IT contractors could profit from mobile skills

Monday 9 September 2013

IT contractors are well aware that, as skills shortages begin to bite within their industry, demand is climbing higher and higher for their considerable expertise. But it seems that even for experienced contractors there may still be more to learn, as new research from finds that mobile technology is the way forward for growth.

According to the IT recruiter’s Mobile Skills Report, two-thirds of professionals in the sector believe that by 2016, all developers will be expected to have skills or experience in mobile technology - which may explain why nearly three out of four say that they’re eager to get involved with mobile projects. But, despite their best intentions, it appears relatively few have so far managed to gain the skills they consider to be crucial - six out of ten technology workers said they had never taken part in a mobile project.

Even so, this does not necessarily mean that IT workers can never engage with mobile technology. More than half said that they believed they had the right experience to take on a mobile project, with 78 per cent insisting that their web skills would be sufficient. Nevertheless, CWJobs says that companies are looking for staff with a proven track record in mobile technology specifically, which it fears could mean some professionals are being unduly overlooked.

Perhaps this explains why 52 per cent said they still planned to "skill-up" to make sure they can work on mobile projects as part of future assignments. The report suggests that this climate is perfect for interested parties who want to develop their knowledge in their spare time, which will impress businesses looking for those who are keen to embrace new technologies.

When asked why they would want to work on their mobile skills, IT professionals have often said that they are interested in the new technologies being developed through the use of mobile operating systems. Just under an eighth of workers said that augmented reality would be a primary driver of job growth in the IT sector, while 13 per cent said the same of wearable computing, such as Google Glass or the long-rumoured Apple iWatch. Another 17 per cent said they expected compound apps to drive job creation.

But the technologies expected to generate the greatest job growth by far were mobile payment platforms, voted for by 22 per cent of professionals. The report says that three out of five professionals believe mobile payment platforms will be widespread in the UK by 2015, which coincides with figures showing that the mobile payments market is expected to be worth $600 billion (£383 billion) worldwide by the end of this year. Specifically within mobile roles, 47 per cent of IT workers say they anticipate payments will be the biggest driver of growth.

In the first quarter of this year, says that web traffic from mobiles shot up by 78 per cent compared to the same period in 2012. It is therefore unsurprising that the report cites figures showing that nearly four out of five businesses plan to spend more on mobile in the future.

By Victoria McDonnell

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