There was a time when a cellphone was mostly just a phone. If you were bored on the subway or bus, maybe you'd play that old snake game. When tablets came out, people used them for reading books or playing solitaire.
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But things have changed, and they've changed quickly. Now you can take your phone from your pocket and watch a movie, order a pizza, buy groceries, download an app to change the T.V. channel because you can't find the remote, find a date for later tonight, apply for a job, read this article – you can do pretty much anything on your smartphone.
We've built a culture of "right now." Everybody wants to access everything as they think of it, wherever they are, from their mobile devices. Consumers demand the ability to buy a banana slicer from Amazon while sitting on a barstool at 2:30 a.m. on a Tuesday. In the business world, we want access to our email, networks, and company software anywhere at any time. This has been great for efficiency, but stressful for those developers who work hard to keep up with changes in mobile technology.
Follow this set of trends down the rabbit hole, and you'll find some advice you should give that no-good kid of yours who won't pick a major. There was a year-over-year nationwide increase of 104 percent in demand for mobile development skills between 2014 and 2016 in the United States, according to statistics provided by staffing solutions firm Randstad Technologies. America has gone mobile, and savvy job seekers should pay attention.
Everybody Wants Mobile Development Talent
When you think "mobile development," you probably think of Candy Crush or your favorite pizza app, but the truth is that nearly every industry is in the app development game these days.
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"Most all aspects of business are experiencing pain points in mobility," says Andy Hutsell, recruiting director at Randstad Technologies. "C-level wants access to dashboards and reporting on their iPad/iPhone while on the treadmill. Sales teams want access to their CRM while in the lobby of a potential client. There are lots of initiatives for mobility in marketing, operations, and in offering mobile versions of company products to clients. Accessibility and convenience are major selling points and are common expectations now as end-users are accustomed to an accessible world."
Wondering where you can get top dollar for your mobile development skills? Some industries in particular are especially interested in mobile talent.
"Banking and financial verticals have had a significant increase in mobile development; banking on the go is a huge area of focus for banks and their customers," Hutsell says. "Retail and eCommerce companies have had a significant increase in demand for mobile talent for the obvious reason that companies want customers [coming] to their sites regardless of location. Human resources and payroll companies are trying to have their products and capabilities be more accessible to their existing clientele."
If You Haven't Gone Mobile, Get Up to Speed
Mobile technologies don't just help businesses connect with consumers – they also help staff work more efficiently. The ability to access proprietary company software immediately from any location can help employees stay on top of projects and put out fires.
Mobile technology isn't exactly new in the business world, so there aren't a lot of excuses for businesses that find themselves left behind.
"If companies at this point haven't thought of how to stay relevant in a mobile world, I would say either they aren't listening to their end-users or they view technology as a cost center and not as a way to generate efficiency and revenue," Hutsell says. "If it is going to generate efficiency and/or revenue and drive relevancy to implement mobile solutions into their business, then they really can't afford not to do it."