IT Employment

Mobile apps help drive U. S. job market

A recent TechNet report indicates the "app economy" has contributed approximately 500,000 U.S. jobs. Ken Hardin offers more details.

A headline-grabbing report released this week suggests that the explosion of mobile applications has contributed nearly half a million jobs in the U.S. alone since the iPhone made its immaculate appearance. But how can you use this apparently good news to get a job?

Keep a close eye on the want ads. At least that's what the researcher who produced the report for website TechNet did.

In short form, economist Michael Mandel, who produced the report for TechNet (PDF), came up with his estimates by looking at help wanted ads with keywords such as iOS and API (kind of a broad net there) and extrapolating based on total tech sector employment and "our judgmental assessment of research on job multipliers." NPR notes that the report factors in one job in non-tech specialties, such as marketing, for each one specifically for development.

So, yeah, it's a swag, but numbers like these always are. And the study notes that some of these positions may reflect jobs not lost, as opposed to entirely new positions.

The "app economy," as the report coins this job market, is still growing, Mandel says. The hot areas now are New York and the Bay Area, but that may shift as well, he adds. And more than 60 percent of current job opportunities are outside California and New York.

In its coverage of the report, CNET notes that core development platforms are Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone, and Facebook's app platform. We did not see much coverage of HTML 5, which some mobile futurists see as the platform-spanning evolution of mobile content delivery, at least.

We also gather that the study focused on traditional employment (help wanted ads) and did not consider the impact on entrepreneurial (e.g., self-employment) opportunities created by the "app marketplace" phenomenon. This piece at Smashing Magazine is from nearly two years ago, so some of the numbers in it will be a tad dated (it says there are 140,000 offerings in AppStore; it's actually more like a million or so), but the wisdom included is pretty evergreen. Among the tips: Focus on a unique spin of an existing app category, and begin hyping your product before its ready for full launch.

Note: TechRepublic and CNET are CBS Interactive brands.

About

Ken Hardin is a freelance writer and business analyst with more than two decades in technology media and product development. Before founding his own consultancy, Clarity Answers LLC, Ken was a member of the start-up team and an executive with TechRe...

1 comments
chdchan
chdchan

Is it too difficult for apps to be official? Or officially too slow on the uptake? E.g. service queue ticketing with app, can save forests of trees per year; or apps providing front-desk help, booking or form filling aids, fees enquiry repository, single-account-based electronic billing and case handling, can save lots of manpower and hassles too. Of course, some challenges are faced to make apps co-exist with the conventional systems.

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