Teens Can Learn and Earn Building Apps

By Phill Powell

Let’s face it – most jobs open to teenagers are kind of menial. (Hey, you’ve got to start someplace, right?) And for many teens, part-time employment after school involves flipping burgers, babysitting kids or working in some type of retail.

Everybody uses apps and websites now. Have you ever thought about making money from that?

There’s nothing wrong with these jobs, but their rewards are pretty limited. Especially when you hear how some young people are using technology to get ahead…quickly.

Check out these teen tycoons, who each made a mint developing apps and websites, while they were still young:


  • Nick D’Aloisio was an ordinary London teen until he started creating apps. Two years ago, Nick D’Aloisio sold his app Summly to Yahoo! Inc. for an estimated $30 million.
  • Juliette Brindak dreamed up the characters “Miss O and Friends” when 10 years old. By 2005 (when only 16), it was a website that had spawned a book empire. Estimated 2008 company value: $15 million.
  • John Magennis got into web design in the ’90s, when 14. Within two years, his fee commanded up to $30,000 per site design. A millionaire at 16, he’s now older, but still doing cool things as a TV producer (Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor).
  • Ashley Qualls started a website for Tweens, called whateverlife.com, at age 14. By 17, she was a millionaire. By age 23, she was receiving $15 million offers to buy her gem of an idea.
  • Adam Horwitz is another web designer who started young, once designing 30 sites in 3 years (when 15). He eventually came up with Mobile Monopoly, which teaches people how to make money generating mobile leads. By 18, he had become a millionaire.

And it’s not just about the money, either. Learning app development or web design is a fantastic way to channel your creativity and express yourself. The skills that are developed are useful, and often transferable to other science and math-based subjects.

Nick’s app Summly provides summaries of articles for people who get their news on their iPhones.


We’re not trying to imply there’s an automatic link between making apps or websites and striking it rich. Obviously, a lot of factors are involved in making a success – such as drive, personal creativity and inventiveness. Big dreams usually only happen when they get a big push from the players involved.

But that doesn’t change the fact that for the teens listed in this article, the dream of hitting it big in app development can come true…because it did.

It also doesn’t alter the reality that a much wider group of today’s teens can and will work in rewarding careers in app development and web design, perhaps going on to lead their own start-up companies.

The dream is as real as you believe it can be. If you take it seriously enough, you can make it happen.

But first you have to know how to harness the awesome power of app development.

Parents like DMA app development tech camps because they know their kid is learning useful skills.


If you’re interested in designing cutting-edge apps for today’s mobile devices, Digital Media Academy can help you develop your talent. We have amazingly cool tech camp locations on great college campuses across North America, and we offer app dev courses for teens ages 12 to 17.

Students in our App Development for iPhone® & iPad® camp learn how to work with Apple’s iOS software development kit, as well as gain valuable exposure to XCode®, Interface Builder and Apple’s new language, Swift™.

Discover how to create cool apps for Apple’s hugely popular line of iDevices, this coming summer at DMA!