A group of people sitting at a desk using laptops. Web vs Mobile Development: Which Should You Learn First?

Web vs Mobile Development: Which Should I Learn First?

Web development and mobile development both involve designing digital products. While the first focuses on websites, mobile development involves creating and maintaining phone apps. However similar they might seem, they have a number of differences. In this article, we’ll look at the differences between web development and mobile development.  

What Is Web Development?

Web development is the process of building and maintaining websites. It involves using creative and technical skills to make a website look great and perform well. Web development relies on several programming languages depending on the tasks of the website and platforms involved. 

Launching a career in web development is highly profitable as the skills are in high demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job demand for web developers is expected to grow by 8 percent between 2019 and 2029. You don’t necessarily need a college degree to become a web developer. 

What Is Mobile Development?

Mobile development is the design, creation, and maintenance of applications for mobile devices. Native app developers will create apps for devices such as iPhones, Android phones, tablets, or other devices which run on mobile operating systems.

Some mobile app developers specialize in a particular type of application development. For example, an Android developer will specialize in Android development.

What Is the Difference Between a Web Application and a Mobile App?

The main difference between a web and mobile application is the programming languages they are built with. Web apps are built using languages like JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS. Mobile apps are built using standard software developer kits. 

Mobile apps are more expensive to build and require developing different apps for different platforms. This means you need to start from scratch when creating an app for an iOS device and an Android device. 

However, mobile apps are faster, easier to navigate, and more user-friendly compared to web apps. They are also more advanced in terms of features and functionality. Mobile apps take more time to launch due to the duration of the approval from each app marketplace.

Pros of Web Apps

  • Easily accessible to users on any device regardless of the platform or operating system.
  • Cost effective as they don’t require any specific platform customization.
  • Updates are easy to perform and do not require new downloads by users. These updates are also easily visible across all devices by users.
  • Easily discovered on search engines and can be found by anyone. This makes it easy for traffic from the website to lead to the web app.
  • Don’t require any approval before launch and hit the market faster.

 Cons of Web Apps 

  • Only available online and cannot be accessed without the internet.
  • It can take time for users to find web apps as they are not available on App Store or Google Play, where they are used to finding apps.
  • Have limited access to mobile device features like camera, fingerprint, and location services among others.
  • The user experience of web apps tends to be lower quality as they do not allow user personalization.
  • Some web apps do not offer the same level of convenience as mobile applications and cannot take advantage of the features of mobile devices.

Pros of Mobile Apps

  • Can be personalized to users’ individual preferences. 
  • Are created to run directly on devices, are characterized by ease of use, better user experience, and dedicated functions that web apps cannot provide.
  • Easier and faster for the user to click on the app than accessing a web app even if it’s bookmarked.
  • Tend to perform better and faster as they work with a mobile phone’s built-in features.
  • Easier to send push notifications on mobile apps to increase user engagement. 

Cons of Mobile Apps 

  • Cost a lot to build because each platform requires a different app.
  • Require regular maintenance to fix bugs, security issues, and more which increases the cost of maintenance.
  • Before launching a mobile application, you need to get approval from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store which could take a while.
  • Require users to download them which can reduce the usage as some users might feel reluctant to download and install a new app on their mobile phones.
  • Need regular updates to improve for each mobile platform provider, such as iOS and Google Play.

Progressive Web Apps: The Best of Both Worlds

Progressive web apps are somewhere in between a web and mobile application. They are designed to work on any device with a single codebase. It uses the technologies and languages of a web app, but with the enhanced user experience of a mobile app. 

Progressive web apps help mobile users have better experiences, as they look and feel like native applications. However, they eliminate the need for downloading and installing to first start using it. 

Web vs Mobile Development: Which App Developers Earn More?

Mobile app developers earn more than web app developers. According to ZipRecruiter.com, a mobile app developer earns $101,899. While they still earn a decent salary, web app developers earn $81,840. This is because there is a high demand for mobile app developers as the number of mobile device users keeps increasing.

There is also an increase in the number of viral social media apps in the world. Mobile apps like Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, and more have increased the need for companies to design more innovative mobile apps hence, the higher demand for mobile application development.

How to Choose Between Web and Mobile App Development

When starting out as a developer, it can be difficult to decide which specialty to start with or focus on. You should consider things like the market, career opportunities, and your interests before committing to one or the other. Below are the factors to consider before deciding on which career path to pursue.

Job Market Demand

Tech-related skills are in high demand in recent times. Some skills are more in demand than others. When it comes to choosing between the specialties, you might want to consider which skills are in high demand. 

Currently, the need for web developers has dropped and now there is more demand for mobile developers. However, the demand for web developers is still higher than for other occupations, so it’s still a good option if this is where your interests are.  

Difficulty Level

When it comes to deciding what skill to learn, it is important to consider the difficulty level. Whether you can already code and how much previous experience you have in the different programming languages will have a bearing on the level of difficulty involved.

Mobile development is more difficult to learn and practice in general. It’s possible to learn web development without already knowing how to code. Mobile developers need to have a strong understanding of code to grasp the depth of its concepts.


Learning web development requires you to learn common programming skills such as JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and Python. With these core tech skills, it is easy to switch careers and venture into other tech fields. 

As a mobile developer, you will learn only the standard programs necessary for the field. This includes things like Kotlin, which is a mobile app technology-specific language. This could be limiting as you would have to start all over if you eventually decide to switch careers later in life.


While you can make a lot of money in the tech industry, some earn more than others. If you are looking to earn a lot, you might want to pursue a career as a mobile developer as it tends to pay substantially more. The salary can go up to $137,000 for those with extensive experience in iOS and Android development. 

Career Opportunities

There is a great opportunity for growth in both mobile and web development. However, mobile development has more opportunities as there is less competition in the field. This is due to the relative difficulty of learning itt. 

Mobile app experts are in high demand. BLS reports an estimated job growth of 22 percent for software developers in general between 2019 and 2029. This is much higher than the average of 4 percent. If you choose to become a web developer, you will also have many job opportunities but could face stiffer competition.

How to Learn Web and Mobile Development

A woman wearing a headset looking at three computer displays. Web vs Mobile Development: Which Should You Learn First?
Mobile developers are in high demand and tend to earn higher salaries than web developers.

There are different ways to learn web and mobile app development. You can get a college degree in computer science, enroll in a coding bootcamp, or take free online courses. While all of these can help you start your career in tech, not all of them have the same advantages. 

Online resources can help you understand the basics of the field. A college degree might teach what you need to know along with other skills you do not need, but a bootcamp will give you in-depth knowledge while focusing on a specific skill you want to learn.

There are several bootcamps that focus on specialities including web and mobile development. Below is a list of the best bootcamps for aspiring web and app developers.

Best Web Development Bootcamps

Bootcamp Location Program Tuition
App Academy San Francisco, New York Full Stack Web Development $17,000
Coding Dojo Arlington, Berkeley, Boise, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Jose, Seattle, Tulsa, and online Software Development $16,495
General Assembly Sydney, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Austin, Melbourne, Los Angeles, Boston, London, Washington, Online, Atlanta, Singapore, Chicago, Dallas, San Diego, Detroit, Raleigh, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Houston, Paris, Denver, Salt Lake City, Toronto Front End Web Development $3,950
DevPoint Labs Salt Lake City Web Development $9,995 (full-time)
$5,000 (part-time)

Best Mobile Development Bootcamps

Bootcamp Locations Program Tuition
Code Fellows Seattle, Portland Software Development $12,000
Flatiron School New York City Software Engineering $16,900
Thinkful Online Engineering Immersion $16,000
General Assembly San Diego, Phoenix, Houston, Online, Detroit, Raleigh, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Toronto, Paris, San Francisco, London, Singapore, Dallas, Los Angeles, Sydney, New York City, Melbourne, Seattle, Austin, Denver, Washington, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston Software Engineering Immersive $15,950

What Should I Learn First, Web Development or Mobile App Development?

Deciding whether to learn web development or mobile app development first depends on what programming experience you have, your interests and ambitions. For those who already know the basics of how to code, going immediately into mobile apps might be a great idea. 

If you are new in the tech sector, it may be best to start with websites as this is easier to grasp. You can then study native app development after as you will be better able to understand its more advanced concepts.

Web vs Mobile Development FAQ

Which is better web development or mobile app development?

While they are both similar, they have their differences and choosing which is better is dependent on different factors. These include things like the difficulty level, salary, career advancement, and career opportunities. 

Web development is a lot easier to learn, however, mobile developers earn more and have less competition in the job market. Both careers have good salaries opportunities for career growth.

Is app development the same as web development?

No. Mobile app development involves designing, creating, and maintaining an app for a mobile device. Web development involves the creation, design, and maintenance of websites.

Do app developers make more than web developers?

Yes, app developers make more than web developers. According to ZipRecruiter, a mobile app developer earns $101,899 whereas web app developers earn $81,840.

Can a web developer become a mobile app developer?

Yes, a web developer can become a mobile app developer depending on the skills they have. It would be a lot easier for a web developer to learn mobile development due to their programming experience.

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