Mobile developers use programming and software development skills to create applications for mobile devices.
The latest devices and applications are changing how we communicate, do business, and access news and entertainment. Businesses, consumers, programmers, and creatives have embraced this innovative medium, making mobile application developer one of today's best computer jobs.
- The top 2 mobile platforms are Apple iOS and Google Android, accounting for 99% of the U.S. market share. iOS currently sits at 57%, with Android at 42%.
- The typical education requirement for mobile developers is a bachelor’s in software engineering, computer science, or a related field. Targeted mobile development courses are also available.
- Mobile application developer employment will grow 26% over the next decade, much faster than the 3% growth for all occupations.
- The average salary for mobile application developers is $133,000.
Mobile developers write programs inside a mobile development environment using Objective-C, C#, C++, Java, Swift, or Kotlin programming languages. A mobile application developer chooses the operating system (a.k.a. mobile platform) they will create an app for, such as Android or iOS, then uses the programming languages and development environment for that platform.
Google Android and Apple iOS are the leading mobile platforms, each with its core languages and development environment:
|Java & Kotlin
|Objective-C & Swift
|Apple Devices Only
As of Q4 2023, iOS and Android dominate the market (combining for over 99% of the U.S. market share), making these platforms the best place to focus your mobile development training. Businesses typically develop mobile applications for both platforms simultaneously to maximize reach and return on investment. So, the more platforms you master, the more sought-after you become as a professional mobile application developer.
Numerous mobile application developer training programs feature coursework in app programming, mobile media design, app deployment, and marketing for the top platforms. Compare the top-rated mobile development degrees online.
a.k.a. Android App Developer | iPhone App Developer | Mobile Software Developer
Mobile Developer Skills & Responsibilities
Typical day-to-day duties and in-demand skill sets for mobile application developers include the following. Mobile developers:
- Are fluent in object-oriented programming languages such as Java, Objective-C, and C++.
- Know how to code, test, debug, monitor, and document changes for mobile applications.
- Use the leading cross-platform development tools, such as Xamarin, Flutter & React Native.
- Implement application programming interfaces (APIs) to support mobile functionality.
- Know the terminology, concepts, and best practices for coding mobile applications.
- Migrate and adapt existing web applications to the leading mobile platforms.
- Work closely with other departments to brainstorm and optimize deployments.
- Recommend changes and enhancements to existing mobile applications.
Mobile Application Developer Salary
The average salary for mobile application developers is $133,000 per year, according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
Here are the average salaries for mobile application developers and related positions:
|Mobile Development Career
|Junior Mobile Application Developer
|Android Application Developer
|iOS Application Developer
|Mobile Application Developer
|Senior Mobile App Developer
These are the top-paying cities and metropolitan areas for mobile developers:
|City or Metro Area
|Mobile Developer Salary
|San Jose / Sunnyvale / Santa Clara, CA
|San Francisco / Oakland / Hayward, CA
|Seattle / Tacoma / Bellevue, WA
|New York City Tri-State (NY-NJ-PA)
The hourly wage for mobile application developers varies widely - from $30 to over $100 per hour - depending on the mobile developer's location, portfolio, mastery of known platforms, and experience.
Mobile Developer Education Requirements
Most employers seek mobile application developers with at least a bachelor's degree in software engineering, mobile application development, computer science, or a similar field. Hiring managers for mobile development positions will also require a portfolio with samples of completed mobile applications and your best development projects. Mobile development degree programs satisfy these requirements with hands-on courses wherein students create various apps for the leading mobile platforms, plus specialized lessons on presenting yourself for mobile developer positions.
Research and compare the top-rated mobile development degrees online.
Mobile Developer Certifications
There are few mobile development certifications on the market. However, as this space matures, we should see an influx of platform-specific and vendor-neutral credentials. Currently, the top certifications for mobile application developers include:
- IBM Certified Mobile Application Developer
- Meta iOS Developer Pro Certificate
- Meta Android Developer Pro Certificate
- App Development with Swift Certification
I will update this list as new mobile development certifications launch.
Mobile Development Jobs
Your specialized experience and training in mobile application development may qualify you for a variety of positions, including:
- Mobile Application Developer jobs
- Android Application Developer jobs
- iOS Application Developer jobs
- Software Engineer jobs
- Java Application Developer jobs
- Objective-C Developer jobs
Mobile Developer Job Outlook
The mobile device market is growing at breakneck speeds, fueling record demand for mobile application developers. As smartphones, tablets, and wearables continue to permeate our lives, the need for new apps will rise as devices become more capable and many traditional businesses go mobile. The rapid growth of the space is creating a host of job opportunities for both internal and freelance developers.
According to IT hiring managers and recruiters, the demand for talented mobile application developers still exceeds the supply. Popular industries hiring mobile app developers include healthcare, game design studios, marketing firms, media producers, government organizations, financial institutions, and real estate agencies.
The job market for mobile application developers will skyrocket by 26% from 2022 through 2032, creating tens of thousands of new positions and heralding one of the decade's most significant increases for any occupation. The lion's share of job opportunities will be in Android and iOS app development, as these giants now represent 99% of mobile devices in the US.
Frequently Asked Questions
Tech insiders answer common questions from prospective mobile application developers.
What does a mobile application developer do?
Mobile application developers create software programs for wireless devices such as smartphones, tablets, and wearables.
What languages are mobile apps written in?
Mobile apps are written using a variety of programming languages, depending on which platform you’re developing for. For instance, Google Android apps are written in Java and Kotlin, while Apple iOS apps use Objective-C and Swift.
How much do mobile app developers make?
Mobile application developers take home a median annual wage of $133,000. Drilling deeper into mobile developer earnings by platform, iOS app developers earn an average salary of $122,000, while Android application developers bring in $115,000.
How do you become a mobile app developer?
Becoming a mobile developer consists of 3 main steps: getting educated, building a portfolio, and gaining experience.
- Education: Many mobile developer jobs require a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or a similar field. However, an increasing number of shorter online training programs and accelerated boot camps in mobile app development can be leveraged to secure a position.
- Portfolio: Building a robust portfolio of well-designed apps of different types will go a long way in your quest to become a mobile app developer. Many hiring managers will reduce their education and experience requirements - or even bypass them entirely - if you can prove real-world experience developing great applications.
- Experience: The most desirable mobile developer jobs often require previous experience in a similar role. Before becoming a mobile application developer, common positions include computer programmer, software engineer, and web developer.
Is mobile application development a good career?
Yes, mobile application development is an objectively good career path. The demand for new and innovative apps is so great that there is a significant talent gap in this field, meaning there are more mobile developer job openings than skilled creators to fill them. Add to this demand a six-figure salary and a relatively low education requirement, and pursuing a career in mobile development is a solid investment in your future.
Is it hard to become a mobile app developer?
Nothing worth doing is easy; however, there's a relatively low barrier to entry for becoming a mobile application developer versus the potential rewards. Some mobile developer jobs require a 4-year degree and practical experience, while a motivated individual with self-study and a stellar portfolio can attain other roles.
- Software Engineer
- Web Developer
- Computer Programmer
- Graphic Designer
- Video Game Designer
- Database Administrator