This Is the Fastest-Growing Six-Figure Job in America — and it Doesn't Require a Degree
Apps aren't going away anytime soon — and neither are the jobs creating them.
Application developers — the people responsible for developing, building, and updating computer and mobile apps — make a median salary of $101,790 a year, and for the next five to seven years they're going to be more in demand than any other job making a six-figure-salary in the U.S.
The U.S. will be adding 255,140 app developers to the job market between 2016 and 2026, according to occupational projections website Projections Central. That’s about 26,000 new openings for app developers every year, in addition to the estimated 60,170 positions opening up each year to replace current app developers.
Because platforms like Apple's iOS and Google's Android are open source — meaning the code to build apps that work on them is freely available — anyone with coding and developing skills has the ability to create for their users. That means any entrepreneur who hires an app developer can create a product, readily available to billions of daily potential customers.
In terms of training, aspiring app developers can major in computer science at any two or four-year program, but a lot of them are often self-taught. More important than preliminary education, though, is the constant upkeep in their skill sets: app developers need to be well-versed on the latest coding languages to make sure they’re still a viable candidate for their current or prospective job. An app developer who stopped learning new languages in 2012, for example, wouldn't know the ins and outs of HTML5 and would be underqualified for a job today, much less in 2026.
Of course, there are other jobs adding to the job market in substantial numbers over the next several years.
But the ones adding more than app developers are less financially supportive. Fast food workers, aides for the elderly, and registered nurses will see over 43,000 new openings in each of their industries, annually. These jobs have a national median annual salary below $25,000, with the exception of registered nurses, who make a more comfortable $70,000 a year.
Other six-figure-salary jobs, meanwhile, are adding to the workforce at a slower pace. The runner-up, General and Operations Managers, will have 41,000 fewer jobs added to the workforce than app developers between now and 2026 — just enough time for all the high schoolers and undeclared majors out there to start thinking in code.
Correction: A previous version of this story stated that new apps would be available to over 200,000 daily potential customers.