Mobile Developers in the Driver's Seat

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One thing is sure as 2010 gives way to 2011: It's a good time to be an application developer.


CNN ran what for them is a very long story on the topic of shortages of applications. The piece points out that there may not be enough applications to fill out the big stores run by Apple and Google, the smaller existing storefronts and those that are coming. The story says that other influential vendors, including Nokia and Research in Motion, are lagging behind.


The mobile smartphone category-now almost 61 million devices strong-certainly will continue to push the development community.


ReadWriteWeb cited a shortage of Facebook developers as one of the reasons that Webtrends in October bought the firm Transpond. The item says that Transpond provides "an application development tool" for the iPhone, Android Apps and Facebook. The acquired company, which also creates mobilized Web pages, now is called Webtrends Apps.


A survey conducted by the employment firm Dice Holdings for Bloomberg put the situation into perspective. The BusinessWeek story cited a Chetan Sharma Consulting study that said the market is in the midst of growing from $4.1 billion in 2009 to $17.5 billion in 2014. A four-fold increase in five years puts the onus on mobile development to keep up with demand:

Almost 57 percent of employers and outside recruiters that hired for mobile-related jobs this year plan to boost such hires in the next 12 months, the survey, conducted on behalf of Bloomberg Businessweek.com, showed. More than half the respondents described the supply of quality mobile-software designers and engineers as 'scarce.'

The story outlines the topline findings of the survey. Tom Silver, a Dice vice president, says that mobile development will grow:

Mobile was described as one of the top three priorities in technology hiring by 35 percent of employers. A year from now, as more businesses incorporate mobile technology, Silver predicts that number will be closer to 50 percent. The vast majority of employers, or 95 percent, said mobile hiring was either competitive or extremely competitive.

There are ways to lighten the load somewhat. For instance, there will be a proliferation of frameworks in which an application can be written once and be used by several mobile operating systems. The advent of HTML5 and other advances mean that more of the heavy lifting will done on the network itself. In some scenarios, a bit of code runs on the mobile device, while the operating system is gathering what it needs from the back end. This likely will somewhat mitigate OS-specific development needs.


But such efforts only will go so far. The telecommunications world is in the throes of a massive mobilization. The new landscape will rely heavily on downloaded applications. It is obvious that this will put mobile application developers in an enviable position.