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Who’s Writing Those Apps?

April 13, 2012

It was only a few years ago that Apple opened the first app store, yet today there are many app stores and hundreds of thousands of (usually) small apps being distributed through them. One has to wonder who is writing all those apps? Are they traditional developers, hobbyists, students?

We decided to look into this recently. We looked at data that was filtered to show only people who were actively developing for app stores. We hypothesized four profiles – full-time developers spending the majority of their time writing apps for app stores, hobbyists who work at some other profession but write app store apps in their spare time, professional developers spending most of their time developing non-app store programs but who moonlight writing app store apps in their spare time, and students. We used several variables to fit respondents into these groups and developed a good idea about their relative sizes and the technologies they use / adopt.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that moonlighters were by far the largest group. Hobbyists and full-time pros were about equal, and students were a much smaller population. It makes sense, actually that professional developers moonlighting account for more app store apps than others. They already have the skills and the tools they need. They have a love of programming and so it’s fun – and hey you never know they might just make some extra cash!

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