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Network World - To understand what’s hot in the IT job market today, just ask yourself a simple question: When is the last time you checked your mobile device or used the mobile Web?
According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, the number of mobile Web-connected devices will exceed the world's population in 2013. As for mobile apps, the global market is expected to make $25 billion in revenue this year, up 62% from a year ago, according to Gartner.
It’s no wonder, then, that mobile development (for both iOS and Android) hit the No. 1 spot in a recent study by tech recruiter Cybercoders that looked at today’s hottest tech skills. Tech pros with mobile development skills were getting an average of four to five job offers, according to the Framingham, Mass.-based company, which analyzed more than 10,000 tech companies and their hiring requirements.
The trouble is, given the fast growth in mobile, market demand exceeds supply. The question for companies is how to acquire mobile skills quickly enough to fulfill their mobile strategies.
“We’re definitely seeing a lot of pain in trying to find mobile developers these days,” says Scot Melland, CEO of DICE Holdings, Inc. One of the fastest growing areas, he says, is HTML 5, a mobile optimized language that is seeing a 52% year-over-year increase in demand on Dice, Melland says.
Additionally, demand for IT professionals with iPhone development experience is up 20% from last year, he says. Interestingly, he adds, Android demand is up just 8%, despite Android being a bigger market, globally. That finding is likely due to Dice’s focus on the North American market, he adds.
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One idea is to simply buy the talent, as Walmart did last year, in its acquisition of mobile agency Small Society. But that strategy isn’t feasible for everyone. Here are some ideas from recruiters and IT professionals who have tackled this challenge head-on.
1. Team up with marketing: Much of the interest in mobility stems from the marketing function of the business, which Gartner has famously projected will outspend IT departments on technology investments by 2017. “It’s a significant shift,” says Michael Kirven, founder and CEO of Mondo, a New York-based technology resource provider. “For the first time, marketing is spending on technology solutions to drive revenues and shareholder value. We’re seeing a tremendous amount of competition at the marketing level for these technology resources.”
In-demand skills, he says, include front-end user interface developers who understand how the user experience needs to appear on the mobile Web, as well as experience with HTML5.
In many cases, he says, CIOs can find themselves competing with chief marketing officers for the same resources. “Each has the same deliverables, and this is driving up the froth in the market for these high-demand skill sets,” he says.
2. Be ready for action: With a skill set as hot as mobile, Kirven advises hiring managers to be ready to pounce. “We advise companies to make decisions quickly,” he says. “You’ve got to be prepared to move fast, have your budgets aligned and people ready to make a decision quickly.’’