Mobile app developer salary guide | ZDNet

Mobile application development involves the creation of applications for mobile devices like smartphones and tablet computers. Mobile app development salaries reflect the need for skilled developers in the evolving field.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects more than 400,000 new jobs in software development by 2030. Computer systems design companies hire the highest number of software developers in the United States, while manufacturers and software publishers round out the top three employers. 

Read on to learn about opportunities in mobile app development — and what they pay.

Mobile app developer jobs 

Mobile app developers create software for three types of mobile apps: Native, web, and hybrid. 

Native applications are downloaded from an application store and developed for a specific platform (e.g., Android). Web apps bring websites to your mobile device, while hybrid apps incorporate elements of native and web application functions.

Subcategories include:

  • iOS developer
  • Android developer
  • Windows phone app developer
  • Web app developer (online forms, spreadsheets, email programs)
  • Hybrid app developer (Uber, Twitter, Instagram)

Mobile app developers may take on specific aspects of the development process rather than designing and creating an entire app from beginning to end. You might handle user interface design while a colleague brings your ideas to life through code.

Mobile app developer jobs vary by type, location, and experience level. Here are some positions available to mobile app developers. 

Mobile developer

Minimum degree required: Bachelor’s degree
Alternate job titles: Mobile app developer, application software developer, mobile application engineer
Important skills: Analytical and creative, programming abilities, math and computer science proficiency, detail-oriented, ability to work as part of a team

Mobile developers create and develop applications for mobile devices. They also troubleshoot and fix bugs. 

App developers need to know coding languages like C++, Java, and Flash. You can pick up these skills through an undergraduate computer programming degree or mobile app development bootcamp.

Mobile app developers collaborate with artists, designers, and creators but spend significant time working independently. 

According to PayScale, the average base salary for mobile app developers in April 2022 was $74,800.

Programmer

Minimum degree required: Bachelor’s degree
Alternate job titles: Game engine programmer, computer programmer, coder
Important skills: Individuals skilled in mathematics and computer science, knowledge of programming languages, analytical and detail-oriented

Computer programmers write and test code for use in computer and application software. They also update existing code for simplicity and efficiency. 

They may specialize in a specific type of computer programming but generally need to be able to adapt their code for multiple platforms. 

Computer programmers earned median salaries of $89,190 in May 2020. 

UX/UI designer

Minimum degree required: High school diploma
Alternate job titles: User experience designer, user interface designer, backend UX/UI designer
Important skills: Knowledge of computer hardware and software; experience with CSS, HTML, computer-aided drafting, and Adobe; collaborative abilities; creativity

Tasked with optimizing the user experience and user interface, respectively, UX/UI designers create and maintain the design of an online product. UX designers focus on ensuring the product meets users’ needs and accessibility requirements, while UI designers emphasize visual design. 

Both roles require programming and strategic design skills, plus mastery of industry-specific tools. UX bootcamps help newcomers to the field master those skills.

UX designers earned average base salaries of $75,670 in March 2022. UI designers earned $78,500.

Software engineer

Minimum degree required: Bachelor’s degree
Alternate job titles: Software developer, computer software engineer, computer systems engineer
Important skills: Knowledge of programming languages like JavaScript, Python, and SAL; detail-oriented; interpersonal skills; able to work as part of a team

Software engineers develop and implement functions in computer and application software. They coordinate with programmers, coders, designers, and fellow engineers through the software design process to improve performance. Software engineers also test, troubleshoot, and update software as needed. 

Many hold a software engineering degree or a degree in a related major.

In March 2022, the average base salary for software engineers was $88,510, according to PayScale. 

Web developer

Minimum degree required: Bachelor’s degree
Alternate job titles: Back-end web developer, front-end web developer, webmaster 
Important skills: Knowledge of HTML and CSS, multimedia publishing tools, and web design; programming acumen; creativity; attention to detail

Web developers create, oversee, and update websites. Whether responsible for server communication as back-end developers, for interfaces on the front-end, or both, web developers handle a site’s look and function.

Web developers often meet with clients, team members, and fellow developers — making this an appealing tech job for extroverts. These professionals benefit from knowing how to create and use graphics, audio, and video content.

The BLS reported in May 2020 that web developers earned median salaries of $77,200.

Mobile app developer salaries 

Payscale indicates mobile app developers can nearly double their earnings during a 20-year career in the role, from $61,000 to $120,000 (on average).

Factors that influence mobile app salaries include:

  • Education level
  • Employer size and industry
  • Industry certifications
  • Years of experience
  • Additional training
  • Location 

A software engineering degree or one in a related field may help you secure a job in mobile app development. 

Advancing your tech career through bootcamps and the best tech certifications can also make you more marketable. 

Highest paying states for mobile app developers

The coasts house top-paying states for mobile app developers. California is home to five of the top ten highest-paying cities for developers.

While California and New York offer top wages, they also rank among the top five highest cost-of-living states.

Location

Annual mean wage

Washington

$138,400

California

$137,620

New York

$122,300

Massachusetts

$119,790

Washington, D.C.

$119,630

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Unless otherwise noted, salary and job growth data were drawn from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as of April 18, 2022.

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