of the country's first online Master's in Mobile Development that focuses on mobile gaming. This is an advanced, experiential-based professional degree that teaches students everything they need to know about creative mobile game design. The program focuses on building a student's understanding of mobile game design and uses research papers and other projects to teach those concepts and theories in a real world scenario. This is a fully online degree that takes 12 months to complete; courses are taught by working professionals and delivered in the asynchronous format. Students will complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a research paper, a thesis, and a comprehensive exam; they will also build their own playable mobile game. Sample courses include Storyboard and Game Design, Approaches to Game Design, and Game Development Frameworks.
7. University of Massachusetts at Lowell
Online Master's in Information Technology
The mobile development master's online degree from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell is built to advance a working professional's understanding of how the systems that make mobile development work. The program has a special focus on large-scale application deployment and development as well as managing virtual systems, making it a great choice for mobile development professionals. This is a 100 percent online degree that can also lead students to earn certificates in Systems Models and Management and Network Security while completing the requirements for graduation. Students in the states of Arkansas, Kansas and Minnesota are not eligible to apply for this degree. Courses are taught in an asynchronous format on an eight-week term schedule. Students will be expected to complete 30 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Database Architecture and Design, Mobile Computing, and Cloud Computing.
6. University of Cincinnati
Online Master of Science in Information Technology
A great online mobile development master's degree option for students is the Master of Science in Information Technology from the University of Cincinnati. This program was built for working professionals who are already in the field; students with no previous work or educational experience in computer science or a related field are not eligible to apply. Students will be able to choose from a variety of specializations, including Game Development, Mobile Development, and IT Infrastructure. Courses are available in an asynchronous format and are delivered in the eight-week format. The curriculum is also structured to give students as much freedom to design their curriculum the way they see fit; over half of the required credit hours come from electives. Students will find that they must complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project or thesis, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Information Technology Graduate Seminar, Information Technology Research Methods, and Human Computer Interaction and Usability.
5. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Online Master of Science in Information Technology
Tuition: $959/credit hour (information provided by the University)
The MSIT program from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is a combination degree and certificate program that provides students with a curriculum developed and taught by leading industry professionals. This degree is delivered 100 percent online through asynchronous courses on a 16-week format. Students will be supported by a 24/7 tech support team, access to an online bookstore and library, and online tutoring sessions should they require them. The program requires 21 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Introduction to Advanced Mobile Development, Software Development, and Decision Support Systems.
4. University of Michigan at Dearborn
Online Master of Science in Software Engineering
The online Master's of Mobile Development at the University of Michigan at Dearborn is delivered as the Master of Science in Software Engineering. This is an interdisciplinary graduate program that teaches students how to build software from the ground up. The curriculum comes with two tracks: Project and Thesis. Students interested in an academic career should choose the thesis option while professionals who want to be practicing professionals should opt for the project option. All courses are delivered in an asynchronous format and are taught by working professionals and industry experts. There are a variety of specializations, including Mobile and Cloud Computing, Game Engineering, and Data Engineering and Analytics. Students will be expected to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Multimedia Design Tools, Game Design and Implementation, and Software User Interface and Design.
3. Florida State University
Online Master of Science in Information Technology
Florida State University provides a cheap mobile development master's degree that will build up a professional's understanding of information systems and mobile development. This is an advanced professional degree that requires students have a basic understanding of the various disciplines of information technology. There are five specializations available; they include User-Centered Design, Web Design, and Technology and Networking. This degree is conferred entirely online with the help of asynchronous courses and the utilization of the eight-week format. Students can complete all the requirements for this degree in less than two years; there is a seven-year time limit on completing the requirements for graduation. This program requires 32 credit hours of coursework, including Digital Media: Concepts and Production, Advanced Web Applications, and Mobile Application Development.
2. San Jose State University
San Jose, California
Online Master of Science in Software Engineering, Mobile Computing Applications Emphasis
An online Master's in Mobile development can be earned at San Jose State University. This is a program that is built for working professionals who wish to transition into mobile development. The degree focuses on software engineering for mobile operating systems as well as how to build and maintain these applications. This is a 100 percent online degree with asynchronous courses delivered in eight-week terms. The emphasis in mobile computing applications enables students to use experiential learning to expand their understanding of the field, all while bearing in mind the greater impact the field has on software engineering. Students will be expected to complete 33 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Advanced Mobile Application Concepts and Theories, Mobile Application Development, and Database Design and Structure.
1. Georgia Southern University
Online Master of Science in Computer Science
Georgia Southern University offers students an exceptional alternative to an online master's in mobile development. The Master of Science in Computer Science can be taken either as a hybrid or 100 percent online program, allowing students from all over the country to earn their graduate degree. The MSCS can be completed in 24 months with full-time study and comes with three concentrations: Data Mining, Data Warehousing, and Distributed Database Systems. It was designed specifically for students with previous educational experience in computer science or a related field; students with a background in another area can also apply but will subjected to completing prerequisite courses prior to beginning the program. Students will be expected to complete 30 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Introduction to Advanced Computer Science, Mobile and Cloud Computing, and Database Distribution and Systems.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Career Options for an Online Master's in Mobile Development Degree?
An online Master's in Mobile Development opens up a variety of career options. Professionals will find that companies are interested in offering positions to them based on their education alone. In fact, many companies will also offer a signing bonus for professionals with the right set of skills.
Those who are interested in this degree will see these career options pop up time and again:
- Mobile Developer
- iOS Mobile Applications Developer
- Software Engineer
- Android Mobile Applications Developer
- Software Engineer
- Senior Developer
- Mobile Developer Specialist
- Mobile Developer Analyst
- Freelance Mobile Developer
Professionals can work in every industry in both the public and private sector in the United States. Every facet of life can be found on the internet and in smartphones, so the possibilities for a mobile developer are endless.
How Much Can You Earn in this Field?
The average salary range for a mobile developer is between $70,000 and $135,000. This career also offers additional cash compensation in the form of stocks or bonuses that are delivered quarterly or annually. Salaries depend on whether a developer works for themselves, is employed by a large company, and the region in the country in which they work.
Specialization plays a large role in how much a professional makes in this field. Those that specialize by operating system tend to make around $100,000, while software developers earn $80,000 a year. Software engineers who specialize in mobile development make the most money, often earning around $150,000 a year.
A note to professionals who have decided to venture out on their own and create their own web applications: monthly revenue can fluctuate, but top developers make around $5,000 a month. The types of mobile applications that earn the most money are games and social network; games are much more popular and often make the most money. If professionals are working freelance, then they must consider which apps make the most money in order to earn a viable salary.
What are the Various Disciplines of Mobile Development?
Mobile development consists of creating and implementing mobile applications for use on handheld devices. It is a STEM discipline that requires a knowledge of science, technology, computer science, engineering, psychology, sociology, software development, and database architecture and structure.
Many people might find it strange that psychology and sociology are listed as disciplines. These disciplines are listed because mobile applications are built for human use. The psychology of how people interact with technology, and the sociology of how a society interacts with the internet and mobile devices, is one of the largest factors that dictate mobile development.
There are other disciplines that factor into mobile development. Business plays a large role, as many applications are built for financial means. So too does the law, as mobile development is subjected to the rules and regulations of countries in order to defend against abuse and other criminal issues.
Why Earn a Degree in Mobile Development When Most Professionals are Self-taught?
It is true that when mobile applications first became popular, many of the professionals in the field were self-taught in the field. That is because the field was brand new and a proper education was not possible. A decade later, it is important to at least consider an online master's in mobile development for a few reasons.
The first reason is that it is not a coincidence that the same people developing mobile applications are those who went to college to earn degrees in software engineering and computer science. That's because mobile development is quite complex. Many people mistake the influx of various websites and programs that help people build their own applications as a reason that it is simple; they don't seem to understand that the programs themselves are mobile applications and were probably built by someone with a graduate degree in the field.
The second reason is that there is now a standard for mobile development. The types of programming languages used, the operating systems, and even consumer interactivity now have a base level standard of acceptance. It is difficult to build an application that does not meet these standards and so many professionals choose to pursue graduate education in order to meet those standards.
The third, and perhaps the most important, reason is simple: mobile development is constantly changing. With technology advancing at an exponential rate, it is difficult to keep up if a professional does not have a full understanding of advanced concepts in software engineering, computer science, and mobile computing. A graduate degree can help with that foundation and may provide professionals with creative ideas they may not have come to on their own.
What are Some Requirements to Apply for This Graduate Program?
Graduate programs, especially those in the computer science field, are advanced degrees that build on both undergraduate education and work experience. This is because programs in this field were designed for working professionals and builds on the knowledge that they already have. There are some requirements that are necessary for acceptance and they are discussed below.
As many of the programs that offer a concentration in mobile development are advanced information technology, software engineering or computer science, one of the first requirements is generally a strong undergraduate foundation in computer science, math, and engineering. These degrees must come from a regionally accredited institution and transcripts are required. It is rare that a student with a unaccredited degree is given conditional acceptance in these programs.
Work experience is often cited by programs as a requirement but it less important than having an accredited undergraduate degree. Most schools will state they have a preference for work experience but make an exception for students who are entering graduate school straight after graduating with a bachelor's degree. The usual requirement for work experience is at least one year.
This is not to say that students who come from another background are ineligible to apply, because many programs do offer conditional placement. These students will be required to complete various prerequisite courses before beginning the graduate program. These courses are often noncredit and do not count towards the requirement for the degree.
Another requirement, which seems to be less important in terms of consideration, is the submission of GRE and GMAT scores. While many schools require them as a matter of formality, it is rare that the scores affect a student's ability to enter the program. In fact, a rising number of schools, including many on this ranking, do not require the scores at all.
As society continues to rely on smartphones and tablets to do more things, such as play games, work, or even pay bills, the need for mobile developers will rise. Now that online degrees are available in this specialized field, it's becoming easier than ever for professionals to prepare themselves for this exciting field. Anyone interested in creating applications for mobile use should take a look at these affordable online Master's in Mobile Development.