The field of single-cell omics is rapidly progressing. Although DNA and RNA sequencing-based methods have dominated the field to date, global proteome profiling has also entered the main stage. Single-cell proteomics was facilitated by advancements in different aspects of mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics, such as instrument design, sample preparation, chromatography and ion mobility. Single-cell proteomics by mass spectrometry (scp-MS) has moved beyond being a mere technical development, and is now able to deliver actual biological application and has been successfully applied to characterize different cell states. Here, we review some key developments of scp-MS, provide a background to the field, discuss the various available methods and foresee possible future directions.