Big Money in Small Packages

Developers looking to
cash in on the next big thing may want to look to the smartphone platform. According
Computerworld, in the next few years the market for applications
on iPhones, BlackBerries and the like is set to skyrocket.

Big Money in Small PackagesA quick look at the
keywords iPhone
or Blackberry on Dice shows you companies developing smartphone apps are popping up
all over, and they’re offering a goodly number of positions for developers with
the right skills.

So what exactly are
the "right skills?" Can you leverage your current experience? 
If you have a good OOP
foundation, you can probably spool up pretty quickly.

Both Android and BlackBerry development can
be done in Java, so there’s no huge learning curve for Java engineers. Palm development is done within the Mojo
framework running on top of webOS, so
you can leverage your Web development skills to begin creating Palm
applications fairly quickly. iPhone
development involves using Objective-C
, which is a sort of Smalltalk/C
mashup. Again, if you’re a salty old OOP dog fluent in any of the C
derivatives, you could probably make the transition.

Of course, anytime
you hear "gold mine," you have be somewhat skeptical. But in this
case, it doesn’t seem like pure hyperbole. After all, Apple’s app store spurred 1.5 billion downloads
in its first year. Although
the majority were of free material, about 18 percent weren’t, and when we’re
talking numbers that big, even a small portion adds up to big bucks. How big? Boston research company Yankee Group Research predicts U.S. revenue from smartphone
applications will be $4.2 billion by 2013.

Of course, few
people are going to hit the market with the kind of app that’s going to let
them jump from their cube to a life of programming from the beach. But if you’re
a developer looking for a new direction, now may be the time to try your hand
at smartphone development.

Chad Broadus

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