The Implications of Every Flash Developer Being a Mobile Developer

There’s an article in the Wall Street journal today about the demand and insufficient supply of mobile developers, which is becoming a huge problem for companies as mobile strategy becomes more and more critical. One of the main problems, as the WSJ draws out, is that these mobile platforms are relatively new so it’s tough to find developers with a lot of experience. Many companies are turning to good developers and retraining them as mobile developers to fill demand.

If a software engineer doesn’t have mobile experience, the company has sometimes been willing to spend several weeks training the engineer to work on mobile platforms, Mr. Rosenthal said.

Given the mismatch between supply and demand, many companies say they have no choice but to retrain software engineers in the art of mobile development. In the last year, Major League Baseball’s Internet company MLB.com nearly doubled the number of mobile engineers it has to 19, said MLB.com CEO Bob Bowman.

I thought this article was a perfect complement to the announcement this week of Flash Builder 4.5 and Flex 4.5, which are focused explicitly on helping Flex developers build applications for mobile devices like iOS, Android, and the PlayBook. There is obviously huge demand for mobile applications, and because of scarce supply and experience, existing developers are going to have to think about how they can gain mobile experience. Flex mobile does a fantastic job of making that learning curve smaller by letting Flex developers use what they already know and providing some key mobile features (like ViewNavigator for managing views, the ActionBar for managing global navigation, etc) so that they can quickly turn out Flex applications for these mobile devices.

If you’re a Flash or Flex developer, then with AIR for mobile devices and Flex 4.5, you’ve got the skills to go out and build applications for the biggest platforms. That’s a huge advantage to you as a developer and for any developer who doesn’t want to get locked into a specific platform. As the chart below shows, there are a lot of people looking for experts in iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry, but there are a lot more people who are looking for Flash experts. With this release, you get the best of both worlds.

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