The average app developer salary is $97k

Mobile app developer is one of the top jobs in the IT industry, the app development market is growing rapidly — there are about 9 million app developers in the world but demand for their skills is increasing all the time. How much money app developers make is one of the major factors that define a specific platform attractiveness for talent. Additionally, app developer salary levels is one of the important app product development constituents for going-mobile-businesses to be aware of. For tens of thousands college graduates, who are at the point when they decide on what kind of job to search for, information about mobile app developer salary is often the thing that invites them into the industry. That’s why we’ve decided to put together in this article the best available information.

These are the key figures to give you a quick snapshot of a mobile application developer salary in 2016.

Key App Developer Salary Statistics:

  • Mobile Application Developer Salary in 2016 — $97K
  • iOS Application Developer Salary in 2016 — $105K
  • Android Application Developer Salary in 2016 — $117K
  • The highest average iOS app developer hourly rate — $150 (North America), the lowest — $30 (India)
  • The highest average Android app developer hourly rate — $168 (North America), the lowest — $26 (India)

An overall app development revenue isn’t distributed evenly among app developers, but this is not to say that the bulk of it has been concentred among a few — there is a middle class. The 2015 app developers survey, conducted by Visionmobile analyst company among more than 8,000 developers worldwide, reveals the following picture — 52% of app developers made less than $1,000 a month. The biggest segment of the revenue pie (24%) is occupied by companies and individuals who made from $1 to $10k a month and only 5% generated $500k or more monthly.

Total Monthly Developer Revenues

Source: Visionmobile

When we analyze statistics for mobile app development revenue distribution, we need to remember that, let’s say, $1,000 dollars in one country is well above a middle level salary but in the other — you can barely pay your bills with this amount of money. Hence the following graph that demonstrates monthly revenue by region. Among all regions, the biggest percentage of app developers who make less than $100 a month are located in Oceania region — 45%, the least are in Middle East and Africa — 30%. The biggest percentage of the opposite end of the spectrum, app developers who make $100k a month and more, are in North America — 13% and the least are in Eastern Europe, Russia and former CIS — 5%. The percentage for the “middle class”, app developers who make from $1 to $100k a month, in different regions is the following. Eastern Europe, Russia present the biggest percentage of app developers in this category — 49%, North America is on the opposite end with only 35%.

Monthly Revenues by Region

Source: Visionmobile

Now let’s look at the app development prices that developers charge in different world regions. The highest hourly rate for iOS app development is in North America — $150 a month, the lowest is in India — $30 a month. Each region has its own app development hourly pricing range and it reflects a local state of economy, level of development skills and competition among app developers is factored in as well.

iOS App Development Price Range by Location

Source: Nine Hertz

For Android app development we can see a similar pattern, with slightly different rates. US holds the premium pricing rate as well — $168 an hour and India is on the opposite end of the pricing scale — $26 an hour. The difference in pricing between iOS and Android mirrors the difference between these mobile platforms in general. The possible reason for the Android premium hourly rate to be higher than the iOS one is that it’s harder to develop for this platform because of its fragmentation. Android app developers need to test app they develop for more smartphone and tablet screen sizes and various hardware requirements in general. The hourly rate for Android development in India is less than its iOS counterpart because Android platform is much more widespread in this country and hence greater number of developers to compete with each other.

Android App Development Price Range by Location

Source: Nine Hertz

Another dimension we should look at is information technology jobs in general and how mobile apps developer one stacks up against the others. The January of this year data from puts Mobile Apps Developer job on the 4-th position, behind Data Scientist, Big Data Engineer and UX Specialist. It needs to be pointed out that the Mobile Apps Developer salary figure on the graph represents an average compensation for mobile app development. An average salary for a Lead Mobile Application Developer is higher and in 2016 it is $138k a year.

US IT Average Annual Salaries in 2016, in thousands


Next up is the chart that compares app developers monthly revenue from a primary platform. 39% of mobile app developers that focus on iOS make $5k and up a month, the Mobile Browser platform comes second with 29% and Android only third with 19%. Windows 8 and Windows Phone platform demonstrate the highest percentage (71% and 72% respectively) of mobile app developers that make $500 or less revenue monthly. Given its current desperate state, BlackBerry 10 surprisingly has 38% of its developers still making $500+ a month, which goes to show that the platform isn’t dead yet.

Monthly Revenues from Primary Platform

Source: Visionmobile

Mobile application platforms have a different market share and this difference impacts how much developers are being paid for their work. Android and Windows Phone platform are the most well paid ones, with an average annual salary equal to $117k. iOS is number two, with $105k app developers average annual salary. On the face value, these numbers contradict to how much revenue each of these platforms generate. But when we take a deeper look, we see that higher Android and Windows Phone salaries can be explained by their higher level of fragmentation and hence higher development complexity developers have to deal with.

US Top 5 Mobile App Platform Annual Salaries in 2016, in thousands


Final Thoughts

Mobile app developer is among the most well-paid jobs in IT industry, a developer salary depends on development platform, location, as well as skills. Even though iOS mobile platform demonstrates the highest opportunity to generate revenue, Android and Windows platforms provide a higher salary and should be considered as an option. The best strategy for picking up a mobile app platform to develop for is choosing multiple platforms. By developing for multiple platforms simultaneously you can be less dependent on a specific platform revenue potential. Given the caliber of the companies that maintain and develop mobile platforms, such as Apple, Google and Microsoft, it’s obvious that mobile app developer job will continue to be lucrative.

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