Mobile Platforms are Job Nirvana for Developers

It’s not a bad time to be a mobile software developer, even in this economy.

Rare is the mobile device maker that is not advertising for application development talent.

Recent want ads by Research in Motion, Nokia and even Motorola, are just three examples. Demand for Apple’s iPhone developers, for example, is up 500 percent in just the past six months, according to employment outsourcing company oDesk.

Even a lightly advertised one-day regional Android conference managed to attract over 50 developers. Organizers have designs on even bigger turnouts at future events.

The good news, at least for now, is there is plenty of expertise to go around, explained Alex Muse, organizer of the first AndroidDevCamp held in Dallas last week.

“Right now everyone’s looking for Java developers and they tend to move around [in terms of application projects] so there’s no shortage,” said Muse.

One of the most recent was Google’s initial Android Developer Challenge (ADC), $10 million two-part program. Challenge I, which ran from January to April of this year, awarded $25,000 to the top 50 most promising applications. Challenge II will kick off later this year though official details have not been released.

Google told that mobile platform success requires balancing the needs of three: industry players, end users and developers.

“We’re hard at work making sure that Android meets the needs of all three of these equally-important groups in an open way,” a Google spokesperson told Googlers counted over 150 applications posted on the Android Market site within a week of the G1 launch.

“We’ll work with developers to make sure that number keeps growing. We’re excited to see the momentum around Android,” said Google.

Muse and his software development company, Big in Japan, developed ShopSavvy, a Google ADC award winner. It is also the top downloaded Android application at this point. Muse is also a cofounder of SpringStage, another start-up software firm.

Developer conferences are important to developers, device makers and carrier partners, said Muse, as they allow professionals to get familiar with new platforms.

“The power of Android isn’t grounded in a particular carrier or handset maker; instead, the power of Android comes from the developer,” said Muse.

According to oDesk, Apple’s iPhone device created an entire new marketplace for development activity and is spurring demand for qualified freelance professionals.

As of this March 100,000 developers had downloaded the free software development kit .

The SDK was followed by the launch of a $100 million “iFund” that is dedicated to funding iPhone-related software and services.

For the period from March through September 2008, oDesk data shows an increase from under 30 to over 140 iPhone developer related jobs per month. In demand are engineers, programming and consulting jobs.

It’s that kind of response that Muse wants to see for Android expertise, with money to help the cause.

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