The Growth of iPhone, iPad, and Android Jobs
Onward Search Career Cast, Episode #3
The growth of iPhone development work and jobs is discussed in this edition of the Onward Search CareerCast podcast.
PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 24, 2010
Onward Search Career Cast Episode #3, with Ken Clark & Leanne Owens
Peter Clayton: Welcome back to Onward Search Career Cast. We have some real world and very timely advice to share with you today. I'm joined by Ken Clark, the Cofounder and EVP of Onward Search and Leanne Owens, Director of Staffing for Onward Search's Boston office.
Ken and Leanne, welcome back to the Onward Search Career Cast.
It seems like every one is talking about the iPad these days but what is not always talked about is the impact it has on the job market. We're going to take some time today to dig into not only the iPad but the entire mobile space to include iPhone, Android and Blackberry platforms. In 2010, the internet industry buzz is certainly centered in mobile so Ken, let's get started.
With the hot topic of the moment, the iPad, it certainly has had it's share of both positive and negative buzz since it was introduced but what kind of impact do you think it's going to have on the job market?
Ken: I think that the iPad is going to be a pretty powerful driver for jobs. When you look at the impact of the device, it's actually made pretty cool. I'm a big iPhone, iPad, Apple guy, big lover of all things Apple and I've been following a lot of the critical reaction, which is you know somewhat in the middle actually right now, but I think what we're going to see is when the iPad comes out, it is really, the power of it is that it's a platform and just like we saw with the iPhone, the iPad momentum is really going to be powered by the apps. It's all about the apps, so to speak. You look at what's happening already in the marketplace, then you have companies, there are some great companies like one develops great software for the whole Apple platform called Omni Group. They actually over the last several weeks have been showing kind of their conceptions of what they're going to different on the iPad that's different than the iPhone, different than what they do on the Mac. A lot of other businesses actually just recently, Wired Magazine had a whole demo of what they're iPad app is going to look like.
And what this is going to do is it's going to drive jobs and that's really where we kind of enter into the equation and what specifically is going to happen is you are going to see a lot of the iPhone developers that are already out there now have additional opportunities to develop custom apps for the iPad. We're also going to see a lot of jobs created in this space and to quote - I think it was Scott Forrestal, who is one of the folks at Apple that's in charge of the iPad, he said it's going to be a "gold rush for developers," and he was talking about it from the perspective of financial gain. What I would say is there's going to be a gold rush around jobs. You're going to see a lot of job creation that's tied to the iPad and that's just great for the economy.
Peter: One of the biggest criticisms of the iPad is that it doesn't support Flash. From your perspective, do you think that's going to be a real barrier? Of course, there are a lot of people other than Steve Jobs who don't like Flash and as we all know, a lot of the large enterprise organizations block Flash applications from even going across the firewall.
Ken: Yeah, that's interesting. There is a whole Flash ripple effect, in my opinion, from the iPad. You look back at some of the decisions that Apple has made in their history, on the hardware side, you can remember back when they just said we're not supporting floppy drives anymore, and at the time, that was like oh my God, what is Apple doing? A couple of years later after that, they were actually one of the companies - most people don't remember this - to support USB 2.0. That becomes a standard. Apple is taking a stand once again.
What I think is going to happen is I don't think Flash is going to go away but I do think if I'm a Flash developer, I am now looking at the world and saying Flash is one of the tools in my utility belt but it's not the only tool." Apple, I personally don't believe is ever going to support Flash on either device. What they are really aiming for is to support HTML5 as a standard and if I'm a developer and I'm looking to say what are the other tools I want in my utility belt, I certainly would be focusing on HTML5 and using that as a way to kind of guide my career path.
Peter: Leanne, we hear a lot about iPhone app developers who are building the latest games and hottest apps of the day, not a lot of attention is given to the ecosystem around enterprise development corporate iPhone app development. What does the environment look like around MIT and the Route 128 corridor up there in Boston?
Leanne: We really see a lot of momentum building in the business corridor here in Massachusetts and our business is engaged with several Fortune Organizations who are leveraging our staffing consultancy programs within the mobile application strategy design and development space to build. Certainly the iPad has elicited a huge surge in not only application development in the apps store but the buzz overall in the platforms that have, up to this point, sort of been ignored.
So I think that there's enough advance notice for companies and for talent to really, like Ken said, galvanize their skills and be available because it's going to be less about wouldn't this be cool and let's do this in the third or the fourth quarter, to who's going to be first to market with not only a mobile application that is going to continue to provide brand awareness, but really engage these companies' customers with their product 24/7 and it's not just going to be in the iPhone and iPad space, but I really think the other platforms are going to see a huge surge in development.
Peter: Let's talk about that a little bit, Ken. What do you see coming up as far as the Android platform, which is certainly getting a lot of traction, and Blackberry as well.
Ken: If you had to rank them, I think that the ranking is along the lines of what you said:
- iPhone, iPad
There's a lot of activity around all three spaces. I mean certainly the most popular one is the Apple platform. What we're hearing in the marketplace with increasing frequency as you'd expect is I don't just want an iPhone platform, but I want a mobile Platform that hits all spaces. Android, it's interesting just to kind of think about even over the last three months; three months ago, I recall I having a conversation with one of our partners and they were saying - and I'm paraphrasing them - they were saying, "Yeah, Android's pretty interesting. We're starting to get into it." I spoke with them a couple of weeks ago and the attitude was, "Okay, everything we're doing is Android as well."
So I think Android is going to be hot. I think Blackberry; again it's not going away, it's not as exciting, so to speak, as iPhone and Android but from a corporate perspective; businesses are looking a mobile platform. It starts with iPhone and then it immediately says okay, once we have the iPhone, we need to get these other platforms as well.
Leanne, you may want to add onto that as well.
Leanne: One good thing about that is that our talents are agnostic when it comes to mobile application design and development. They tend to be able to move in between the platforms and the programs effortlessly. So, the folks that we work with don't just come with just one level of expertise with one product or one platform; they have a lot of experience and can point to successful applications that have been delivered for clients through us that are on the Blackberry platform, the iPhone and soon to be iPad as well. So, it's nice to be able to work with folks that have a very macro overview of what they're doing and how to best provide those deliverables to our clients.
Peter: Ken I know you're at CES this year and mobile was the big buzz at CES and that's really where a lot of this development effort is going, especially from a corporate standpoint. What advice would you give companies looking to source iPhone and iPad and other mobile app developers?
Ken: The key thing is you really need to as with any job search, you need to target where the talent is. There are a lot of enterprising folks out there that have downloaded the SDKs and they've developed their Hello World app, so to speak, but on a corporate level, you really need to find the talent that has experience. The tough part is this is what -a year, maybe two years old - so finding that experience is tough and there's a lot of good partners that we see out in the marketplace that have established experience but when you're looking for a partner, or a developer, what you have to realize this isn't just a coder. You think of any good iPhone application and soon to be iPad application, in a way you can really conceptualize it just like a website. There is a wire framing process that you have to go through around what's the navigation flow. You have to think about what's the creative, what's the look and feel of the application, and then there's the backend of the application. So if you're working with a developer or partner that only has one piece, that's really not the right way to go. The kind of analogy, again, that I think is most appropriate is you think about if you were doing a website redesign, what are the skill sets that are involved, usability, creative, wire framing and backend; the same thing applies on an iPhone app.
Leanne: You definitely need scalable solutions. We've had companies that we've worked with that have felt that they would reach out to us for a compartmentalized group of individuals to do one component and these folks have been able to come in and educate and influence those clients and help them kind of back into a better solution.
I agree exactly with what Ken just said, that Onward offers the scalable solution and I think that companies even starting off who feel that they only need the coders end up going for the whole solution and at the end of the day, they deliver the best product.
Peter: Are companies really getting into this wave? I mean do they understand how important that is for the continuing conversation they're trying to create with their customers, Leanne?
Leanne: They absolutely do. Again, it's less of a novelty and if you just look at what's in the apps store right now, the 600 apps in December of 2009 versus the 1600 apps in January of 2010; that's making folks not just pay attention to Apple's products but their mobile application marketing strategy completely. We're working with companies that aren't putting out things that are just entertaining but we're doing very complex delivery of products that have authentication that help people in their every day lives, not only reach back to these client companies but also improve their finances, they're health, you name it, and they're getting into all different lifestyle reaches. They're getting into the environmental components, they're getting into health, they're getting into financial.
Peter: Leanne, our listeners always like to hear about what the latest hot jobs are here on Onward Search Career Cast and since we have the benefit of you up there in Boston, what's really hot in Boston?
Leanne: Everything's hot in Boston. We are really seeing a big surge in opportunities and the job market is exploding, especially in internet marketing. We're working with the best and the brightest in the interactive space. A lot of information architecture, a lot of online content strategy, and copywriters, online copywriters, a lot of search marketing professionals, social media consultants and folks that can, of course, do all of the mobile application design and development.
Peter: One last question for you guys. Leanne, are you going to be standing in line at the Apple store there in Boston to buy an iPad when they come out?
Leanne: Absolutely. I have held off to this point but I can't wait to be a part of it. It's a really exciting product, it's a leisure product and something that's going to be able to help me gain access to all of the cool tools that are out there.
Peter: And Ken, how about you?
Ken: It's kind of a foregone conclusion I'm going to buy one. I have my daily questions to myself about when but I know that just like Leanne, come the end of March, I'm buying one and it's going to be pretty cool. I'm excited to see it.
Peter: As we all know the Apple has just had its 10 billionth download of music and let's hope that the iPad is able to save the publishing industry as well. So again, thanks so much for taking time to speak with us today on Onward Search Career Cast.
Leanne, up there in Boston, we really appreciate your time.
Leanne: A pleasure, thank you.
Peter: And Ken, it's always great to speak with you and we'll be doing so again soon.
Ken: Alright, thanks Peter. I enjoyed it.
Thank you for tuning in to Onward Search Career Cast. For more information on the career opportunities available through Onward Search, you should visit us online at OnwardSearch.com or call 1-800-829-0072, and speak with an experienced recruiter. And you should also follow Onward Search on Twitter at Twitter.com/onwardsearch.