App developer

software developer, software engineer, software architect

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

£46,280

Currently employed in Scotland

23,300

Five year job forecast

+4.14%

"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures.

What's it like?

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

You'd communicate with clients to understand how the app should function, and you'd start coming up with ideas to design and develop it. Then the code can be written to make it work the way you expect it to. 

You might focus specifically on apps for phones, tablets, computers or gaming devices. It's also likely you'd work within a specific field or with specific systems (such as Windows, iOS or Android) to create different types of apps. 

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

It's necessary to update apps regularly to keep them secure and in line with the latest trends and styles.

What you might do:

  • Design and develop applications based on client requirements 
  • Work as part of a team on specific development projects 
  • Evaluate 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 
  • Modify and update apps when necessary 

Working conditions

Hours

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

Environment

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

Travel

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

Full-time

87%

Part-time

4%

Self employed

9%

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

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

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

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 Apprenticeships.scot.

Qualifications

There are a variety of 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 and they need to have strong technical knowledge, which is often gained 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 also be useful.

Some employers ask for a degree but many focus more on technical skills and experience. App developers can build their skills and experience through, for example, Apprenticeships or by studying subjects such as:

  • Information technology/Systems
  • Software engineering
  • Computer science/Software development
  • Applied computing

Employers will consider graduates from non-computing subjects if they can show essential technical knowledge. There are also postgraduate IT conversion courses available to graduates who need to strengthen their technical skills.

Useful subjects

Many colleges and universities will have required subjects that you must have for entry. They might also highlight additional subjects that they would 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 qualification requirement but they will ask for relevant experience, usually work based, that show a range of transferable skills.

You would also need to demonstrate an up to date knowledge or a range of software and programming development, and a willingness to continue to expand and strengthen this knowledge once in the job.