Smartphone application development certainly isn’t going away anytime soon, so mobile development is a good place to be. Let’s survey the field.
iPhone development and Android are the key areas in need. On the iPhone side, Objective C developers are in great demand. On the Android side, someone with front-end experience in Java, Java FX, Swing, SWT or WPF will be popular.
In general, talented individuals with experience in .NET, Java, or C++ are currently receiving multiple job offers.
When hiring a mobile application developer, employers generally prefer someone with a Bachelor’s Degree in a related field and with some experience. But those candidates are few and far between. Usually a minimum of 1 year prior development experience is preferred.
Given the shortness of “ready on day one” candidates, some employers are willing to help train those who might not have a four-year degree, but who possesses relevant experience. For instance, senior people are valuable as long as they are passionate about development and coding. Prior development experience in .NET, Java or C++ is useful.
What qualifies as passion?
One scenario might be an employee who works full-time in one profession but has released, say, a mobile or game application on the side. Companies also may consider someone who can show good non-commercial code they developed on their own. If your career is also your hobby, that is a strong indicator of passion.
Even if an applicant doesn’t possess the desired skill, someone who is constantly intrigued about technology, is always learning about programming and development, and shows a deep and genuine interest in the field could be considered. Oftentimes, these folks host or go to user groups or specialized discussion groups to engage in the development environment. With a basic understanding of functionality and the ability to pick up concepts relatively easily, they can often be trained or re-trained to fill the need for a specific job opening.
Many in the field believe mobile developers proficient in Adobe Flex have a suitable background to become a mobile app developer. But it’s not the native language for mobile technology and doesn’t necessarily make for the right experience. In addition back-end developers, who have been working for years in COBOL, other mainframe technologies or Java/.NET services might find the transition more difficult unless they can show passion and flexibility for learning new technology. Wouldn’t they have to show they’ve actually gone out and learned some new tech? Yes!
Companies that need mobile apps but can’t find staff members often have to farm out the work to consulting firms or contractors. This involves more communication and collaboration but it is often the only choice given the urgency and time sensitivity for developing and deploying these apps to market or through the enterprise. Given this movement towards outsourcing work, mobile application development is sure to be a smart choice for any tech professional for years to come.