2011 was the United Nations international year of youth and in support of this I thought it would be good time to devote a career article to Dubai youth.
While youth unemployment levels in Europe and the Arab region remain generally high, the UAE is enjoying unemployment rates as low as 6.3% and this may even be lower within Dubai. This means that Dubai is potentially one of the most promising places in the world to be a graduate student at the moment. And with growth predicted across most if not all industry sectors in Dubai, Dubai based graduates are seemingly spoiled for choice in terms of profession or industry sector.
However, one exciting new growth area that students should be considering is mobile application development. It was highlighted in the Gulf News last month that mobile computing and application development is a very viable career option for students in Dubai and the UAE, due to the increasing penetration of smart-phones within Dubai, UAE and globally. Latest figures from the International Telecom Union estimated that there were 6 billion mobile subscriptions world-wide with 349 million of those existing in the Arab world and 11.9 million existing in the UAE.
Even though the market for mobile application development jobs is electric and demand for jobs is high, graduates should not expect to simply walk into jobs, competition will be stiff, and you will still need excellent grades and to perform well during the job application process if you are to land your dream job. Below, I have set out 4 useful tips on how Dubai youth can develop a career in the mobile applications development sector.
To be considered seriously for the cream of mobile application development jobs you will need a degree in IT or computing. During your degree course, try and do modules that focus on mobile computing in order to develop your expertise. The Zayed University in Dubai offers a mobile computing module in its IT degree, so this course might be a good option if you are considering a career in mobile computing.
Get the Right Experience – Write your own apps
Mobile application development is a fast-moving and dynamic industry requiring coders who are creative and entrepreneurial and who can spot opportunities and gaps in the market and develop high quality apps that meet consumers needs. Graduate job applicants with solid experience in mobile apps development will be more attractive than graduates who have no experience. And there should be no excuse for not having the experience; either you should have developed a mobile application as part of your degree, or you can simply have developed one in your own time as a hobby. Why stop at one? Develop as many mobile apps as you can in your spare time.
Skills you need to possess as highlighted in Computer Weekly
Strong Java, HTML and good all-round technical skills are a must if you want to be able to develop mobile applications. Also, programmers who have a good appreciation of modern object-oriented programming, and who have a good understanding of user interfaces and design patterns are highly sought after. It is also useful if you have expertise in the APIs and user interface toolkits on the main mobile platforms such as Apple IOS and Google Android.
Consider working on freelance sites such as elance and odesk
Elance is a website for freelancers and today alone (29th May as I write this article), there are currently 697 mobile applicant development assignments available on there which anyone in the world with a computer and internet connection can bid on. Between Q1 2010 and Q1 2011, Computer Weekly reported that job postings for Android developers increased by 300%.
Potentially, you could have bid on, won and be working on a mobile applications development project within a week, assuming that you have the skills.