Mobile App Projects Are Fueling IT Hiring

Feb 14, 2012
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Mobile technology especially the apps that go hand-in-hand with portable devices, is fueling tech hiring this year, as companies scramble to build out their mobile capability.

Just over half (54 percent) of IT leaders surveyed for the quarterly TEKsystems’ Executive Outlook Survey will implement some mobile initiative during the year, with more healthcare leaders (76 percent) planning projects than those in any other sector.

Mobile apps are among the leading projects, according to CIOs polled by Robert Half Technology. Twenty-two percent of them say they’ll be developing a mobile application for their company before the end of the year. Besides getting their development teams, the biggest challenge, say 28 percent of the CIOs, is finding and hiring IT staff with the necessary skills.

“Building mobile applications requires intense collaboration between numerous groups within the organization, including marketing, IT, operations and sales,” said John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology. “It’s important for mobile application developers to have strong soft skills, in addition to the ability to write code and test and debug software applications.”

The TEKsystems survey reported a similar result. More than half — 53 percent — of the 1,500+ IT managers and directors and some CTOs and CIOs in the survey ranked finding mobile app developers as a 7 or higher on a 1 to 10 scale. Only a handful of skill sets got a similar ranking, and these included such specialties as enterprise, data, and cloud architects and security professionals.

Ever since Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, mobile applications have moved front and center. A TechNet research paper by Dr. Michael Mandel, senior Fellow, Mack Center for Technological Innovation at The Wharton School, says that in less than five years the mobile software industry has added 466,000 jobs, 311,000 of them at companies developing apps, with the balance considered “spillover” jobs. Of all those jobs, about 155,000 are purely technical staff.

No wonder then that TEKsystems found 76 percent of IT leaders say the widespread use of smart devices and tablets is having a “high impact” or an “extremely high impact” on their organization. Cloud computing, the other hot IT area, was a distant second, with 58 percent of leaders expecting it to have those kinds of impacts.

While mobile projects may be at the top of IT project lists overall, the TEKsystems outlook reports 44 percent of IT leaders say they’ll spend more on infrastructure and 40 percent say they’ll be spending on application services. Budgets for 53 percent of them will be higher. Only 21 percent expect theirs to shrink.

The biggest challenge to success, say 56 percent of the IT leaders, is having the necessary staff. More than a third of the leaders in the survey say they’ll be adding headcount by the end of March. Thirty-five percent expect to make permanent hires; 34 percent say they’ll bring in temps.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.