All those games, utilities and apps on your mobile phone are owing to the creative and technical prowess of mobile applications developers. Sometimes referred to as simply mobile developers, these IT professionals design, test and develop software for handheld devices. Employers typically seek candidates with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering or a related field, but experience in computer programming is really your best opportunity to land the job.
In 2012, software applications developers earned an average of $93,280 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The top 10 percent of earners made more than $138,880, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $55,190 annually. But none of these figures reflect the type of application. A survey by Robert Half Technology, a national IT recruiter, found that mobile application developers earned anywhere from $92,750 to $133,500 a year in 2013.
Being a highly technical career, employers often seek candidates with specific skills, and are willing to pay more for their knowledge. For example, developers with SharePoint experience, a software platform for file sharing, can earn an additional 12 percent per year, notes Robert Half Technology. With SharePoint skills, a mobile app developer is now looking at a salary range of $103,880 to $149,520. Those with Java development, PHP development or C# development skills can add an additional 9 percent to their earnings. These skills can increase salaries to $101,098 to $145,515 a year. Linux, Apache, MySQL and Python, as well as .NET development and SAP development, can improve earnings by 8 percent a year.
As with any job, location affects earnings, and mobile developers are no exception. According to Robert Half Technology, developers working in Colorado Springs earn almost 10 percent less than the national average, dropping salaries for mobile applications developers from $83,939 to $120,818. Those in Atlanta earn 5 percent more, bringing salaries for mobile applications developers up to $97,388 to $140,175. Those in Miami, Florida, also fare better than average, earning almost 7 percent higher salaries.
The BLS expects employment for applications developers to grow by 28 percent through 2020. This is twice as fast as the national average for all U.S. occupations, an estimated 14 percent. Consumers are constantly seeking new software, and with the increased reliance on handheld devices, mobile technology requires new applications, adds the BLS. Candidates with the most up-to-date programming knowledge should see the best prospects.