Mobile App Talent Pool Is Shallow

Posted: April 17, 2011 in Personal

Mobile Developers

Mobile applications have boomed. Above, an attendee at the International CTIA Wireless conference last month tested a Galaxy Tab.

This year, magazine publisher Hearst Corp. intends to add five software engineers to its mobile development staff. Social-networking company Ning Inc. plans to nearly double its mobile development team. And Web start-up Where Inc. is on track to double its mobile staff this year after quadrupling it in 2010.

The problem: The talent pool isn’t growing nearly that fast.

“The demand is constant,” said Dan Gilmartin, Where’s vice president of marketing. “Every company is looking for these people.”

The intense competition for mobile engineers, which affects large companies and fast-growing start-ups alike, is emerging as a key bottleneck as companies scramble to capitalize on the fast growth of smartphones and other mobile devices.

Major media, tech, and social networking companies are looking to bulk up on mobile phone development staffers. The problem? The mobile app talent pool isnt very deep.

Mobile applications have boomed, working their way deeply into fields like retail, media, videogames and marketing. Market research firm Gartner Inc. expects revenue from Apple Inc.’s App Store, Google Inc.’s Android Market and other stores where mobile applications are sold to nearly triple to $15 billion this year.

The technologies are so new— Apple’s app store launched in 2008 —that few software engineers have mobile development experience, which requires new coding skills compared to a desktop computer.

That’s forcing companies to increase wages, retrain software engineers, outsource work to third-party developers and set up offshore development labs to meet demand.

In the last year, the number of online job listings with the keyword “iPhone” in the text has nearly tripled, while the number with “Android” has more than quadrupled, according to listings search engine Indeed Inc.

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