Original question from Quora:

Do most app programmers make much?

I published 3 tiny Unity apps and I enjoy building them but I enjoy it because I like working out how to do things with code and the sense of achievement figuring it out witch is something general to programming. I was told they mostly struggle to get by if true maybe I should do something else.

My Answer:

There is a lot of money to be made creating software, but it is not often made by selling apps for iPhone or Android. The sad fact is competition is fierce and the economics don’t work out for most developers in mobile.

However, you can get paid a lot of money to do freelance app development, or to build a mobile app for an in-house software project. A lot of developers can’t help but learn this the hard way.

I’m one of those developers.

Probably six years ago or so a friend of mine and I decided to start a business making apps. The app store boom was in full swing, so it seemed like the perfect time for two smart software developers to strike it rich.

We built probably a dozen or more different apps. Some games, some utilities, some software services. Unfortunately nothing really took off. We had a couple small hits that would make us maybe a hundred bucks a month or something.

Eventually we all but abandoned selling apps because it wasn’t worth the time investment.

At the same time I kept improving my skills as a software developer and increased my salary by tens of thousands of dollars. As it turns out, there was more money to be made building apps for other people than inventing my own.

As with any gold rush, some people make money finding gold, some make money digging gold for other people, and some make money selling pickaxes. I tried to find gold, but instead did better digging on someone else’s dime.

-Brian

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