If you’re a developer hunting for a job, you need to understand the demand for new technology skills. It’s hard to know where you place your bets. Learning the wrong skills means lost earnings and opportunity costs. Luckily, there’s data out there to help us understand technology trends and where the market is heading. Right now, mobile development is growing and developers are faced with two choices: Android or iOS?
We dive into three useful tools to understand these trends.
- oDesk, a popular outsourcing site
- Indeed, a top search engine for jobs
- Google, the defacto search engine
Each of these sites provides a visual way of understanding tech trends with a different filter or lens.
oDesk charts the number of contract jobs per technology area over a year-long period. Only a subset of technologies are shown below.
We can definitely see some trends during the past year. ActiveX has seen a sizable upward bump, Amazon needs also grew in demand, C++ remained relatively flat. The graphs provide some insight, but we need to dig further because these trends are not shown relative to one another, meaning one technology graph could average 100 jobs per month, while another could average 10,000. Hence, as the saying goes: there are lies, there are damned lies and there are statistics.
Odesk does provide data on how many absolute jobs are posted per month, if you drill into the data. For example, the graph below shows the number of Android jobs (contracts) started at roughly 1500 in November of 2011, peaked at over 2500 in October, and has now settled to under 2000 or so in June of 2012.
Let’s experiment. I mentioned earlier we need to place our bets, and mobile development is where the current growth exists. So where is mobile development headed? If we compare the Android development contracts (above) to iPhone jobs (below), we can see that they roughly follow the same curve. However, in absolute terms, currently, there are about 1000 more iPhone jobs per month than Android jobs on oDesk.
Let’s re-examine mobile development needs data, switching from a short term (oDesk) perspective to a longer term perspective (Indeed).
If you use the same terms, Android Developer and iPhone Developer on Indeed, you’ll see it appears that Android development has overtaken iPhone development in January of 2011. However, that doesn’t reveal the entire story. Since many apps have released for iTouch and iPad (in addition to iPhone), it has been more common to denote Apple product development jobs iOS Developer.
Now if we compare the new terminology that started in late 2010 (iOS), iOS development jobs have actually outpaced Android in late 2011.
Finally, let’s move to Google. Google captures all user searches and plots them relative to each other via Google Trends. This provides a glimpse of what people are interested in, researching, considering, and so forth. Using the same terminology, it’s relatively clear that interest in Android development has spiked. However, as we saw in earlier graphs, interest (represented by searches) hasn’t translated to equivalent jobs, represented by oDesk and Indeed.
Where would you place your bets?