Mobile App Developer Statistics Roundup

Artyom Dogtiev

In App Development. January 20, 2016

App development is a crucial component of a mobile ecosystem. Over the last eight years, app developer profession is being in a great demand and growing really fast. Mobile apps have become one of the staples of a global economy and, after its tremendous success with smartphones, they actively conquer the next frontier – the Internet of Things platform that has a lot of applications such as wearables, smart car, smart home and various smart sensors that collect, proceed and transmit data.

Of course people are in the heart of the app development and their skills, programming language they use to develop apps and how much they are paid for their work define apps quality they produce. We’ve put together the number of stats to present you a comprehensive picture of a mobile app developer job of today.

Key App Developer Statistics:

  • Total number of software developers globally – 19M
  • Total number of mobile app developers globally – 8.7M
  • Region with the greatest number of developers – Asia (760k)
  • 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)

The following graphs illustrate in details the app developer profession and answer questions like – how many of them are in there world, what software platforms do they prefer to develop for, where are they located and how much money do they make.

Total Number of Mobile App Developers by Region

app_developers_by_region

Source: VisionMobile

If we look at the geographical distribution of the app developer profession, we see Asia is number one. The fast economic growth in China, South Korea and other countries in the Asian region is partly fueled by a rapid communication technologies growth. It leads to the highest demand for a software for mobile devices, e.g. for mobile apps. As the famous economic law states “if there is a demand, there will be supply”, in 2013 the iOS platform alone had already more than 500k registered developers in China and this number rapidly grows year-over-year.

App Developers by Location, Gender, Age and Platform

Click on the image to enlarge

Source: VisionMobile

Currently there are four major vectors in software development – mobile apps, desktop apps, Internet of Things and Cloud Services. It would be almost impossible to name a single product or service today that isn’t connected with one of more of these vectors. On the graph above you can see the average age of professional app developers and hobbyists that are involved with software projects in various regions of the world, as well as the gender split. Unfortunately the diversity question in the roam of software is as problematic as for any other branch of IT. In every world region more than 90% of software developers are males.

It’s interesting to note that although Asia does have the greatest number of mobile developers, 51% of the either develop app as their side project or treat it as a hobby. The youngest developers live in Africa and Asia, an average age of app developers in those regions is only 27 years.

Top App Developers

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Revenue Distribution among App Developers

revenue_distibution

Source: VisionMobile

Among six software platforms – iOS, HTML5 Mobile, Android. Blackberry 10, Windows 8 and Windows Phone, iOS has the highest percentage of developers that manage to have a top tier income but even for this platform they present less than 10% of the total number of developers. Across the board 50% and more of developers income is below the, so-called, app poverty line, meaning they make $500 profit with an app development a month or less. Windows Phone demonstrates the worst capacity for an income generation, close to 90% of developers that create apps for smartphones running Windows Phone generate less than $500 / month.

Business vs Consumer App Development

app_dev_consumer_vs_biz

Source: VisionMobile

When it comes to an opportunity to make a profit, business app development clearly presents higher potential for developers than consumer segment. According to the VisionMobile analyst company, 48% of mobile app developers make less than $500 a month that puts them under the app poverty line, for business app developers this number is only 32%. On the other end of the income spectrum, 16% of business app developers make more over $500k  a month, for consumer segment this number is only 6%.

iOS App Development Price Range by Location

Click on the image to enlarge

Source: Nine Hertz

An hour rate app developers charge in different countries directly correlates with a local state of economy. Among six regions, developers in North America charge the most – $150 an hour, with a price range from $10 to $250 an hour. On the cheapest end is India, with an average price range is only $30 an hour and a price range from $10 to $77 an hour.

Android App Development Price Range by Location

Click on the image to enlarge

Source: Nine Hertz

North America tops other regions for an Android app development pricing as well, with $168 an hour on average, which is higher than iOS average pricing. The difference in pricing between these can be explained by the fact that Android developers need to test apps for a greater number of different size screens and it tends to increase app development cost. The lowest end of Android app development pricing holds India as well, with a slightly lower average pricing, which is only $26 an hour.

App Development Jobs by Platform, by Country

Android vs iOS by region

Source: Trovit

The app development job market is still dominated by iOS and Android and this duopoly isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s interesting to note that the percentage split for these platforms in various countries draws slightly different picture than the platforms popularity with apps end users. In particular, in terms of adoption Android is way more popular than iOS in India, because Apple has very modest presence in this country. When we look at the data for a number of iOS app development jobs, the situation is different – the number of app jobs opportunities for Android in India is on par with iOS. The Top 5 countries with the most Android and iOS development jobs consists of US, India, Australia, UK and France.

The Most Popular Programming Languages

Programming Languages Popularity

Source: StackOverflow

StackOverflow – the most popular community of software developers, with about 5 million users, provides a unique way to measure popularity of programming languages. The graph above presents the data, pulled from its forum in April, 2015, that represents the number of different tags associated with specific programming languages. Java, the programming language that powers Android OS, is number two in popularity and Objective-C, the language to develop iOS apps with, is on the last position. Introduced in summer of 2014 Apple’s own Swift language is absent on this chart. It goes to show that, even though its popularity grows fast, it’s not on par in terms of adoption with languages that power mobile app development yet.

Final Thoughts

Mobile app development is both very promising and challenging branch of a mobile industry. The consumer segment has reached its saturation point and currently business app development presents more opportunities for app developers. Among all mobile platforms iOS continues to be the most profitable and Android gives the broadest reach for app developers. Internet of Things (IoT) is the next frontier for app developer to progress into, as of today the majority of app developers see IoT as a hobby, not as a new opportunity for a business and make a profit with.