The desire to attain technical skills is spreading like wildfire beyond the confines of engineering and IT, to unexpected verticals such as marketing, event planning, education… apparently, even to the army.

People want to learn more about technology and how coding apps actually works.  Having some level of technical familiarity is one thing; however, some have even gone so far as to learn code and build their own apps.

But what’s the quality of these apps built by self-taught coders? On first thought you may assume they are probably poorly developed. However, many first-time, self-taught app developers that utilize the right tools have seen app success.

Dani Fankhauser, in Mashable, recently pulled apps built by self-taught coders. We’ve taken Fankhauser’s findings a step further and compared these apps to Applause data to gauge what level of quality users think these “first-timer” apps are. You may be surprised at the data:


According to Mashable, the health and fitness app providing randomized circuit training workouts, Sworkit, was built by army officer Ryan Hanna as a project to help him learn programming. Little did Hanna know that his ‘project’ would become a widely popular app.

With an iOS overall Applause score of 89, Sworkit for Apple is highly regarded by users. User reviews mention high user satisfaction, good performance and a near-seamless user experience.   Only slightly lower than iOS, Sworkit for Android receives an overall Applause score of 74. With high reviews for usability, users seem to be mostly satisfied with the app’s quality.

My Personal Trainer (w/ Reminders)

After learning to code Jordan Garn built not one, but three iOS apps according to Mashable. These apps are all paid, and Garn earns $2,000/month from sales. My Personal Trainer, one of the three, helps users create exercise and diet plans.

According to Applause, My Personal Trainer is reviewed well by users with an overall Applause Score of 81. The app demonstrates high user satisfaction, and despite being a paid app, users also mention excellent pricing in App Store reviews.

Habit Builder

The second app built by Garn, Habit Builder, allows you to easily create positive habits and then track your progress on those goals. Habit Builder, with an Applause score of 75, ranks high in usability and performance.


Garn’s third app, iReminder, receives the highest Applause score of his three apps – 84. With usability as iReminder’s highest attribute, the only real area for improvement (as indicated by users) would be app stability.

So the answer is yes – self-taught developers can create quality apps. Still, it’s important to note that although these developers were not experienced, they likely attained success through utilizing testing services and monitoring their apps metrics after launch to ensure quality. All of them also used educational tools to teach themselves coding. Garn learned to code through Treehouse, an educational web and mobile coding site. In turn, Hanna learned to code through Codeacademy.

Did you teach yourself to code? If so, what tools did you use? Let us know in the comments section.