There have been some fantastic achievements in mobile app development in recent years, with innovative, creative individuals continuing to push the boundaries. However, there is still enormous scope for progress - vast potential that can be unlocked if more skilled technology professionals embrace the agenda. The challenge is to encourage more IT specialists to get involved, while persuading those who are already developing to dedicate more time to such activity.
A new Progress report - based upon the responses of 3,000 developers and IT professionals - reveals that more than half of all developers worldwide have never actually built a mobile app. Despite the popularity of apps among consumers - as evidenced by the millions of downloads each year to smartphones and tablets - just 43% of developers can claim this achievement on their technology CV. The implication is that industry progress is being hampered by a lack of participation.
According to the report, mobile app development remains a highly-specialised trade, with only a minority of developers active in this field. Even among those who are developing, the rate of progress is often slow; 47% of mobile app developers deliver just one mobile app per year. This suggests many consider mobile app development a side-hobby, rather than something they are willing to dedicate large amounts of time to or make a career out of.
Increasing mobile app development activity
So the question is this: how can more talented individuals be encouraged to embrace their creative side and develop applications? In order for better apps to be produced, and in greater quantity, more IT professionals need to get involved - clearly they need to be incentivised to do so.
Karen Tegan Padir, president of application development and deployment at Progress, claims the developer community need "easy-to-use tools and processes to move forward with their mobile app development efforts in a more substantial way". This may require a certain amount of cultural change and additional support from employers and investors.
Many of the mobile developers surveyed said they were frustrated by changing development practices and technology. They also find themselves impeded by a shortage of time, a lack of tools and financial constraints - all of which can discourage them from delivering new solutions.
If these challenges can be overcome, the number of developers producing mobile apps may rise. The demand is there on the consumer side, but what is needed is the participation of the most talented IT professionals - those who are capable of pushing the boundaries.