Companies hiring mobile app developers are battling for candidates in the traditional tech grounds of San Francisco/San Jose, New York, Los Angeles and Seattle, paying premium salaries to attract talent. However, analysis by Burning Glass Technologies shows that the hottest growth in this field is in up-and-coming tech cities like Salt Lake City, Austin, Detroit, Denver, and more.
From self-service banking to retail purchases, mobile applications are quickly becoming the standard by which Americans connect and do business. The number of job postings asking for Mobile App development is up five times over the last five years. This increase is higher than other tech developer skills in demand such as cloud solutions, web development, and machine learning.
The mobile app developer market continues to center in Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) like San Jose/San Francisco (over 12,000 postings in the last 18 months), New York (more than 7,000), and Los Angeles (more than 6,900). A second tier of tech cities, Seattle, Chicago, and Washington-Alexandria, post mobile app jobs at a rate (roughly 3,000 postings each) that is still more than twice as high as the national median.
So, where will the next wave of mobile app jobs be located? As Figure 1 shows, Salt Lake City and Denver are the two fastest growing demand Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) for mobile app developers, with Austin, Detroit, Phoenix, and Miami in the second tier. From a volume perspective, these areas have fewer than 2,000 postings each, but have increased demand by over 500% in the last six years.
Interestingly, these jobs are both easier and cheaper to fill in these regions. The average “time to fill” for these postings is over 50 days in tech hubs San Jose (53) and Los Angeles (60). Conversely, among the top six fastest-growing demand areas, only one has an average time over 50 days (Phoenix at 53), with Miami (29), Denver (39) and Austin (43) having the shortest time to fill.
Salaries are also lower in these high growth areas. Burning Glass Technologies’ data shows that the average salary overall for the top six high-growth MSAs is $94,301, with only Denver ($105,000) and Austin ($101,000) coming close to tech hubs Seattle ($121,789), San Francisco ($119,113), and Los Angeles ($109,933).
From a growth perspective, the top industries to increase their need for mobile app developers over the last five years are Finance-Insurance and Retail Trade. In cases like Capital One, Allstate, and PayPal, self-service for banking and insurance has become commonplace. The same for retail businesses like Amazon, Best Buy, and Groupon, as over 75% of consumers buy something online each quarter (Business.com, Feb 2017).
The fact that these are national firms offers a real opportunity for technology hiring managers. Much tech work can be done remotely, or in satellite offices, which means rather than fight over talent in highly competitive areas, national companies can seek out talent in areas where it is easier and less expensive to find.
An additional advantage for these firms is that many of these companies need developers who understand programming but also have knowledge of their specific industries. A banking app, for example, doesn’t have the same challenges as a retail or health care application. That kind of skill set may well be easier to find outside of Silicon Valley.
Mobile App developer demand will continue to grow. Considering geography is a key ingredient to finding reasonably priced talent quickly as businesses continue to expand their mobile application development.
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