App developer

software developer software engineer software architect
Computing and ICT

Career outlook for app developer

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

People around the world use apps to log into social media, shop, bank, stream music and watch TV shows. As an app developer, it'd be your job to create them.

You'd discuss with clients how the app should function and come up with ideas to design and develop it. Then, you'd work with others to write the code needed to make it work the way you expect it to. 

You might focus on apps for phones, tablets, computers or gaming devices. It's likely you'd work in a specific field, for example, creating fun and satisfying mobile games. Or, working with finance apps, helping people get fast and easy access to their money.

You might also work with specific systems to create different types of apps. For example, Windows, iOS or Android.

Working within a team, you’d collaborate to develop the app, test it and make sure it works as it should.  

Apps need regular updates to keep them secure and in line with the latest trends and styles.

What you might do:

  • design and develop applications based on client needs 
  • work as part of a team on development projects 
  • check the program's success and make changes if necessary 
  • use programming language and code to create the app elements 
  • write and update documents or briefs to record how the program operates 
  • keep up to date with best practice and app trends 
  • change and update apps when necessary

Working conditions


Working hours can vary, but usually full-time hours will be Monday to Friday and around 37-40 hours per week.


You’ll usually be office-based and work as part of a development team.


You might have to travel to meet clients or stakeholders. You also might need to travel to events and training to keep up-to-date with technology trends.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Adaptability
  • Persevering
  • Working with technology
  • Creative
  • Problem solving
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


There are many ways to get qualified for this job. It might be through college, university or through work-based qualifications, such as apprenticeships.

App developers are familiar with basic programming language like Java script and PHP. You'll need strong technical knowledge, this could from experience in a computing environment. This role could also involve the development of augmented and virtual reality software. Experience or a qualification in the use of 3D modelling would be useful.

Some employers ask for a degree but many focus more on technical skills and experience. You can build skills and experience through an apprenticeships or by studying subjects such as:

  • information technology/systems
  • software engineering
  • computer science/software development
  • applied computing

Employers will consider graduates from other subjects if you can show the knowledge needed. There are postgraduate IT conversion courses to help strengthen technical skills.

Useful subjects

Many colleges and universities list subjects that you need for entry. They might also highlight more subjects that they'd value. Make sure you check individual institutions websites for specific entry information.

Useful subjects would be:

  • computer science
  • physics
  • graphics
  • business management
  • maths focussed subjects

Helpful to have

Not all employers list specific qualifications they need. They will ask for relevant experience, usually work based, that show a range of transferable skills.

You'd need to show an up to date knowledge on a range of software and programming development. Once in a job, you'd need to continue to expand and strengthen this knowledge.