Enterprises: We need more mobile app developers

A survey of IT managers finds that half report backlogs of at least 10 mobile apps.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Some people say mobile apps have become the de facto clients for new applications in today's enterprises. This may or may not be true, but there are certainly a lot more of them under development. In fact, a survey of 228 application development managers finds most are hard-pressed to keep up with demand. Shockingly, only six percent say they have the  mobile developer talent they need.

iPad photo by Joe McKendrick 5-2013
Photo:Joe McKendrick

The survey, published by OutSystems and conducted by an independent research firm, also finds mobile development backlogs are increasing. Eighty-five percent have a backlog of between 1 and 20 mobile applications, and half report the backlog to be in the range of 10 and 20 apps. In addition, the average application takes between three and 12 months to get out the door.

A critical shortage of mobile developers raised the question of whether enterprises are effectively redeploying the talent they do have away from "traditional" projects to app development. The top skills in demand among these companies include Java (with 31 percent reporting critical shortages), JavaScript (19 percent) and .NET (17 percent). 

There is no clear pattern yet as to whether mobile development is more focused on native apps or HTML5 apps, the survey also shows. When asked about their preferred type of mobile app development environment, one third voted for hybrid (33 percent), while 29 percent preferred native and 22 percent opted for HTML5. Sixteen percent stated that this would vary on a case-by-case basis.

There is quite a bit of mobile app development activity underway, the survey also finds. In the last 12 months, just over half (51 percent) of respondents have undertaken between one and five mobile app projects and 44 percent have undertaken between six and ten. When asked about the goal of new mobile app initiatives, the top three cited were to generate revenue (64 percent), to improve the mobile experience of existing apps (58 percent), and to improve customer experience (52 percent).

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