Web vs. Mobile development. Which should you learn?

Mobile versus web development which one is the best for you? Maybe you're considering doing one or the other, so I want to talk about which one would be a better choice for you for your career as a programmer.

So I kind of wants to break this down into three categories. That's going to be compensation, demand and learning curve.


So there are a few websites I want to look at that give us developer salaries. The first one I want to look at is indeed, so indeed has web devs making an average salary of about 78K a year, whereas mobile devs make an average salary of about 123K year so there is a big difference there in salary.

       source; Unsplash

I don't know how accurate this is so before you Start learning mobile development because of the six-figure salary, let's other sources. So from the bus tour, we have an average salary for web devs to be about 69K a year versus Mobil at about 98K year so that actually sounds a lot more right in my opinion, so smaller amount for both options, but the trend still stands that mobile devs tend to earn more. And the last source I want to look at here is the pay scale. Payscale shows web devs making about 60K year versus Mobil at 73K a year. If we take all three of these sites, will see that the average for a web dev comes out to be about 70K years versus mobile sitting at 98K a year, so salary is very important when considering a job.

To be honest, I feel like a web developer might be a little low here, but I would say on average you know this is pretty much true, at least in my experience, mobile devs are going to make more than web devs and I think a big reason for that is because of mobile devs. They're kind of hard to come by. So this kind of leads me into my next point, which is demand.


So, if we're talking about in the United States, according to EU. S.Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The projected growth for Web developers is about 8% through 2029. They also have this marked in parentheses that this is much faster than average, which I would tend to agree now as a whole.

             source; Unsplash

In EU S Bureau as software developers are projected to grow at.22% so I'm not entirely sure if software developers encompasses Web developers. According to EU S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, but I would assume so. So, 8% growth in the next 10 years and I would say that's good. So I don't think that's anything too crazy, but I definitely think there is a growing demand for web developers and I don't think you'll have any problem finding a job if you choose the path of becoming a web developer, at least specialized in web development.


 So now let's quickly talk about the demand for mobile devs and to be honest, finding a reliable resource for the demand of mobile devs was a bit tricky, but I did find this survey on Stack Overflow that asks developers what they do for a living.

So, We have back end devs at 55% full stack had 54% and front end at 37% but if we look at mobile we see that there's only about 19% of devs doing mobile work, which means the mobile dev market is a lot smaller compared to the mobile and web development market right.

Depending on how you look at it, this could mean a good thing. Or it could mean a bad thing. The way you could view this as bad as you'll probably have a lot harder time coming over mobile dev job postings and mobile dev work versus Web Dev where you'll probably have a lot easier time finding that kind of related work, which is something that I've personally experienced, right, but we'll get into that a little later

I personally think this is a good thing and here's why web development tends to be the more saturated realm of software development. Not saying that you can't make a good career out of web development cause you most definitely can, but as a whole, web development tends to be more saturated.

 I think there's a couple reasons for that. The first being is like the web is huge and there's a lot of systems that need support from the Web developers. So naturally when first starting your career as a programmer, you're going to trend towards web development. Just because the amount of support needed therefore back end systems, front end websites.

Another thing too, and this is purely speculation I don't have any facts or statistics to back this up, but code boot camps seem to be pumping out web devs left and right and another thing too is when people are first getting into programming, they want to teach themselves how to code most of the resources they find online are going to point at or hint at them learning web development. For example, if you go to YouTube and you type like top five programming languages to learn, you're probably going to see Python and JavaScript and both of those are web development languages.

Web development is a little bit more saturated as compared to mobile development. But again, I don't think you'll have any problem in starting a career as a web developer. 

Mobile development tends to be a niche market. What does that mean? Well, although the demand is high for mobile developers and companies often struggle to find mobile developers, the companies that are actually looking for mobile work are much slimmer than the companies looking for webwork mobiles. Because while there aren't as many companies looking for mobile devs and comparison to companies looking for web devs, the companies that are looking for mobile devs tend to struggle a bit when it comes to finding a good candidate.

Like I said, web development is huge, but on the flip side of that, you'll probably have a little bit more competition, so you'll really have to do what you can to stand out from all the other applicants, so key points to take away here. Web development tends to be more saturated, meaning more competition overall, Not overly saturated but more saturated and comparison to mobile devs. But with that being said, you probably won't have any problem coming across a job posting or finding local work in relationship to Web developer work.

The next key point is mobile development tends to be more niche, meaning it could be a lot more difficult to find mobile work. We've talked about demand a little bit. There's one more point I want to hit on, and that is learning curve. 

Learning Curve

So learning programming in general usually takes a long time,and if you're just starting out and you're trying to learn web development, you're probably going to have to learn both front end and back end development if you want to have a successful career on the field, this means you'll have to learn multiple languages, and also you'll have to learn the concept of writing server side and client side code. You'll have to learn languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, possibly PHP, and you'll have to learn frameworks such as React Angular and node JS possibly.

There definitely seems like a lot there, whereas for mobile development you're going to either pick Android or iOS and you'll learn one language. It's going to be a Kotlin for Android or Swift for iOS and work in either Android studio or Xcode, which will provide you with all the resources necessary for making a mobile app right out of the box.

So if we compare let's say Android development to web development, logically you'll have less to learn. Android development would be easier to learn. Well, not really. OK, so here's the thing with mobile development. At some point you're going to have to get familiar with some concepts in principles of web development, there's a lot of overlap between mobile development and web developments. You'll have to learn that interface with like back end APIs and databases and stuff like that. 

So at a minimum, if you choose to be a mobile developer without any web development experience, you'll have to at least be familiar with web development concepts but if we're just talking straight, learning, like you have zero knowledge of programming and you want to figure out what's the best route to start, I think starting with mobile it's a great way to learn to just kick start that learning, you'll get very familiar with either android or swift, which are both, exceptional languages in my opinion, to learn object oriented programming which is a non-non-negotiable skill set to have when becoming a software developer.

So if we're just talking about learning I think starting up with mobile perfectly fine way to go, but just remember if you want to turn mobile development into a career, you will have to learn web development at least be familiar with some concepts of web development at some point. OK, so here's the bottom line. Here is the GH 1,000,000 question. What's the better choice? Personally, I think mobile is just because it's more niche. I see that as a huge benefit, but again you may not and I totally understand if you may not see that as a benefit. But really quick, let's hit on some pros and cons for both mobile and web.

So the first one for mobile is they tend to make more money? Like I said at the beginning when we compared salaries mobile devs 10 on average to earn a little bit more money.

So another point is that mobile development tends to be a smaller niche so you can see this as a positive or negative. I see it as a positive. I see how people could see it as a negative.

So big con in my opinion is it's a lot harder to find local mobile work.

So now the pros and cons of web development, the first con is less money as we saw Web developers make a little less money than mobile developers, but a huge Pro is that there's way more job postings.

 Another con, at least in my opinion. I think web development tends to be a little bit more saturated in comparison to mobile development,

I want to hit on for both is learning, I wouldn't say one is easier to learn over the other, right? cause like I said, if you do get into mobile development, you will have to learn at least get familiar at the bare minimum with web development concepts and more specifically like back end concepts at some point. So because of that I would say learning is equal.


Alright, so even with that all being said to have a successful career in software development. I don't think you should limit your skill set to one thing, web or mobile. 

I said this in the past and I'll say it again once you learn the concepts and principles behind programming and software development, you'll be able to transfer that knowledge pretty much into any application or any form of development and I think that's something that's really important to know. So, if you're really struggling to pick between the two and you haven't even started learning programming yet, I mean honestly. Just pick whichever one that seems the most fun and you can pivot. 


Elliot is a student of the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), a frontend web developer and owner of anythingprogramming. Elliot is a tech-inclined person who loves to share his knowledge with others and also learn from others as well. He loves to write and so anythingprogramming came to life.

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