If you are a mobile developer in 2018, and are not consulting (at least on the side), you are missing out on a huge stream of revenue.
In the early days of mobile app development (2008/2009), it was fairly easy for an iOS or Android developer to get a gig with large companies (Food Network, ESPN, huge list of other names…). At that time, mobile was so new, that none of these companies had internal resources to support this budding vertical.
Throughout the next few years, mobile would sky rocket and all of these companies would hire internal teams to support their products.
This shift caused a huge disruption for mobile agencies who in the previous years were turning down $200+/hour because they simply didn't have the capacity. Many of them had to downsize or close their doors altogether. I was a part of one such company and have seen these shifts during the past 6 years of running mine.
I now believe the cycle is coming back around as there is a need for good mobile developers. The truth is, mobile is hard and there is a lot of competition in the space. Companies are discovering that they can't just hire a "full stack" dev and tell them to build a quality mobile app. It requires a lot of dedication and understanding of the ecosystem. Also, many of the small-medium consultancy in the space have since closed their doors. So supply is down and demand is way up.
I do however feel that the way in which consultants engage with companies has changed a bit. In previous years, most companies were interested in consulting teams / agencies to build their entire solution for them. These days, a "staff augmentation" model seems to make more sense.
In this model, consultants specializing in a vertical of mobile join other teams that lack a particular senior resource. This is a win-win for everyone as a consultant can attain consistent work and a company can hire temporary developers to solve their current problem at hand with no long term commitment. As a mobile developer, if you establish enough of these relationships, you are set on work for the foreseeable future.
We have seen this model play out many times over the past couple years and it has been key (for us) in surviving in this “post-agency” time of mobile app consulting.
So, if you are a mobile app developer (and are particularly good), I'd encourage you to branch out and try your hand at consulting. It's a great time.