Is there a shortage of mobile developers?

It’s rare in the current economic climate to read about shortages in any job category, so a recent Wall Street Journal story that raised questions about how the talent pool of mobile developers isn’t growing fast enough certainly stands out.

The story sources a number of companies—large media outfits like Hearst along with online and social media upstarts like Ning and Where—that said they are not finding the right amount of talented, experienced developers to fill their mobile app and mobile web development needs. The “experience” part makes sense—mobile development is new enough that it’s unrealistic to expect a deep pool of veterans.

Probably the most interesting part of the WSJ story is the comments string, which sheds some light on what is perhaps the real reason—at least from the standpoint of the developer community—why some of those companies seeking development talent aren’t finding what they need: They aren’t willing to pay enough. That, to be sure, is a byproduct of the aforementioned economic climate. In a recessed economy where every company of ever stripe is still very focused on cost reduction, many companies are seeking more for less—or, in some cases, something for next to nothing.

The story references companies turning to “offshore development labs” to meet demand, as well as development jobs offered on online freelance job boards like Elance.com. The issue could well be that even as many companies commit to a solid mobile app and mobile we strategy, their budgets and the uncertainty of the overall economy may dictate that they’re not willing or able to pay for full-time talent and instead are relying on outsourcing and lowest-cost labor to meet their mobile development needs.

It’s an interesting dichotomy in an uncertain economy to see coverage of talent pool shortages—and it will be even more interesting to see how the situation evolves as developers log more years of experience and become even more valuable commodities. In the meantime, it should be motivating for the mobile developer community to know that it is being cited as a sector where demand for talent currently is outstripping supply (by some definitions, anyway). As one of the responders—presumably a developer—writes about the WSJ story: “Show me the money!”

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