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Learning Center Experience
According to 2013 year-end Nielsen data, the average
consumer uses about two dozen mobile applications, or apps, per month. There
are over a million mobile apps available for download in the iTunes App Store
and Google Play, and the time consumers spend using mobile apps has been
steadily increasing over the past 2 years.
Mobile application development could be a great
place to look for career opportunity, especially given the changing mobile
landscape. “A couple years ago, people started to come [to class] with tablets
instead of laptops, with access to material in real time,” says Dr. Jacob
Sharony, principal of mobile and wireless technology management consulting firm
Mobius Consulting. “Mobile devices are very capable, and when you are mobile, you
are connected and can know anything wherever you go.”
Given the ubiquity of wireless Internet and
mobile devices, IT professionals are already changing with the times. Employees
are increasingly bringing their own mobile devices to work, rather than using
company-provided hardware. As a result, IT professionals are asked to learn the
science of data security and how to best utilize the cloud, rather than become
This means an IT community well positioned for
the next generation of mobile developers. “We need people ensuring
infrastructure is robust, no coverage holes exist, and a good user experience,”
says Dr. Sharony. Sound like the qualities of your favorite mobile app? You
Given the opportunity, you may be asking
yourself how to become an app developer and where is the best place to get
started developing for mobile? A computer science degree is a great first step,
but not necessarily a requirement. Many resources are available for learning
programming languages, either online or in immersive classroom courses.
Development for mobile requires a range of different
skills; Apple recently launched Swift, which works alongside Objective-C (the
main programming language of iOS apps), and some Silicon Alley developers
surmise this may be the future in just a couple years. Conversely, if you’re
looking to build Android apps, learning Java may be your best bet. Many
consumer-facing companies will want both kinds of apps available for download.
Once you start expanding your coding skill set,
build something. The sooner you build a minimum viable product (or MVP), the
sooner you can iterate upon it. Not only will you be developing mobile
engineering skills to share with an employer, you will be practicing the
iterative process. (This is a popular software engineering method, which uses
feedback cycles to reach the final product.) What you build can be a
jumping-off point for discussions with your manager about moving into the mobile
space. Like with any engineering product, it is better to show than tell.
If your current employer does not have a mobile
presence, building one from the ground up can be an advantageous career move.
If you work for a company that does have a mobile presence, it is likely your
resources will be in high demand for a growing mobile development team—according to Forbes, 78 percent of enterprises
with customer-facing apps report increases in their app audiences over the past
Will your manager be open to advancement of your mobile
development skills? Dr. Sharony believes they will. “Companies cannot stand
still. If they don’t build something now, their competitors will do it first
and it will be too late,” he advises.
an IT professional interested in expanding to mobile, now may be a great time
to give it a shot.
We encourage you to share this article using #TIL if you learned something new or found this information useful.
If you are considering an IT degree we invite you to find out more about the School of Business and Information Technology and explore our undergraduate and graduate degree offerings.
Interested in other IT career insights? We invite you to take a look at our Career Moves site, which periodically publishes new articles and other content on this subject.
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