Back to insights

How Mobile Developers Can Stand Out in a Saturated Jobs Market in 2023

9 months ago by Lara Thomas
Share this
Woman wearing yellow headphones developing code on a computer

With the number of tech layoffs so far in 2023 exceeding those in 2022, it's fair to say that the tech jobs market, particularly in my own field of mobile development, has been on a bit of a rollercoaster ride of late.

This year, more than any since COVID, the permanent job market is saturated with mobile developers looking for work. With a lot of uncertainty and talks of recession, many employers are planning to maintain rather than scale their operations, and as a result the mobile jobs market is suffering.

In this blog, I’m going to provide guidance on what you can do to stand out in a highly competitive mobile jobs market, over and above applying for new jobs online. There are some great job opportunities out there, but candidates need to be a bit more savvy to progress their careers and stand out.

How does the mobile market compare to the wider tech market?

In comparison to the mobile market downturn, some other areas of tech, seem to be faring much better:

  • Recent research, by Gartner, found that, despite the redundancies and layoffs, there is still an increasing shortfall of overall tech talent in the UK, with 73 percent of CIO’s worried about IT talent attrition.

  • Recent figures bring a glimmer of hope, indicating an upturn, at least in the London tech jobs market, where tech vacancies increased over the summer of 2023 for the first time in 18 months.

Despite the challenges in the mobile market, I am personally still seeing less businesses hiring and certainly less of the 'multiple hiring' taking place that was previously more commonplace.

This, alongside a lack of budgets, has led to a much more selective recruitment process. For example, the 'nice to have's' on a job specification now becoming ‘essentials’ with managers expecting an individual to have everything on the job specification.

Focus on mobile development multiskilling will make you invaluable

I tend to personalise the advice I give to the professionals I work with, on how to improve their chances of being hired, including things like having your references/testimonials ready up front with your CV. However, the main thing I’ve been advising recently is to focus on upskilling or multiskilling.

Whereas before, the advice would be to get yourself a niche and make yourself an expert in that field, things are changing.

For start-up or scale up businesses especially, it makes more sense for them to invest in somebody who is involved in other areas of tech, rather than just one niche. For example, I recently secured a role for a native Android Developer, who was also able to take on the responsibilities of a Delivery Manager, who also dabbles in iOS. These types of people are invaluable. Even in bigger companies, who still want specialists, those that will stand out are those that have additional soft-skills or understand future tech.

Upskilling or multiskilling does not always have to be in the form of formal certification, it can be any way you develop your skills. My top 3 tips would be:

1.       Develop your cross-platform or multi-language development skills.

With the lower costs, easier maintenance, an ability to reach a wider audience and, crucially, the rapid development time of cross-platform mobile applications, it makes sense that start-ups and scale ups are moving away from native app development. Those people that have developed their cross-platform or multi-language skills will therefore be most in demand in the sector. This also translates into larger companies. Whilst their preferences will still lean towards investing in native applications, having employees who are multi-skilled and agile enables them to react quickly to market conditions or technological advancements, and is invaluable to them.

There are many resources out there which give you guidance on the hottest skills to develop, like this one which talks about the ‘10 Things App Developers Should Learn in 2023’, such as Flutter and React Native. I am particularly seeing interest in people with skills in Kotlin Multiplatform, right now.

In addition to programming and development skills, it is worth increasing exposure to different frameworks and architectures. This depth of exposure will, again, make you much more attractive to prospective employers.

2.    Work on non-work projects in your free time.

Whether a side hustle or a hobby, anyone working on projects in their own time, really stands out in a crowd. If you write tech blog posts, collaborate on open-source projects, develop your own applications, or create online courses or tutorials; you are building networks, your reputation, personal brand and gaining skills in the process.

Let’s face it, not everyone can find the time, so those that do are demonstrating passion and commitment, as well a capacity to self-learn and develop skills independently. These are all extremely attractive to an employer.

3.    Improve your soft skills.

Not so long-ago soft skills, usually placed lower than the ‘desirables’ on the job spec, were almost an afterthought from employers. However, the shift in the importance of emotional intelligence and social-led skills we saw happening prior to COVID, has vastly accelerated post-pandemic. According to a 2021 McKinsey Global Survey on reskilling, the proportion of companies addressing empathy and interpersonal skills doubled in 2020.

This emphasis on soft skills continues. An amazing developer with strong soft skills will always secure the role over a competitor who is lacking them. Whilst there is a multitude of debate about the top essential soft skills like this one from Forbes, the employers we work with looking for mobile developers, value problem solving, critical thinking, ability to navigate challenges and resilience more than anything else.

Are you a mobile developer looking for the next step in your career?

In conclusion, whilst there are glimmers of hope in the general tech jobs market as we move through the second half of 2023, the permanent jobs market for mobile developers remains challenging.

There's currently a big conversation around upskilling and multiskilling, and rightly so. Whether you want to stand out in a saturated job market, to have access to higher paid job opportunities or promotions, or just stay current in a world of constant, rapid digital transformation; constantly evolving your skills is crucial.

If you are a mobile developer or other technology professional and would like to discuss your career development, options, or current skillset in confidence, please contact us.

Alternatively browse our tech jobs here. 

About the author

Lara Thomas, Principal Android Specialist at Gravitas, brings 4 years recruitment experience specifically within the mobile and android space. Lara is highly passionate about technology and encouraging more gender diversity in what is, traditionally, a more male dominated industry. She runs regular women in business networking events, as well as other mobile events within the London area.

Follow us
Get in touch

Or register your CV with us here.

© Gravitas Group 2023Site by