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Jobs Site: Top Mobile Freelancers Earn up to $70/Hour

Freelance development firm Upwork has showcased "the world's top mobile app development freelancers" on its site, revealing hourly rates ranging from $14 to $70 for coders working in countries around the globe, from Belarus to Sweden to the U.S.

The firm specializes in matching up its stable of freelance developers with employers looking for help with specific projects.

In showcasing its top mobile freelancers, Upwork proved, if nothing else, that salaries are all over the map, with a programmer's location a prime contributing factor. For example, among the 11 developers the company decided to highlight, two Indian developers earn $14 and $20 per hour, while two U.S. devs earn $55.56 and $70 per hour.

If anything, those rates seem to be on the low side of industry norms, judging from a quick search around the Web.

Many Quora questions address this issue, for example, with one recent query about Android developers' hourly rates in the U.S., Europe and India receiving an unsubstantiated answer offering the following:

  • U.S.-based companies charge from $55 to $250 per hour.
  • Western European-based app developers are charging rates between $40 and $170.
  • Eastern Europeans are charging rates between $30 and $150.
  • And Indian rates of $15-$80 per hour are quite attractive and affordable.

Another question about iOS rates for freelancers doing iOS work in U.S. cities generated this answer:

  • Austin: About $50 and up, but you can find people at as low as $35 on your own risk.
  • Atlanta: $55-60+.
  • Boston: About $75.
  • NYC: the lowest I've seen is around $75. The highest - $190.
  • SF: $90-$160 depending on the agency.

Keep in mind that Upwork may have a vested interest in teasing low-rate developers on its site in order to advertise its low-cost services. Also, the company only showcased 11 developers. To see more hourly rates requires joining the company's network.

Intersog, which provides custom software development services, visited the issue of App Development Cost in 2015: iOS vs Android last year. Its report said in part:

Development provider's expertise and access to resources are what you should consider first and foremost prior to planning your app development project budget. A local U.S.-based provider will charge you something between $60 and $150 per man-hour for the only reason -- made in the USA. In the UK, providers will charge you £60-£80 per hour for your app development, and in Eastern Europe, a regular hourly price for the same quality job will range from $20 to $50. As you can see, in many cases the cost of your iOS or Android development depends on your choice of the place where it'll actually be built.

Upwork itself addressed the issue in a 2014 blog post titled How Much Should it Cost to Hire an App Developer?

"An experienced independent developer in Sydney, Australia, will expect an hourly rate upwards of $140/hr," said Nicholas Wright, CEO at AppInstruct. "Meanwhile, an experienced developer in Russia or Belarus is likely happy to charge substantially less than that ($40-$50/hr) because their living expenses are lower."

Reinforcing similar messages from industry experts, the message here is that rates range all over the place so employers should shop around.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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