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Have an App Idea But Don’t Know Code? Here’s An Action Plan

College Treps

Editor's Note: College Treps is a weekly column that puts the spotlight on college and graduate school-based entrepreneurs, as they tackle the tough task of starting up and going to school. Follow their daily struggles and this column on Twitter with the hashtag #CollegeTreps.

Have an App Idea But Don’t Know Code? Here’s An Action Plan

If you're anything like me, you have ideas for new mobile apps all the time. For me, it's a weekly occurrence.

During my second semester last year I came up with the concept for an app to help people find the latest happy-hour specials and nightlife events within their social circle. The only problem: I had never written a line of code in my life.

As a college senior majoring in accounting, let's just say developing a nightlife app was a tall task. But I managed to make it happen anyway in just five short months. Of course, I learned quite a few things along the way.

Here are my top four tips for making your app idea a reality -- with no computer programming experience necessary:

1. Share your passion. Tell other students and faculty on campus of your plans. They might know someone who can help develop your app. I found that since engineering students take computer-science classes they were particularly helpful in steering me in the right direction. When others saw the passion I had to create this app, they were eager to help me do it. Other people will feed off your excitement and become motivated to work with you.

Related: Apple and the Kid App Maker Revolution

2. Get serious about networking. Try to sit down and meet with as many new people as you can. I tried to setup at least two or three meetings a week with developers and others I thought could help me achieve my goal. My professor actually suggested I attend local startup events around San Diego. There, I met experienced people in the industry that were able to give me invaluable feedback on my idea.

3. Consider outsourcing. When I signed up for an online venture lab course through Stanford University I started to make great contacts with programmers in the course from other countries. I was able to reach out to a few of them and we got to work right away.

Though it wasn’t perfect, in the end I had a completed app and, more important, a jumping off point for creating future apps. Outsourcing has its logistic challenges, but it might be a viable way to build your first app.

Related: Starting Up While Still in School? 5 Tips for Staying Sane

4. Completed is better than perfect. I experienced a fairly large learning curve in developing my first app, but the product turned out pretty well. I received a lot of positive feedback. Though the app had some flaws, I was able to prove to myself -- and to the rest of the world -- that I was legitimately on to something. The process even helped inspire my then potential partner to go into business with me.

The beauty of developing software is that it can always be improved, so don’t get frustrated if the first version of your app is not what you expected. At least you built a workable app, and that speaks for itself.

How did you develop your app? Share your story/tips in the comments section below.

**Apply Now** Are you an enthusiastic college- or graduate-student entrepreneur, eager to share your on-campus experiences? Apply to be a YoungEntrepreneur.com College Treps columnist.

The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.

Will Caldwell is currently a senior majoring in accounting at the University of San Diego. He's the founder of Rivolix, a mobile real-estate tech company focused on property management, MLS/IDX integration and residential realtors.

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