A rapid application developer follows a method for software development that can greatly reduce the time it takes to create the final product. He or she aims to meet a program's requirements within two or three months and may make compromises to reduce the time it takes to create the program. The rapid development process typically involves the creation of a prototype and has the advantage that customers can get a picture of the final program in the early development stages. To become a rapid application developer, you typically need a college degree similar to that of a general application programmer, experience with rapid application development (RAD) and overall experience as a software developer.
Many employers hiring rapid application developers prefer that candidates have a university degree in information technology, computer engineering, computer science or software design. The bare minimum degree to become a rapid application developer is typically a bachelor's degree, but you may need a master's degree for some positions in international companies. The degree program should include general courses in software design, networking and databases, and also should include courses in specific programming languages. There aren't many degrees that specialize in RAD, but your programming courses should at least introduce you to RAD and other application development methods.
To become a rapid application developer, you need to have skills in analyzing, designing, coding and maintaining applications. If your university degree did not provide a sufficient foundation in RAD, you can take additional courses or purchase computer books that provide instruction. You should find, however, that knowing how to design programs will make the process of learning RAD simpler. Additional skills required include the ability to work in teams, the ability to think quickly in a fast-paced programming environment, the ability to guide other team members and a willingness to continuously learn new skills. As companies add new programmers to teams, you may have to learn additional programming languages, as well.
Rapid application developers typically begin their careers as general application programmers in a company and may eventually be promoted to leadership positions. The amount of experience needed to become a rapid application developer can range from three to five years. The reason for this experience requirement is that RAD requires a programmer who has demonstrated that he or she can create high-quality programs efficiently and effectively. You also may find yourself exposed to the RAD method in entry-level programming positions.