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6 Reasons You Should Switch from Web to Mobile Development

Originally published December 02, 2014 Time 6 mins

I’ve previously written about making the switch from web development to mobile development, but now I’m going to talk about 6 specific reasons to do just that.

Keep in mind that when I say “switch” I don’t mean drop web development completely, but rather invest more of your time into mobile apps. Obviously most developers have more than one skill set and the demand for good web developers is not going to go away in the future.

Mobile development can be an intimidating beast, and it can be a scary leap to make. It is well worth the investment though, and we will discuss some strategies to make this switch A LOT easier.

1. Mobile Developers Make More Money

This is especially noticeable for smaller scale freelance developers. It’s harder to convince small budget clients of the value a good web developer provides these days. This is partly due to the amount of cheap DIY options available (WordPress, Wix, Squarespace etc.) which will satisfy many clients needs. Currently there are no similar options available for mobile apps that would provide an adequate solution for the majority of cases. This means custom solutions need to be built which means more money.

I have found that some customers (those who do not understand the value provided, or have not had it communicated to them well enough) often balk at a website that costs $1,000+. There is a perception that websites are cheap and easy to build, and that if you can’t do it then their 15 year old nephew will.

This perception doesn’t seem to exist for mobile applications. I always provide fair and realistic quotes for mobile applications, which often exceed $5,000, and rarely have the price questioned.

A large part of this is about communicating value. It’s just that this is much easier to do for mobile applications.

Even if you’re not working independently, mobile developers are often paid bigger salaries. Payscale.com lists the average salary for a mobile application developer as $71,072 per year vs. $53,036 for a web developer.

2. Mobile Developers Are in High Demand

It’s no secret that tech related skills are in high demand, as a programmer you will rarely find yourself stuck without a job, but this is especially true for mobile development. There is HUGE demand for mobile developers:

The shortage, however, has a disproportionately large impact on mobile. The reason is – while the developer shortage might prevent businesses in general from moving faster, a lack of mobile developers prevents businesses from doing the basics (for example launch an app, when your competitors already have). Ayo Omojola

Forbes supplied the following graph (sourced from indeed.com) which shows top job trends over the past few years (take a look at that SPIKE!):

Job Trends Graph

source: forbes.com

Interestingly, the one that tops out that chart is HTML5 mobile app development.

3. You Can Use Your Existing Web Development Skills

I’ve previously discussed the potential for HTML5 mobile application development to overtake native apps in the future. HTML5 mobile apps utilise web technologies such as HTML, JavaScript and CSS to create an experience similar to that of a native application. You can even submit HTML5 mobile applications to app stores and have users install them just like a native app.

In the past, native applications have typically performed better than HTML5 apps but this gap is getting smaller and smaller. With powerful frameworks like Sencha Touch and tools like PhoneGap, it’s hard to tell the difference between the two. This makes it an attractive option for developers who already have experience in web development, but not in mobile.

You should read one of the articles I linked for a little more information about how this all works, or if you want to get started right now you should check out my Beginners Guide to Sencha Touch eBook and put together your first app this week.

4. People Are Moving to Mobile Devices

Super Monitoring released an infographic that shows some interesting statistics for the state of mobile in 2013.

There’s a lot of interesting facts in there, the overall trend though seems to be mobile is growing, fast. In 2011 to 2012 smart phone ownership rose from 35% to 46% and then to 56% in 2013. Nielsen reports that in the United States smart phone ownership is at a massive 71%.

5. Mobile Apps Are Smarter than Web Apps

The nature of mobile applications provide a lot opportunities to take advantage of – most notably that they are mobile.

People have mobile devices on them about as much as they wear clothes. Peoples lives are integrated so closely into their devices that we can create some really interesting personalised features by taking advantage of:

  • Current location
  • Speed and direction
  • Contacts
  • Calendar / Schedule
  • Other Apps

There are many opportunities where peoples lives could be improved by access to an application, on mobile this is available to them at almost all times.

6. Sell on the Apple App Store and Google Play

Maybe platform specific app stores will cease to exist in the future, but for now they are a very valuable distribution method and the best way to make revenue through direct application sales.

Submitting your applications to the app stores allows for discoverability, easy payment options and of course a prime spot just for you on the users home screen.

Want to learn how you can use PhoneGap to make powerful mobile apps using HTML5? Grab my PhoneGap Build Quickstart Guide eBook for free:


What are your thoughts?

Are you thinking of giving mobile development a go? What are your concerns? If you are already developing mobile applications I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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