This short blog was inspired by MSDN Magazine editor Keith Ward’s editorial note in the May 2011 edition of MSDN magazine.
Mobile/smartphone/iPad apps seem to be the rage these days. Almost everyone is coming up with an Android version of their software or announcing their skills to create apps on java phones etc.
Does that mean software for mainstream desktops, mainframes, websites are not in demand anymore? Certainly not. ‘Android’ is the latest buzzword today just like ASP.NET was the latest buzzword a few years back or VB6 was the hot thing even earlier than that. I remember way back in the early 90s when IBM AS/400 application development was in huge demand. But just because a new wave comes up does not mean that the rest of the platforms are dying a slow death.
So lets see, what can be done on a mobile platform? After thinking for 10 minutes I cant think of a single serious application which can be done on a mobile platform. Ever tried writing a two page document on your ipad or iphone or blackberry? What about creating a Powerpoint presentation? What about viewing your sales forecasts? Ok, you are a developer? Ever tried writing code using the blackberry keypad? Ever tried hosting a website on an Android phone? Or running an ERP application?
The point is apart from emails or light browsing , most mobiles or smartphones cant do much. They were basically meant to be phones and still remain phones through which you can communicate with the world. They dont have the processing power or the hardware resources to do anything more involved. And most important of all, you really cant do much with a tiny screen and a tiny keyboard.
So, if you are still not on the mobile bandwagon, take heart. Your C++ skills will still be required for the next few years at least. Mainstream development is not going out of fashion anytime soon. We still need big computers to do the serious stuff. So all you ASP.NET, PHP, Oracle, SAP, VC++ ,J2EE guys – dont worry, you will be around for a long time to come.
I have nothing against Android or Blackberry application development (I have a Blackberry myself). But I dont like it when people look down on you when you say that you are not on the Android application space yet. The advent of television didnt make movies obsolete, and the advent of cars didnt make bicycles obsolete.
Search for jobs on any major jobsite. The most in-demand skills are still Oracle, SAP, ASP.NET and C++. Android jobs are definitely there ,but they are not overshadowing other jobs in any way,
Lets take the the other end of the spectrum. COBOL , the dinosaur is still in huge demand. The average American still interacts with a COBOL program 13 times a day. 90% of global financial transactions are processed in COBOL.
As per the latest Nov 2011 salary surveys in USA, a COBOL programmer has an average salary of $66,000 , an ASP.NET developer gets about $60,000, a C++ developer gets about $80,000 and an Android developer gets about $16,000.
You dont write apps for the mobile platform? Thats not a problem really..