Fuelled by the growth in mobile app development, Dave Howell looks at why this year could see the demand for app developers outstripping supply.
According to research from The Radicati Group, by the end of 2018 the number of worldwide mobile users is expected to increase to over 6.2 billion. Roughly 84% of the world population will be using mobile technology by then. For enterprises, supporting this huge market with a constant stream of new apps is a commercial imperative that many could fail to meet due to a shortage of qualified developers.
Indeed, research from Gartner gives a stark warning: Market demand for mobile app development services will grow at least five times faster than internal IT organisations’ capacity to deliver them. With the research giant predicting mobile phone sales alone to reach 2.1 billion units by 2019, the demand for app developers will rapidly rise.
Adrian Leow, Research Director, Mobile Strategy and App Development said: “Organisations increasingly find it difficult to be proactive against competitive pressures, which is resulting in their mobile apps becoming tactical, rather than strategic. We’re seeing demand for mobile apps outstrip available development capacity, making quick creation of apps even more challenging. Mobile strategists must use tools and techniques that match the increase in mobile app needs within their organisations.”
Meanwhile, the commercial environment that enterprises now find themselves in means they must become more agile with their app development. An important component of this agility is developing more customer-facing applications. Businesses and their development teams are, however, struggling to keep up with the requests being placed upon them.
What is clear is that the digital transformation that many businesses are now moving through means efficient development of apps and supporting technologies is critical. Consumers want fast access to services, which will become a differentiator in the market place.
The fourth annual report from OutSystems on the state of application development and the challenges associated with it speaks volumes regarding the current app development skills gap.
“Our 2017 survey clearly shows that many IT professionals are at a crisis point when it comes to digital transformation and application development,” said Steve Rotter, CMO for OutSystems. “Project backlogs are growing, there are more systems to integrate with, the demands for mobile and IoT are increasing, and the scarcity of skilled developers are top concerns.”
Having the right skills within an enterprise is now vital to meet the expanding needs of their customers. The findings of the Criteo cross-device commerce report are telling in that it reveals nearly one-third of all transactions involved two or more devices from the first website visit to the point of purchase. App development skills need to be cross-platform to ensure every consumer touchpoint is supported.
The digital transformation of companies is bringing new challenges that need to be met with skilled app development teams. Accelerating development time, reducing costs and meeting competitor actions with a robust app development roadmap is commercially critical.
App development skills are in short supply. However, enterprises can react positively with a re-structuring of their app development processes. Here, rapid mobile development tools can be adopted, and more agile development workflows used with a mix of in-house and outsourced skills integrating to deliver an improvement in app development efficiency.
Dave Howell is a freelance journalist, writer and publisher. He has been writing about technology and business for over 20 years, with his work appearing in national press, specialist journals and websites.
Learn about about the Application Development Training Courses available at Global Knowledge.