According to Snaphop, which alludes to research statistics from Business Insider, there were roughly 835 million smartphone users in the year 2011. By the year 2015, global Internet usage will double. So, what’s in it for mobile apps? According to Nielson, more than 64% of overall mobile time is spent on mobile apps. The amount of time spent on mobile is more than the time adults spend on newspapers and magazines combined.
According to ComScore, there was a 55% increase in smartphone subscriptions, which added another 98 million smartphone subscribers. Going by the statistics, the mobile consumption of information and the overall web is nothing short of a revolution.
As an app designer, what’s in store for you? Why should you keep mobile app design skills handy? Here are some strong reasons:
Learning is Growing
Designers and developers have demanding jobs. Designing for the web, for mobiles, and for other platforms is never static. For designers, it calls for catching up with the trends, familiarizing themselves with new technologies, and to upgrade skills faster than ever.
Web Designers and developers almost always stand on their feet, ready to master any new web development language, a new upgrade, and the usual changes that dot the landscape of web technologies.
As it stands true for every profession, learning and upgrading skills is the only ticket to keep clients, make money, and develop sustainable careers. No professional grows without this learning curve, ever. If responsive design or mobile app development is the new tall order, so be it.
Mobile Apps and Mobile web is the way to go
ComScore – in it’s 2012 Mobile Future in Focus Annual Report – reveals key trends and the explosive growth of mobile as a consumption device. Through the year 2011, more than 127.6 million users all over the U.S and more than 108 million users across Europe dug into media through mobile devices or through mobile browsers. This is an increase of at least 30% going by the numbers in the year 2010.
Literally every smartphone user has mobile apps (free or paid) and as such, mobile apps are a humongous opportunity for any web developer who can quickly absorb the skills needed to develop mobile apps and/or mobile websites (responsive design). It doesn’t take much to figure out the opportunity available to develop apps across the board for all OS such as Android, iOS, and Windows.
We are just getting started
As you were reading the phenomenal growth of mobile apps and Internet consumption over the mobile web, you’d mistakenly think that you might just be a tad too late.
You aren’t. The good news is that the party just got started. According to Michael Martin of Search Engine Land, the total percentage of global web users who are mobile ready is a mere 10%.
Go ahead, pick any random website, drag your browser inwards to represent the screen size for a tablet or a mobile phone and you are likely to see that those websites are not mobile or tablet ready yet.
What does that mean for an enterprising mobile app or mobile website developer? It means that tons of opportunity is waiting for you to be tapped into.
Mobile apps aren’t just for big companies
Businesses will obviously look to create apps to draw in millions of mobile users who’d seek an easier way to read, get informed, interact, buy, and possible connect to each of these businesses.
Publishing is the staple of the web. Now, app development for publishers is the next frontier for publishing companies, bloggers, web editions of magazines and newspapers and individual entrepreneurs who are all looking to create apps. Further, retailers and eCommerce stores now realize that consumers think that apps are functional, cool, and practical thereby preferring to use apps for shopping.
Most developers think that mobile app development opportunities exist with big companies. In fact, it’s the small businesses are hungry for generating leads, for reach out to their customers, and for developing apps for their own business. Then add the fact that the whole world is your oyster.
In a nutshell, the opportunity base for mobile app developers is staggering, and it’s not going to slow down or taper out anytime soon.
There’s money in apps, even if you had no clients
Assuming you are just starting out as a mobile app developer, the overall opportunity trend (combined with the general hunger for applications on the web) is so strong that you might never have to look for clients. Aided by creative thought, entrepreneurial vision, and rapid execution, you could be in business all by yourself by creating apps based on your intuition, ideation, judgment, and masterful execution of new mobile app projects.
Apple’s App Store, Google Play or the overall Android App market, and the recently launched Metro style app stores for Windows 8 users (apps developed for Windows 8 work on Windows RT for tablet-based Windows 8 versions).
Each of these app markets are free market places where you can upload your self-developed apps and make money out of them for a long time to come. Bring app development together with marketing, and there’s virtually no turning back for enterprising developers.
Mobile apps is not the only market
App stores are not the only platform for app developers. Every popular web-based solution also has its own growing community of developers (and hence opportunities). For instance, Shopify.com has a community of developers who create apps for shopify.com users. Similarly, apps are being created for other popular tools such as Salesforce CRM, SugarCRM, and other leading CRM platforms.
You are already familiar with apps and extensions being developed for web browsers (One look at extension galleries for Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox and you’ll be presented with even more opportunities) – each of these opportunities require a largely similar skill set on demand and a host of opportunities present themselves to you.
The mobile web or app market — and the general web development scene — is today’s “land of opportunities”. For developers who can race ahead while grabbing skills en route, there’s never been a better time to flex skills and profit from a never-ending stream of opportunities.
Where do you stand now? What skills have you mastered already and what skills should you aim to get equipped with? What opportunities do you see lying ahead of you?