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Will 2011 Be The Year of the Enterprise Mobile Developer?

Sybase technical evangelist Ian Thain has suggested that the majority of the attendees currently visiting developer events and conventions today perceive that the technical and business "hurdles" for enterprise mobility adoption have mostly been overcome. Thain's comments come in the wake of yesterday's launch of Apple's Mac App Store, which the company is using to try and champion the cause of all code creation, including enterprise mobility development on iOS for mobile devices.

Thain says more and more companies are realizing that mobile applications will give their "information workers" the benefit of having data and access where they want it and when they want it. This in turn will make them more productive and proactive, which can only lead to a greater competitive edge.

"It is my belief that 2011 be the year that many software engineers will cross-train to mobile development, to embark on and support the ever-increasing need to unwire corporate data and systems to mobile devices. What I am expecting to see is more corporate developers adding programming languages such as Objective-C to their list of skills, for iOS application development, predominately on iPad," said Thain.

Writing on his own blog, Thain goes on to say that there is one true certainty in mobile development, "These will not be one off developments, but multiple developments for multiple solutions and they also will have to target multiple devices, as mobility moves forward. So another part of the new 'Mobile Corporate Developer' concept will be the usage and skills related to the mobile enterprise application platform itself — and how this eases and speeds development for those multiple projects and devices."

Thain's take on the skillsets and attributes needed to become a great enterprise mobility developer are as follows:

An enterprise mobile developer should...

  • Be aware of device and OS constraints
  • Be aware of device and OS capabilities
  • Be aware of bandwidth limitations
  • Be aware of what makes sense to mobilize, with regard to functionality and datasets of the original (legacy) system
  • Be familiar with possibilities for data movement and data storage
  • Realize that designing and building a mobile application changes the initial GUI design and experience phase from 25% to 60%
  • Keep up to date with trends and predictions concerning mobile platforms
  • Network with mobile groups

Figure 1 shows a diagrammatic representation of how a matrix of complexity can grow very easily if would-be enterprise mobile developers do not take heed of the aforementioned pointers.

[Click image to view at full size]
Figure 1: Image courtesy of Sybase —

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