Mobile App Development: Hot Skill and Hard-to-Find Candidates

Starting salaries for mobile app developers are rising.

We all have our favorite mobile apps – whether practical, impractical, helpful or hilarious. Mine happens to be of the impractical and hilarious variety:  “My Talking Pet” is a complete waste of time, but totally worth the laughs.

The popularity of mobile apps like “My Talking Pet” represents a larger trend: Increased consumer and business use of smartphones has generated more demand for businesses of all sizes to offer easy-to-use mobile applications. And increased demand has made it challenging for firms to find candidates with mobile app development skills.

“Candidates with mobile app development skills are hard to find, and this is largely due to the lack of relevant mobile application development training and curriculum offered by higher education today,” said Robert Half Technology’s metro manager, Kelly O’Connell. “This is creating an increasingly competitive hiring market and escalating application developer salary requirements.”

The mobile application industry is booming, with sales rocketing toward $25 billion this year. Not to mention that salaries for those with mobile application development skills are expected to see a 7.8% increase in 2014.

So it’s no wonder mobile applications developer is one of the most popular and promising jobs today. Want to land one of these coveted positions? Here are the mobile app development skills you’ll need:

Technical Skills:

  • Hands-on experience developing mobile applications for any of the major platforms (iOS, Android, Windows Phone)
  • Experience coding with Mobile Frameworks such as Xcode, Android SDK, and or Windows Phone App Studio
  • Experience with mobile development languages such as Objective-C, Java for Android, and/or C# for Windows Phone
  • Experience with responsive design for mobile-ready websites
  • Experience with web development languages such as HTML 5, CSS 3, JavaScript frameworks (jQuery, BootStrap, EXT_JS)
  • Experience with mobile app frameworks such as Sencha or PhoneGap

Soft Skills:

  • Ability to collaborate well with others
  • Strong interpersonal, written and oral communication skills
  • Project management experience
  • Ability to adapt to an agile development environment 


  • Not necessarily required, but a degree in Computer Science or Information Systems will definitely put you toward the top of the applicant list

So whether you’re looking to switch careers or just to stay on the pulse of new technologies, take note of the list above and look into professional development opportunities for those with mobile app development skills – your current or future hiring manager is sure to be impressed with your motivation!

In addition to information on a mobile app developer salary and a mobile app development job description, you’ll find information on starting compensation for 70 IT jobs in 150 North American cities in our 2014 Salary Guide.