About 384 million smartphones have been sold in the first quarter of 2018. That’s a 1.3% growth over the same period in 2017. That also means that in 2018, the number of mobile users is increasing.
Mobile audiences grow, and so do the revenues of mobile app publishers. In 2018, Apple paid an impressive $100 billion to third-party app developers. That’s a 100% increase over the $50 billion earned by app publishers in 2016. Android makes a good running, too. In 2016, Google paid $15 billion to app developers. In 2017, Android app publishers earned $28.6 billion.
The growth of the mobile app development market fosters the demand for tech talent. So what exactly does the demand-supply situation in the mobile development market look like?
Talent supply and demand in mobile development
Stack Overflow included iOS and Android development into their top-3 high-demand skills.
Source: Stack Overflow
According to Evans Data, about 11.5 million software developers participate in the development of app for iOS and Android. This 11.5-million figure includes both the developers whose primary specialization is mobile, as well as other developers who are only partially involved into mobile. Namely, it includes backend engineers working in mobile app development teams.
But just how many of these 11.5 million are actually dedicated mobile engineers? More importantly, how many specialize in iOS, and how many are Android developers? Let’s dig deeper and find out!
Swift seems to be the most popular programming language in iOS development as more than 185K developers work with it. That being said, the popularity of Objective-C is not declining, either. In 2018, there are near 115K LinkedIn profiles of iOS engineers that work with Objective-C.
There is no significant difference in distribution on the market of iOS development. Swift dominates in most global destinations, and in the US in particular. However, the number of Objective-C developers is also high.
These numbers might not surprise you. It would be more interesting to know whether the numbers change the next year.
The Demand and Hiring Trends for iOS Developers
As for the US companies, they show almost equal interest in both Swift and Objective-C. Let’s look at the popular job websites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor.com, Monster.com, and Indeed.com and compare the number of job positions for iOS developers:
With the information from the charts in mind, there is a gap between the demand and talent supply. This happens due to the need to maintain existing code. Moreover, employers still expect from Swift developers to have experience with Objective-C.
2017 was commemorated by the release of Swift 4. The 2018 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) gives an insight into relevant technologies to expect in the near future. Based on the results of WWDC, AI/ML, AR, and IoT are mainstream in 2018:
- HomeKit and Siri Shortcuts. As of now, the new Siri Shortcuts app comes with limited HomeKit support. With the shortcuts, the users can create their own commands for a list of custom tasks. This is the functionality, IoT startups would like to support.
- Core ML 2. Apple’s machine learning framework helps developers build apps with minimum code. Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, claims, “Core ML 2 is 30% faster thanks to batch prediction, and it can compress machine learning models by up to 75% with the help of quantization”. What’s more, both Apple and Google focus on developing AI and ML for mobile.
- ARKit 2.0. The platform helps developers integrate shared experiences, 3D object detection, image tracking, and rendering. All of these make AR apps more dynamic.
Being a good source of information, LinkedIn provides us with a public and easy way to verify information on the number of Androids developers. According to it, there are 1,163,986 Android developers, 327,009 of them are from the US. This website also sheds the light on the number of Android developers in other outsourcing destinations worldwide.
It is obvious that not all the developers around the world have their profiles on LinkedIn. That’s why the actual number of developers would be higher.
LinkedIn also contains the data about relevant programming languages for mobile development. So, let’s take a look at them.
Kotlin is gaining popularity as Google is trying to move away from Oracle. However, Java is still on the top of most job lists in 2018. And yet, developers just start adopting Kotlin.
As of 2018, there are 23,083 Android engineers specializing in Kotlin where the US and India have a bigger number of Kotlin developers with over 3K each. Developers from other locations are on their way to adopting the technology.
Note, Google adopted Kotlin a year ago. The technology is likely to grow next year as more and more Java developers start working with Kotlin.
Android Software Development Trends and Tech Talent Demand
The job websites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Monster.com, and Indeed.com give an insight into the number of companies that are looking for Android/Java or Android/Kotlin engineers now.
At the I/O developers conference 2018, Google announced the trends the company is going to focus on in 2018. With instant apps and focus on AI/ML, IoT, and AR, these innovations wind their way into mobile. It is obvious that more companies will want to have them in their apps. Let’s take a quick look at the most interesting ones:
- ML Kit. The new SDK also uses three existing API technologies – Android Neural Networks API, TensorFlow Lite, and Google Cloud Vision API. ML Kit brings text, speech, image labeling, barcode scanning, face recognition, landmark recognition to mobile. All the features can make ML Kit must-have for applications of all sorts.
- ARCore support to Instant Apps. This allows users to interact with AR apps without having to download them.
- Companion Actions in Google Assistant. Creating Companion Action offers users the ability to assess the apps they didn’t install through the Google Assistant. The latter is available on more than 500 million devices including speakers, phones, cars, headphones, and more. Despite the fact that actions refer to engagement boosters, they are still aimed at the adoption of instant apps.
- Google Play Instant. These applications help users try an app or game without installing it first, and, thus, foster user engagement. Instant games also contribute to Unity adoption by Android.
- Android Things. It helps build smart, connected devices for a wide variety of consumer, retail, and industrial applications. Moreover, Google uses Android Things to streamline the development of IoT applications and smart connected devices.
Cross-Platform Mobile Development
Wix, Netflix, and Bloomberg actively adopt cross-platform mobile development and React Native in particular. The popularity of the latter became the reason why Google built Flutter, their own framework for cross-platform mobile development. Xamarin isn’t so popular in 2018 but still it was the the first cross mobile technology that gained success.
The chart below presents the talent supply in React Native, Flutter, and Xamarin.
Based on the data from the chart below, React Native is the leader across major software development destinations. Nevertheless, Flutter has all sorts of chances to outrun React Native, as it’s just released in spring, 2018:
Being popular among developers, React Native is also in high demand among businesses. The demand for Xamarin is getting smaller as it is used mostly for maintenance of existing projects. As for Flutter, companies are still setting sights on a new technology.
Mobile Development Employment and Salary Trends
- High turnover. According to LinkedIn, the software industry has a 13% turnover. This index is record-high. Moreover, CIO emphasizes that job satisfaction doesn’t influence the attrition rate because the technology industry is among the 6 industries with the highest job satisfaction rates.
- Slow hiring. Hiring the right talent might take months for some projects. CIO estimated that it takes 4.5 weeks to fill in general that is unsatisfactory for 41% of companies.
- Talent shortage. With thousands of engineers, 44% of the US CIOs find it challenging to attract top talent.
- Soft skills are in-demand.47% of CIOs consider soft skills to be a major factor when hiring engineers. What’s more, the ability to build productive communications with non-tech colleagues becomes a must-have skill.
- Flexible schedules and remote work are what developers want. Social events, free food, or gym memberships faded into the background. Now, the flexible working hours, compressed schedules, and remote work opportunities are what employees want. Isn’t this the reason why more businesses adopt remote cooperation or outsource business processes to nearshore countries?
Outsourcing Mobile Software Development
In 2018, the giants like Google, Microsoft, Verizon, and even NASA hire remote tech talent. Companies like Samsung, Harley Davidson, and Wix are also building their Android and iOS apps overseas.
If you’re looking for skilled mobile developers, AppDevShop can help you reach the top-3% of talent.
Here are just a few facts as to why to consider us as your mobile software development partner:
- We rank #2 on Clutch in DC, and #4 in Bay Area.
- We were among the early adopters of React Native back in 2015, and the React Native Showcase features our apps.
- Our engineers come from Swift, Objective-C, and Java, and some are also exploring Kotlin and Dart/Flutter.
Contact AppDevShop and tell us about your app.