So you want a job in the mobile space. How are your skills working across iOS, Android, Microsoft Windows Phone, and Blackberry platforms?
Whether the job involves mobile app development or supporting mobile workers and devices in an enterprise network, the ability to work with multiple mobile device technologies and platforms is key to success.
CompTIA is introducing two new certifications in the next month—CompTIA Mobility+ and CompTIA Mobile App Security+—that will allow IT professionals to show employers they have a strong grounding in mobile knowledge and skills. (You can download exam objectives for both exams now.)
BYOD and the Need for Mobile Support
Despite the pressure on employers to deliver support for mobile devices and applications, IT staffing firms say mobility job candidates should expect a more rigorous vetting as employers become more experienced hiring mobility professionals. If you are a mobile app developer, be prepared to discuss your skills down to the code level.
Supporting mobile devices and mobile applications is a significant competitive advantage because it supports the speed at which business works and how people want to work. “People want to have the ability to look at systems and check in their business on evenings and weekends,” says John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology. “Business doesn’t stop and companies recognize that, and are supporting much more liberal BYOD (bring your own device) policies.”
But BYOD can increase the complexity and volume of IT work.
Reed notes that he travels frequently for business, outfitted with a smartphone, two tablets and a laptop. “That’s one person with four devices that have to be supported,” Reed says. “Think of a small company with only 500 employees and each one of those people access the company systems with multiple devices. It adds up quickly for companies.”
As companies permit workers to bring all kinds of devices into the enterprise networks, they can no longer allow IT workers to only support one type of mobile devices. “Having a broad base of experience across all of these different technologies and platforms is what employers really want.”
On the infrastructure side, only larger companies typically have their own Mobile Device Managers, Mobile Security Engineers or BYOD Program Manager. “More often than not it’s a part of somebody else’s job,” says Dan Pollock, senior vice president at Modis.
Most of the growth in mobility jobs is generated by demand for mobile app development. On Dice.com, iPhone mobile app jobs are up 20 percent year over year, with 2,500 positions advertised every day, while Android positions are up 8 percent, with more than 2,300 jobs advertised daily. But Dice President Shravan Goli notes that jobs employing the HTML5 markup language for building applications across multiple device platforms grew 52 percent year over year, with 3,300 positions posted on Dice any given day.
A Sellers’ Market
Mobile IT technology grew so fast there is “definitely a real shortage of mobile developers and people with mobile experience,” said Goli. As a result, employers are becoming more creative in hiring and vetting candidates for mobility roles.
Employers are drilling deep into “How good you are, how can you evolve very quickly, accepting one to two years of mobile app experience versus a six to 10 year expectation,” said Goli.
Be prepared to discuss any apps and services you have created. Despite the fact that employers face a scarcity of mobility talent, as well as enormous pressure to deliver support for mobile devices to help their businesses compete, employers are getting smarter about interviewing mobility job candidates, Goli says. This is especially true for mobile app developer roles. “Recruiters are downloading (candidates’) apps,” says Goli. “They want to see the code, play with the app and talk about the candidate’s specific contribution within the app.”
Some of Dice’s clients use Dice Open Web, a database of technology professionals profiles created from information publicly available from social media websites—from Facebook to StackOverFlow.com, to get more detailed information about candidate’s skills.
“At the end of the day, it’s about the transferability of the skills," says Goli. “It’s people showing aptitude and knowledge from their past experiences, and showing how much they are able to transfer their skills to newer programming languages, and newer application environments, is what is going to help them win these jobs.”