John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Smartphone Job Market Ripe With Opportunity, Unless You’re a BlackBerry Developer

The smartphone market is expected to grow by nearly 50 percent in 2011, with smartphone makers expected to ship some 450 million smartphones over the course of the year, according to IDC. Given that explosive growth, what does the marketplace for smartphone development jobs look like these days?

Pretty much like the market for smartphones themselves.

A new survey from Freelancer.com, culled from data on more than 100,000 jobs placed on the outsourcing marketplace in the second quarter, reveals the market for smartphone development jobs to be as robust as you’d imagine. It grew 12 percent from the first quarter of 2011 to the second, driven by a surge in Android- and iPhone-related employment opportunities.

iPhone dev jobs rose nine percent to 2985 from 2739 in the same period; iPad-related jobs saw an 11 percent increase, climbing to 1305 from 1174. Meanwhile, jobs for Android developers spiked 20 percent, rising to 1702 jobs in the second quarter from 1419 in the first. If that growth rate persists, says Freelancer.com CEO Matt Barrie, Android job opportunities could soon surpass those of the iPhone. “If this continues, Android will overtake the iPhone by the end of 2012,” he told AllThingsD. “Of course, with Apple imminently releasing the iPhone 5, Apple app development might pick up in the near future.”

Sadly for Research In Motion, BlackBerry development jobs didn’t see anywhere near the growth enjoyed by its rivals. In fact, it declined seven percent, falling to 497 from 526. Surprising, considering the launch of the PlayBook tablet occurred in the same quarter. No wonder there’s such a paucity of apps in the BlackBerry App World. If the PlayBook has juiced developer interest in BlackBerry apps, it’s certainly not evident in these metrics.

“The mobile space has become a two-horse race between Apple and Google,” Barrie said. “No other vendor is in the race. BlackBerry’s days are over, dropping six percent to 497, in the face of releasing the Playbook.”

And the Nokia-Microsoft alliance? What about that?

Barely a blip on Freelancer.com’s radar. Evidently job figures there are so low, they’re hardly worth mentioning. Said Barrie, “Nokia’s Symbian and Windows mobile continue to slide into oblivion, dropping to double-digit projects at double-digit rates. From our data, it seems that the Microsoft/Nokia partnership will be a disaster — we note that development for all Microsoft products (desktop, server, etc.) is dropping rapidly. Microsoft jumped the shark some time ago, and Nokia is a shipwreck.”

Freelancer.com’s Fast 50 data in full, below (click to enlarge):


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— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google