App economy creates nearly half a million US jobs

With all the gloomy news regarding the economy doing the rounds these days, it’s good to hear that there are some industries doing well.

For example, research sponsored by TechNet, a group of bipartisan business executives from the tech world, has revealed that America’s app economy currently accounts for nearly half a million jobs. Not bad for an industry that didn’t even exist before 2007, when Apple’s app-hungry iPhone was introduced to the world.

Conducted by Dr. Michael Mandel of South Mountain Economics LLC, the study also shows that the 466,000 or so workers in the fledgling industry are located throughout the US and not just in tech hotspots like Silicon Valley.

In fact, coming at the top of the list of metro areas for app developer concentration was New York City and the suburban areas surrounding it.


State-wise, California heads the list, with a large number of developers basing themselves in places like San Francisco and San Jose, so not surprisingly Silicon Valley does figure prominently in TechNet’s stats.

While California accounts for one in four app economy jobs, two-thirds of those in the industry can be found located outside California and New York, with states such as Georgia, Florida and Illinois home to a large number of app developers.

With the industry developing so rapidly, TechNet said it’s inevitable that the demographics of the industry will change significantly in the coming years.

TechNet also explained that app economy jobs include those at “at ‘pure’ app firms such as Zynga as well as app-related jobs at large companies such as Electronic Arts, Amazon, and AT&T, [and also] app ‘infrastructure’ jobs at core firms such as Google, Apple, and Facebook.”

Positions in the industry include programmers, user interface designers, marketers, managers and support staff.

Fast growing

TechNet’s president and CEO Rey Ramsey commented on the study’s findings, saying, “America’s app economy–which had zero jobs just five years ago before the iPhone was introduced–demonstrates that we can quickly create economic value and jobs through cutting-edge innovation.”

He added, “Today, the App Economy is creating jobs in every part of America, employing hundreds of thousands of US workers today and even more in the years to come.”

In only four years, a plethora of app stores supporting various devices has come into existence, including:

– Amazon Appstore for Android

– Apple App Store for iPhone and iPad

– Apple Mac App Store

– BlackBerry App World

– Google Android Market

– GetJar (the world’s largest free app store, for Android devices)

– Nokia Ovi Store

– Windows Phone 7 Marketplace

Apple’s App Store currently leads the pack in terms of the number of apps available, with the Cupertino company announcing in December last year that there are now more than half a million filling its virtual shelves.

Android developers appear to be working their socks off too, with mobile app analytics firm Distimo reporting last month that Google’s Android Market now has 400,000 apps available for download.

As smartphone ownership continues to rise around the world, so the market for app developers will go on growing. It’s been a remarkable journey for an industry so young, and for those developers who have unique ideas combined with broad appeal, a successful career awaits.

[Both images: iQoncept / Shutterstock]

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