Where Software Developers (Really) Make Money

Amid all the mobile app hype, here's a surprising reality: Software developers still make more money in the desktop market. That tidbit -- and more -- emerged from a VisionMobile study.

According to the survey findings: Developers make the most money working with cloud services, "closely followed by desktop projects, and mobile app development, while working on Internet of Things projects will get you the least money," notes Softpedia.

My theory: The enterprise desktop market remains massive -- allowing developers to make ongoing revenues fixing and updating code that dates back to the early 1990s in some cases. In stark contrast, I suspect the mobile market is more like a lottery system. Developers don't make much money on individual apps -- except for the occasional home-run offering.

The survey, which involved 13,000 developers worldwide, also reinforced some common assumptions:

  • In the cloud market, Amazon Web Services is the most popular developer platform followed by Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. I'm not sure if IBM's fast-growing cloud had visibility here.
  • In the mobile market, 26 percent of developers write apps for both Apple iOS and Android; 28 percent focus only on Android; 12 percent purely on iOS; and 11 percent actually stretch across Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
  • In the Internet of Things market, 26 percent of respondents said they don't know who their target audience is... though consumers (32 percent) and enterprises (17 percent) were common focus areas for many IoT developers.

The biggest mystery: What are the most profitable focus areas? It's one thing to spend most of your time focused on one specific platform (say, cloud or mobile). But it's a different discussion to actually pinpoint where the most profitable development occurs. Perhaps a list of the highest paying programming languages offers some clues...

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