“I” is for “Information”; “A” is for “Application”
Last spring, when the ATETV segment on Information Technology jobs first aired, EMC’s Todd Matthews told us, “More digital data will be produced in the next two years than was produced in the last ten.”
Wow. Needless to say, this enormous amount of data speaks to the extraordinarily rapid pace at which the field of Information Technology is growing and expanding, impacting virtually every aspect of our personal and professional lives. And there’s no sign of a slow down in sight – to the contrary, new technologies are being developed at break-neck speeds!
Earlier this year a story in Bloomberg Businessweek took note of this phenomenon in its story marking the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the dot.com, writing, “In just the past few years, we have seen a range of new products – smart phones, netbooks and tablet PCs come to market, along with a proliferation of applications.”
Ahh, applications, better known as “apps.” Essentially a software program for mobile devices – the aforementioned smart phones and tablet PCs – apps range in size and complexity. Today’s emerging new apps are extending way beyond fun and games to more serious goals of energy efficiency, health care, personal safety, and productivity. For example, Bloomberg Business Week reports that utility companies are rolling out Internet-connected devices that empower consumers to use energy more efficiently, enabling consumers to shut off the lights from their phone. Intelligent transportation systems integrated with GPS navigators and phone applications already let users know about real-time traffic conditions and steer them away from traffic jams, wasted gas and jangled nerves.
In fact, some sources predict that mobile apps may play an important role in boosting our struggling economy.
It’s happened before. According to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, since the personal computer was first introduced in 1976, IT has helped expand the U.S. economy by an estimated $2 trillion. (In fact, according to a 2008 ITIF report, IT has transformed virtually every sector of the economy with the $500 billion trucking industry saving $16 billion annually through the use of on-board computers that enable companies to better track and more efficiently dispatch truck to farmers using the Internet to buy and send fertilizer, track market prices and sell crops and governments issuing EZ passes to automate toll collections.)
But getting back to apps: According to the Christian Science Monitor, the growth in revenue from apps ($3 billion last year) compares favorably with the PC revolution of the 1980s, which helped to lift the economy. And, as ITIF analyst Stephen Ezell noted, “Mobile applications will be a huge driver of employment. You have tens of thousands of people writing mobile applications, and I’m sure an increasing amount of e-commerce will be driven on the device. A mobile phone now is a communication and computing platform and that’s going to drive real transformation.”
If this sounds appealing, check out the Yahoo! Education website, which outlines seven different areas of employment in the mobile apps field are highlighted. Or listen to ITConversations, where you can hear IT and Communications leaders discuss various aspects of apps: From cloud computing, data driven applications, and requirements of mobile access applications to the ways that Facebook and other social network tools are adapting their use of applications to keep users engaged.