Key Skills Pay Off in Fast-Evolving World of Mobile App Development

    Some basic training is essential to mobile app development and some universities such as San Diego State and Full Sail University are offering degrees and certificates in it, according to an infographic at

    Demand for mobile app developers only continues to increase.  By 2015, Gartner predicts, mobile app development projects will outnumber PC application projects by 4 to 1, it says.

    But platforms and languages change quickly in this area — after all, the iPhone and its iOS operating system are just five years old. Even if completing a college degree program in mobile app development, that person will have to do plenty of self-study to keep up as technology changes over the course of his or her career.

    Though many people develop apps on their own, creating apps for a business employer seems to be a far more stable career path. In a survey of independent developers by marketing company App Promo, 59 percent said their apps didn’t break even on the development costs and 80 percent said their apps don’t generate enough income to support a standalone business. In fact, 68 percent said their most successful app generated $5,000 or less, Mashable reports.

    The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics put the average annual salary for software developers in 2011 at $89,280, though that’s not specific to mobile app development.

    But the shortage of talent in mobile apps means those with key skills can pretty much set their own salaries. I’ve written before that companies are being forced to boost wages, retrain software engineers, outsource work to third-party developers and set up offshore development labs to meet demand.

    And if you want to go at it solo? Staffing firm RecruitWise says that contract mobile app developers make $80 to $100 an hour, a story from Knoxville, Tenn., TV station WBIR reports.

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