The Cost of Hiring a Mobile App Developer: Salaries, Hourly Rates, and Other Expenses.

    According to Business of Apps, an average US app developer earns about 107,000 USD a year; an average Indian app developer earns 6,000 USD a year. The salary and hourly rates of app developers depend on their location, the languages they use, their skills and experience, their project roles, and lots of other factors like the complexity of the created app or even the type of app they’re working on.

    How to find balance when picking the right app developer for your app, what can be the average cost to hire an app developer, what is an app developer hourly rate (depending on all these factors), and what can be a mobile app developer salary depending on the person (or people) you’ll choose? Let’s dig deeper into the question and find the answers! 

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    An app developer salary range: the major factors that affect it

    Although there can be dozens of multiple factors affecting the salary of a mobile app developer and their hourly rates, in this article, we’ll concentrate on the most significant ones:

    1. Location
    2. Languages/technologies applied
    3. Developer’s skills
    4. Developer’s experience and project role

    Of course, there can be more things that affect the matter like the complexity of the project or the type of the app built. We’ll touch upon them, too, to help you see the whole picture. Let’s start with the factor that causes the biggest differences in app developer salaries and hourly rates – the developer’s location.

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    Cost of hiring an app developer depending on their location

    We’ve decided to consider different locations of app developers all over the world so that you notice the differences caused by the country’s level of development and average salaries.

    The US

    The salaries and the hourly rates of US app developers are some of the highest in the world. No wonder: we have a highly developed country and skilled well-educated specialists, so why should they underestimate themselves? 

    In fact, they don’t. An average hourly rate of a US developer is about 25.31 USD. So if you decide to hire an in-house specialist, be ready to dip into your pocket: the yearly salary ranges between 79,138 USD and 133,688 USD depending on the factors we’ll talk about later. And the complete sum you’ll have to pay to one in-house app developer will be higher as you should not forget about paid leave, retirement and savings fund payments, taxes, and compensations.


    North America can’t “boast” of low salaries to highly qualified specialists, and Canada is no exception. After the USA, Canada is one of the most generous countries, with more than 65k CAD (51k USD) of the average salary of a mobile app developer. At hourly rates, the average amount makes a bit more than 22 CAD (17 USD) per hour. Still not on the cheap side, right? 


    Let’s leave North America now and check what’s going on in the sphere of app developer salaries in other corners of the world. In Australia, it ranges from 56k AUD (39k USD) up to 105k AUD (74k USD). Speaking about an hourly rate, it’s about 31 AUD (22 USD) per hour. 


    India shocks people not only with its culture and traditions, but with its number of app developers and, particularly, their salaries. An average salary of a mobile app developer in the country is 438k INR (5.6k USD), although it can reach 1m INR (12.8k USD) for a skilled and experienced specialist. 

    An hourly rate varies from 47 INR (0.61 USD) to 745 INR (9.6 USD) depending on many factors including the location of the developer inside the country, their skills, and the languages they use for building apps. Although this salary is considered one of the lowest in the world, for India, with its annual median income of 1,314 USD, this sum looks very respectable. 


    The country can boast of one of the highest salaries paid to its employees, and it’s no wonder German app developers ask for (and earn) a lot, too. However, there is one problem that makes the cooperation with German specialists not as pleasant and easy as it could be and its name is “taxes”. 

    The taxation system of the country is one of the most complicated in the world and depends on lots of factors, including the age of taxpayers, their location inside the country, and even their marital status. Taking these things into account, even German-based companies sometimes prefer to hire employees from Eastern Europe to avoid dealing with all these challenges. The yearly salary ranges between 35k EUR (37k USD) to 62k EUR (66k USD). The hourly rate is about 18 EUR (19 USD).  

    Cost of hiring an app developer depending on the languages and technologies

    As we’ve stated before, the location of an app developer is an important but not the only factor affecting their salaries. The gap between the lowest and the highest possible salary can be wide, as you may have already noticed; in fact, it can be even bigger in real life in the case of big companies.

    Of course, the languages and the technologies used by app developers can’t but influence their market value. The more modern, complicated, and widely-used these elements are, the more you’ll have to pay your potential employee. 

    Have a look at the table below, and you’ll see what we mean:

    As you can see, the difference can be rather significant – an annual salary from $38,000 to $95,000 can be paid to people with the same level of experience, living in the same country, but building apps in different languages. 

    Cost of hiring an app developer depending on their skills

    You may have noticed before that people with similar backgrounds who occupy similar positions can get very different salaries. Why does it happen? Now, we’re coming to another equally important factor — an app developer’s skills. There are some hard skills that are different for iOS and Android app developers and soft skills that might be the same for both types of developers.

    For an iOS developer, the hard skills their salary will depend upon include:

    • Ability to work with different iOS programming languages, including Swift and Python.
    • Ability to create apps for various devices.
    • Ability to work with the frequently used open-source APIs.
    • Ability to work on cross-platform frameworks like Flutter.

    For an Android developer, the hard skills are rather similar:

    • Ability to work with Android programming languages, including Java and Kotlin.
    • Ability to work in open-source libraries and ecosystems.
    • Ability to work on cross-platform frameworks like Flutter.

    Speaking of soft skills, there are some that the employers appreciate most, like an ability to work in a team, resourcefulness and creativity, critical thinking, or good time management skills. 

    Of course, it’s impossible to say which of the skills “cost” more or which one will turn out to be more valuable for a definite employer. However, app developers can be sure that the more of these skills they possess, the higher salary they can hope for.

    Cost of hiring an app developer depending on their experience and project role

    In this respect, app development is not different from any other professional sphere like medicine or education – the more experience an app developer has, the higher they are paid. In numbers for the US, for example, yearly salaries can look like this:

    Although the numbers are very approximate, you can notice that app developers can almost double their salaries by staying in the profession for a very long time and boosting their skills.

    The differences between the project roles are basically the following: 

    • Junior: from zero to 2 years of experience. Juniors come with no or little experience and have to learn a lot during the working process so that they can utilize their knowledge in real life. 
    • Middle: from 2 to 5 years of experience. They have good knowledge in the sphere but still have a lot to learn. 
    • Senior: 5+ years of experience. They know all common patterns and anti-patterns, have a masterful command of languages, understand the standard application protocols, and are wonderful mentors. 
    • Principal/Architect: most preferably, 10+ years of experience. These developers are usually responsible for the technical control of the apps and manage the whole development process. 
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    An in-house app developer, a freelancer, or an outsource company? 

    If you think of how much it may cost to hire an app developer, there is one more thing you must be worrying about: which type of hiring to choose? 

    In most cases, employers consider 3 types of cooperation with app developers: hiring an in-house developer, finding a freelancer to perform a certain task, and resorting to an outsource app development company for a turnkey project. 

    Expenses on an in-house app developer

    The first variant is the most expensive one and is suitable only for the companies that are going to build mobile apps continuously. In this case, you will need your own app development team that will consist of four to six people with an average salary of more than 70,000 USD per year paid to each of them (making a total of at least 280,000 USD). 

    Expenses on a freelance app developer

    This option is the cheapest one for an employer as you’ll only have to pay hourly rates to your employees. In this case, you avoid all the expenses connected to insurances, pensions, paid leaves, etc. On the other hand, this type of cooperation works the best only for short or very simple projects. Otherwise, the number of communication challenges you’ll face and a lack of a competent and well-knit team will give you too much trouble.

    Expenses on an outsource app development company

    The idea of hiring not an app developer, but a professional team of developers who will build an app for you for a set price and require no further expenses seems like a middle ground. Here’s why:

    • Normally, it takes about 3 to 8 months for a team of app developers to build one app. If you decide to hire a team only to create one app for your company, these people will have no work after the task is completed. By hiring an outsource company to create one app for you, you avoid the necessity of hiring a team of high-paid specialists for completing a single task. 
    • When you hire an in-house team, you should be ready to bear lots of expenses like paid leaves, insurances, benefits, annual payments to retirement funds, etc. When resorting to an outsource company, you only pay for a particular service. When the service is rendered and paid for, no extra expenses fall upon you.;
    • When hiring a team of specialists or a freelancer, it’s not only money you have to worry about. People can get ill, have some personal problems or excuses that prevent them from completing the task you’ve given to them. When hiring an outsource company, you won’t face such problems; you only pay for your app and will have it ready for you by the previously set date.;
    • You save a lot of money and still get a very high-quality app, as an app development company values its reputation. The better projects they produce, the higher their chances of finding more clients are. They will do their best to create a high-quality product for you as this product will be proof of the company’s solid reputation.

    The Cost of Hiring a Mobile App Developer: conclusions. 

    As you can see, it’s hardly possible to say how much hiring an app developer will cost you as there are lots of factors influencing it:

    1. Location. A US app developer will cost much more than a French one, while a French app developer will cost more than an Indian one. 
    2. Languages/technologies applied. Although the salaries don’t differ greatly, still a Flutter app developer will cost you more than a Swift app developer but less than a Java developer.
    3. Developer’s skills. The more required hard and soft skills an app developer has, the higher their salary can be. 
    4. Developer’s experience and project role. Like in any other sphere, the more you work and learn, the more skills you get, the higher salary you can count on. An architect can cost you twice as much as a Junior developer.
    5. Hiring a developer, a development team, a freelancer, or an app development company like Surf. Each variant has its pluses and minuses and an employer has to think carefully before choosing the best option.