Main image of article The Mobile Development Landscape
In “Fundamentals of Mobile Development” we looked at the different platforms and tools used by many in the mobile dev community. Now it's time to see what it looks like out there. When I think of mobile, one word comes to mind: "Expanding". Mobile everything has burst onto the tech scene. About 44 percent of Americans own smartphones, up from two years ago, according to Nielson. The number of users surfing the Web on their smartphones has increased by 45 percent since 2010. The general public might think that mobile development is just the realm of programmers, but it actually includes a broad range of skills. To thrive means that you are increasingly required to expand your social media, selling, political and organizational skills, regardless of your technical area of expertise. The ecosystem includes Web designers, artists, extreme gamers, social network-savvy marketing folks, entertainers, promoters, managers, and even executives. You absolutely need to collaborate effectively and get the job done. All manner of new smartphones, a handful of different operating systems, and literally hundreds of thousands of apps are readily available at reasonable cost. We have dozens of tablets quickly replacing the notebook as the machine of choice for the cafe, school and professional crowd. The enterprise is working to sort out support for all of their network-connected devices, including those purchased at big-box and retail stores by employees. Security will be hot for a while. And, the Cloud, massive analytics/data crunching, and back-end network-based services demand ever-increasing numbers of experts and technicians to keep them running. Marketers see the merits of QR codes, custom smartphone apps, and location-based services. And, let's not forget that managers, consultants and executives will all be needed to guide their mobile information technology operations to success. I'd certainly count sales people and education professionals as part of the mobile sector, as well. Over the last decade, I was fortunate enough to ride the Linux/Open Source wave. Now, I think mobile is the place to be in technology--for the foreseeable future. (Hey, there's lots of Linux and Open Source in mobile, too!)

What's Happening

Where do you look for enlightenment, when it comes to what's happening out there in the mobile landscape? I ran a few specific terms the Dice to see how many jobs I might turn up. Obviously, there'll be some overlap of jobs on this list.
  • mobile development - 4082
  • mobile applications - 3791
  • mobile apps – 575
  • mobile business analyst - 450
  • mobile engineer – 2770
  • mobile development manager – 1103
  • mobile business – 2630
  • mobile manager – 1369
  • mobile marketing – 1197
  • mobile support – 2455
  • mobile web – 2953
  • mobile sales - 541
  • smart phone - 130
  • android – 1618
  • iPhone – 1073
  • tablet – 411
  • blackberry – 1036
  • cloud – 2831
  • Linux – 11304
  • open source - 3373
FastCompany's Howard Lindzon thinks the mobile future is much more than just apps. So, what areas are getting a lot of visibility (and attention) right now? Here's a couple I think are hot.

From Flash To HTML5

It sure doesn't look like Flash has much of a future. Will the new capabilities of HTML5 take over where Flash left off? How will HTML5, a Web-based framework, fare against regular "app store" type applications? Will they eventually merge? Do consumers care?

Managing Mobile

Businesses large and small struggle with maintaining their computing. Heck, with the steadily increasing level of sophistication of mobile devices, even individuals are being challenged to keep up. There's no surprise that managing mobile is a mountain on the horizon for a lot of people. So, take a look a: These illustrate the volatility of the mobile sector. And, these are just a couple of areas. Are you excited when you look out over the mobile landscape? Do you see the sun shining and the market being strong for developers, engineers and operations people? Is business good enough that you think you might be looking for a better gig?