Check out a sample of the 4,141 Mobile App Developer jobs posted on Upwork
Less than 30 hrs/week
Less than 1 month
Need react native expertise to work on some issues .I already have team working but i need an expert device token null issue lead d…
Hi all! I'm looking for freelancers who have a gp console to publish my application. For this, I guarantee timely and honest payment, a…
I am in search of a skilled developer capable of seamlessly integrating existing Java/Swift source code libraries into FluxStore for bo…
I need developer&freelancer for hosting my apps With Google play console
I am looking for android app developer who can upload my app on GPC , Thanks
Hi there, We need participants for user interview urgently. The candidate must be proficient in English. No skills are required but it…
Less than 30 hrs/week
1 to 3 months
I want to develop a website and mobile app for my restaurant. I am not sure about platform. so please suggest me a hassle free platform…
The app already exists and needs an update. You will be provided the code and complete brief of the app. Create feature where discou…
We are in search of an Android Developer to contribute to our team and help with various tasks on an as-needed basis. If you have a kee…
How to Become a Freelance Mobile App Developer
Mobile app development is a booming field because more businesses, services, and even products are finding that their customers want apps and will spend more when an app is available. Apps still set businesses apart while helping companies reach a broader audience. So, if you want to become a mobile app developer, the time is right for you.
However, it can seem like a complicated process. Not everyone knows what a mobile app developer is or how to become one. There’s also programming languages or software engineering involved. So, let’s dive into mobile app development and why an Android developer is different from an iOS or web developer.
What is a freelance mobile app developer?
A mobile app developer is a type of software engineer who has chosen to create apps for smartphones and tablets. Their daily activities include designing, programming, and testing applications for various mobile devices and operating systems. In many cases, you’ll work with a team of other developers or business leaders that need the app.
The freelancer aspect of being a mobile app developer is that you’re working with a variety of clients and aren’t part of their business. That often includes managing projects and writing emails to note the status of app development. You’ll need to create the app for the operating system they prefer and test it on relevant devices or frameworks.
Freelancers also spend their time learning about best practices for developing for smaller screens and the many functions smartphones offer, such as accelerometers and GPS tools.
Different types of mobile app developers
Mobile app developers often specialize in what they code and create. You can choose to focus on a specific type of work, industry, or operating system. Over time, freelance mobile app developers often sort themselves into broad categories such as mobile phone application creators, office apps, graphics, and video apps, or specialized industries like financial apps or customer service tools.
One important distinction is the operating system (OS). The two most popular are Android and iOS.
Android developers build apps for smartphones and tablets running Google’s Android OS. This platform includes a large number of phones and devices with many different screen sizes. You’ll need to learn how to build items that scale dynamically with the device and take note of integrations with Google’s services such as YouTube, Gmail, and Maps.
Android code is mainly open-source, making it easy to learn and access if you’re starting your career.
On the other hand, iOS developers focus on their work on Apple’s operating system for its iPhone, iPad, and other iOS devices. This system relies heavily on the Swift or Objective-C programming languages and generally is more controlled. You’re working on apps for a smaller set of devices, which may allow you to dive deeper into functions like navigation, display, notifications, and more.
How much do freelance mobile app developers make?
Freelance mobile app developers can make a healthy living no matter their skill level or where they live. On average, a U.S. freelancer Android developer will make nearly $120,000 per year. More than 75% of these developers make at least $87,500, according to ZipRecruiter’s salary estimation.
When you’re just getting started, you’ll likely be working on hourly contracts. These can have smaller costs for newer projects, though they have the chance to turn into long-term relationships if your app performs well. On Upwork, you’ll find mobile app developers tend to start around $30 to $40 per hour, mid-level developers make between $60 and $75 per hour, and some experts charge as much as $125 per hour or more.
Even if these rates seem low, remember that basic apps can still take dozens of hours to create. You’ll be working hard, but companies are willing to compensate you appropriately.
Your final payday depends on your ability to find clients, create quality work, and write pitches that demonstrate what you can bring to a project. The better your profile, the more experienced and reliable of a mobile app developer you’ll seem.
How do you become a freelance mobile app developer?
1. Choose your platform
When you’re getting started as a freelance mobile app developer, you’ll want to specialize on a single app platform first. In most cases, this is a choice between Android or iOS. However, if you’re looking for software development in a content area, such as eCommerce, you may need to learn how platforms like Shopify interact with mobile devices as well.
Mobile app programming languages differ significantly in terms of needed skills and tools. Choose one where you feel comfortable tackling hard projects. It’s best to start with one and then develop skills in other platforms or find other freelance mobile app developers to cover projects in different platforms.
2. Review programming basics
Once you’ve made your platform selection, it’s time to review the requirements and skills. Determine the programming languages that your mobile operating system uses and common functions in the apps you want to develop. For instance, game designers will want to focus on haptic feedback and music, as well as some graphics. If you’re working on financial or enterprise tools, you’ll want to review common application programming interfaces (APIs) used in your area.
If you don’t know much about the language, look for free online courses to help you get started.
3. Get your tools together
You’re going to need tools to code, debug, and test your mobile apps. Thankfully, there are many free options depending on your programming language and industry. Some services like Framework 7 work for both Android and iOS apps. Ionic is a framework that’ll help you build for iPhones and can turn your web knowledge into mobile skills.
Look for tools that play to your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. You might find a solution that makes it easy to build and test your apps while also giving you access to a variety of plugins, so you don’t have to code everything from scratch.
4. Specialize your knowledge
After picking your operating system and gathering your tools, it’s time to master your coding and other required skills. Take time and do your research to build a variety of projects for different functionalities. While it may feel like going over core concepts, practicing these elements helps ensure you won’t make a mistake in paid work.
Apple-focused developers should learn Swift or Objective-C. Swift is strong for one-time projects and single apps, while many developers say Objective-C is more useful for developing apps that work together. If your workload is expected to include multiple apps or apps that you will hand off to other developers for maintenance, Objective-C seems to be preferred by the app and software development community.
Android programmers should consider Kotlin and Java. Java is a great starting point and allows you to build core frameworks and basic apps with ease, plus there’s an extensive Android developer support program from Google covering Java. Kotlin is a little more advanced and the open-source language has a larger library and set of available APIs which can make it easier to create custom functionality and advanced app development.
5. Start turning ideas into apps
After you know what to do, it’s time to start doing it. You’ll want to first create some apps of your own and get them in the application store associated with your operating system focus. That’s Google Play for Android and the App Store for iOS apps. Getting your own apps on these stores demonstrates your experience and capabilities. They’re the perfect starting point for your resume and portfolios.
At the same time, many companies looking to hire app developers try to find out about you and your apps on channels like social media. They want to see that you’re committed to app development and that this is more than just a school project or a side gig. Posting about these items on social media, engaging with the people who download your apps, and managing customer interactions all help.
6. Build your profile
As you start to finalize projects and apps, you need to find a way to share them with potential customers. A wonderful place to start is with a developer profile on job boards like Upwork. You can get started finding clients and stick to proven layouts to explain your capabilities and experience.
Take screenshots and videos of your apps. Explain your work process and how you wireframe or develop apps before detailed coding. Discuss your approach to troubleshooting and problem-solving. Then, highlight where you shine.
Your portfolio should also link to the application store where your apps live. Seeing those live and available can help people trust your capabilities.
7. Add special touches
What makes you unique? What can you program best? What ideas do you want to share with the world? Why is it more enjoyable to work with you compared to other developers?
Mobile apps are a big part of today’s businesses. They can improve customer service and generate revenue or cause endless headaches for companies. You want your clients to see you as a partner in their success. To achieve this, discuss how you will work with them and the things that make you unique. You might tout knowledge of Scrum, work maintaining software, or note a dedication to a specific cause.
Share what makes you special in your profile and interactions. It’ll help you find clients that need your skills and fit well with your desires and personality.
A big part of freelancing is looking for people who need your skills. You’ll need to practice finding them and learning how to talk to them. Networking is a great start because it’s practice for explaining who you are and what you do. You might find someone who needs your skills or can introduce you to a company they work with. Friends, family, professional contacts, and people you meet out in your day-to-day life are all potential sources of clients and referrals.
Tell everyone that you’re becoming a freelance app developer and ask if they need help or know someone who does. Once you get a lead or introduction, learn about that company to figure out how you can match their needs.
Plus, it’ll help you learn skills to ace those developer interviews later.
9. Plan to keep learning
Mobile operating systems are constantly developing. New hardware is released every year. Your apps will need to support these updates and improvements while also reaching back a few device generations to maintain functionality. That’s a lot of work and it means you’re going to need time to learn new languages, tools, and capabilities.
Freelancers must plan their time around these activities. Set your focus and seek out resources that help you stay on top of the latest updates.
Eager to learn more about mobile app developers on Upwork? Check out this additional resource:
Upwork is not affiliated with and does not sponsor or endorse any of the tools or services discussed in this section. These tools and services are provided only as potential options, and each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyse and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation.
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