27% of CIOs say their companies already offer a mobile application, while a further 22% plan to offer one this year, according to a survey released in February 2012 by Robert Half Technology, which polled CIOs from companies across the US with 100 or more employees. This means that by the end of the year, 49% of the respondents expect their companies to have released a mobile app, compared to 43% who currently do not have one and do not plan to offer one this year.
Staffing Presents Challenge
When asked what the greatest challenge was for IT teams when developing a mobile app for their business, finding and hiring IT professionals with the necessary expertise ranked as one of the top challenges, cited by 28% of the CIOs surveyed, just behind collaborating across departments (29%). Other significant challenges included keeping the app up to date (19%) and gaining approvals from the app store or market (16%).
Jobs on the Rise
Part of the difficulty finding experienced staff to develop a mobile app is related to the high level of demand for these developers. In fact, the demand for applications has fueled the creation of 466,000 jobs in the US since 2007, according to [pdf] analysis from TechNet released in February 2012. This figure includes 311,000 jobs at companies developing the apps, and a further 155,000 attributed to a multiplier effect outside the app companies. According to the estimate, which was based on the 90 days ending December 31, 2011, the 311,000 jobs in the “app economy” (not including spillovers) is greater than the amount of jobs in the software publishing industry.
App developers would do best to keep updated with the multitude of operating systems on iOS and Android, according to Crittercism data reported by Forbes. The number of new operating systems, along with all their multiple updates, means that developers have a large amount of operating systems to test their apps on, and may be a key reason behind application crashes. As it turns out, iOS app developers may not be performing as well as Android developers in this regard. According to the Crittercism data, the top quartile of Android apps crashed 0.15% of the time they launched, while the top quartile of iOS apps crashed 0.51% of the time. This trend was consistent among other quartiles, too: iOS apps crashed more often than Android apps in the second quartile of apps (1.47% vs. 0.73%) and in the third quartile (3.66% vs. 2.97%).
- The iPhone accounted for the vast majority (74.4%) of iOS crashes, while the iPad (10.7%) accounted for the least.
- Judging by the location of want ads, the TechNet study determined that the New York metro area accounted for 9.2% of the app economy jobs, followed by the San Francisco area (8.5%) and San Jose area (6.3%). Other non-NY and non-Silicon Valley areas with significant employment include Seattle (5.7%), LA (5.1%), Washington DC (4.8%), Chicago, and Boston (both at 3.5%).
About the Data: The Robert Half Technology survey was conducted by an independent research firm. The results are based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the US with 100 or more employees.
The TechNet study used The Conference Board HWOL database, a compilation of online help-wanted ads that is updated daily, as the basis for its estimates. In order to estimate the number of jobs in the App Economy, the report: identified a set of keywords that characterized want ads for App Economy computer and mathematical occupations (“tech jobs”); used historical relationships to estimate the ratio between the number of want ads for tech occupations and the actual level of tech employment; examined a sample of third-party app developers to estimate the ratio of tech jobs to non-tech jobs in the App Economy; drew from the literature to derive a conservative estimate of the spillover effects to the broader economy; and used the location data in The Conference Board database to estimate App Economy jobs by metro area and by state.
Crittercism analyzed a total of more than 214 million app launches from November and December 2011 from apps that use its service.