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Applications Spur Creation of Nearly 500,000 Jobs

The explosive popularity of applications has spurred a US jobs boom that, according to TechNet, has produced 466,000 new jobs since 2007. The jobs are for programmers, user interface designers, marketers, managers, and support staff.

The bipartisan policy and political network of technology CEOs found that "App Economy" jobs are spread throughout the nation. The top metro area for App Economy jobs is New York City and its surrounding suburban counties, although together San Francisco and San Jose together substantially exceed New York.

While California tops the list of App Economy states with nearly one in four jobs, states such as Georgia, Florida, and Illinois get their share as well. In fact, more than two-thirds of App Economy employment is outside of California and New York. The results also suggest that the App Economy is growing quickly and that the location and number of app-related jobs are likely to shift greatly in the years ahead.

“America’s App Economy – which had zero jobs just 5 years ago before the iPhone was introduced – demonstrates that we can quickly create economic value and jobs through cutting-edge innovation,” said Rey Ramsey, president and CEO of TechNet.

Conventional employment numbers from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics are not able to track such a new phenomenon because this economic ecosystem is so new, according to TechNet. The research analyzed detailed information from The Conference Board Help-Wanted OnLine (HWOL) database, a comprehensive and up-to-the-minute compilation of want ads, to estimate the number of jobs in the App Economy.

The total number of Apps Economy jobs includes jobs at ‘pure’ app firms such as Zynga as well as app-related jobs at large companies such as Electronic Arts, Amazon, and AT&T, as well as app ‘infrastructure’ jobs at core firms such as Google, Apple, and Facebook. In addition, the App Economy total includes employment spillovers to the rest of the economy.

 

The survey was conducted by Michael Mandel, president of South Mountain Economics.

High Demand for Application Developers

Continuing uncertainty about the economy is impacting staffing levels at information technology companies, according to the latest CompTIA IT Industry Business Confidence Index.

“Firms refrain from spending, which signals to vendors a slowdown, which causes spending restraint in other areas. No one wants to move first. This vicious cycle ripples throughout the economy.”

In the quarterly survey, 54 percent of IT firms say they are understaffed by 5 percent or more. Another 22 percent of firms are fully staffed, but would like to hire more workers to expand their business.

Among the types of staff IT firms plan to hire or would like to hire, 56 percent of surveyed firms said programmers and application developers; 43 percent, help desk and support personnel; 41 percent, project managers; and 40 percent, sales staff.

Even when companies decide to act on filling their staffing needs, they struggle to find qualified candidates despite the large pool of unemployed workers. In the CompTIA survey, 74 percent of IT firms said it’s somewhat or very challenging finding quality candidates with the right skills and experience when openings must be filled.

The overall CompTIA IT Industry Business Confidence Index for the fourth quarter of 2011 fell by 1 points to 51.9 on a 100-point scale. Although still in net positive territory (greater than 50), economic malaise has clearly set in. This marks the third consecutive quarterly decline in the confidence index this year.

Looking ahead, the IT industry executives predict a 1.9 gain in the index in Q1 2012. The CompTIA IT Industry Business Confidence Index is compromised of three metrics: opinions of the US economy, opinions of the IT industry and opinions of survey respondents’ own companies.

The data suggest that staffing shortfalls are most prevalent among larger companies ($100 million or more in annual revenue). Micro firms – those with less than $1 million in annual revenue – are most likely to report being fully staffed at their desired levels. It’s worth noting, though, that micro firms tend to operate with lean staffs, compared to larger firms that have more organizational layers and therefore may experience more frequent changes in headcount.

The impact of the staffing crunch is felt most directly by workers now on the job:

* 55 percent of IT firms are requiring workers to multitask more.
* 45 percent are requiring salaried workers to put in more hours.

Nearly a third of companies (32 percent) say they’ve postponed or canceled projects due to staffing shortages.

CompTIA’s IT Industry Business Confidence Index for Q4 is based on an online survey of IT industry executives and professionals conducted in late September and early October 2011. A total of 427 IT companies participated in the survey. The complete report is available at no cost to CompTIA members who can access the file at www.CompTIA.org or by contacting research@comptia.org.


Google Android Market is Top Store for Developers

Google’s Android Market is the most used app store amongst commercial developers with 47 percent of commercial developers having some experience with the store compared to 43 percent who have used Apple’s App Store, according Evans Data’s new Application Distribution survey of over 400 commercial developers.

In addition, Android Market edged out Apple’s App Store as the store more developers thought would be dominant in two years. However, developers selling apps through BlackBerry App World made significantly more money than developers using either Google’s or Apple’s stores. 

"The industry has a conception that developers are going to target either Android or Apple, and those two will define the market," said Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data Corp. "However, there’s room for more than two. BlackBerry developers are not as plentiful but 13 percent make over $100,000 from the App World apps, which is considerably more than Android or Apple developers, and will help that platform continue to be compelling to developers , especially in the enterprise."

 

The survey also found that visibility for their apps is the biggest complaint that developers have about app stores in general, with 37 percent citing this as the biggest problem. In addition, paid apps with no ads is the monetization model more developers us,e followed by subscriptions. Games are the most likely type of apps to wind up in app stores, with 27 percent placing that type of app in a store, followed by business apps at 21 percent and productivity apps at 20 percent.

 

The Evans Data Application Distribution survey examines the views and usage patterns on commercial developers and focuses on monetization models, distribution channels, app store features and policies, end user support, and also shows ratings of detailed feature sets by users of various stores of those stores.

Twitter Launches New Developer Site

Twitter has launched a new developer site with improved communication channels and better reference material and documentation that is intended to foster better interaction. The company said a better platform was needed for the 750,000 developers building Twitter applications. There are currently more than 1 million registered applications.

The developer site was relaunched using Drupal, which has a large developer network. The new dev.twitter.com also includes a new discussions section with “Hot Topics” for the most popular conversations and the ability to subscribe to categories and threads. A “Dev Teatime” section focuses on the more social side of the community. A developer blog provides a place to learn about important API announcements, events, tips and how-tos, case studies on apps, and product insights. Documentation has better searchability and is easier to update.

More Mobile App Downloads Means Windfall for Developers

Worldwide mobile application store downloads are forecast to reach 17.7 billion downloads in 2011, a 117 percent increase from an estimated 8.2 billion downloads in 2010, according to market-research firm Gartner. And by 2014, the number downloaded from mobile app stores since 2008 will reach 185 billion.

Worldwide mobile application store revenue, meanwhioe, is projected to surpass $15.1 billion in 2011, both from end users buying applications and applications themselves generating advertising revenue for their developers. This is a 190 percent increase from 2010 revenue of $5.2 billion.

"Many are wondering if the app frenzy we have been witnessing is just a fashion, and, like many others, it shall pass. We do not think so," said Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner. "We strongly believe there is a sizable opportunity for application stores in the future. However, applications will have to grow up and deliver a superior experience to the one that a Web-based app will be able to deliver. Native apps will survive the Web enhancements only when they will provide a more-personal and richer experience to the ‘vanilla’ experience that a Web-based app will deliver."

Gartner analysts said the hype around application stores in 2009 continued through 2010 with alternative offerings to the Apple App Store gaining some traction. Android Market, Nokia's Ovi Store, Research In Motion's (RIM's) App World, Microsoft Marketplace and Samsung Apps are the key competitors that saw the number of application downloads grow in 2010.

Free downloads are forecast to account for 81 percent of total mobile application store downloads in 2011. This percentage has been decreasing since the first launches in 2008, and Gartner estimates free downloads will continue to decrease in 2011, but it will increase again from 2012 through 2014. Users will begin paying for more applications as they perceive values in the concept of mobile applications, and they become more trustful of billing mechanisms.

In 2010, application stores' revenue is estimated to have reached $5.2 billion, both from end users buying applications and applications generating advertising revenue for their developers. The growth between 2010 and 2014 is forecast be over 1,000 percent.

Application stores' revenue is split between the store owners (such as Apple, in the case of the App Store, or RIM, in the case of App World) and the application's developer. The average revenue share is based on a 70/30 split, with 70 percent going to the developer. By the end of 2014, advertising will be generating a little under a third of the revenue generated by application stores, up from 16 percent in 2010.

"While the average number of downloads per device onto a smartphone will remain stable as the market grows, it must be assumed that media tablets will drive more downloads from consumers, boosting the overall average downloads per device," said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. "We estimate that Apple's App Store drove close to nine application downloads out of 10 in 2010 and will remain the single best-selling store across our forecast period (through 2014), although to a lesser extent, as other stores manage to gain momentum."

"Application stores have become a highly visible and potentially lucrative part of the smartphone 'ecosystem, largely due to Apple's App Store. As well as promising revenue, application stores allow store owners to leverage innovation from a community outside their own R&D department," said Ms.Baghdassarian. "However, setting up a successful application store is far from simple. Application store owners need to rise to the challenges of attracting developers, organizing content and engaging users throughout the life of the store in order to remain profitable."

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