Revving the motor city mobile industry

It might make sense that in the Motor City, automakers are the engine of the mobile technology industry.  Programs like Onstar and Sync have essentially made cars a large mobile device.  What might surprise you, however, is that the mobile application industry in Michigan has enough traction to grow beyond automotive applications.

Just ask Cynthia Grubbs, Small Business Liaison with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

“The industry in Michigan is very robust and excellent to work with.  The people involved are very excited and the applications they’ve created cover a lot of bases,” she notes.  “The industry is growing so quickly that companies are having trouble predicting their hiring needs.”

Paul Czarnik, the Chief Technology Officer at Compuware concurs.  He has found that with colleges and university’s focused on more traditional Information Technology (IT) coursework, that the skillset of new graduates is not always suited for developing mobile phone applications.  He has also found that seasoned IT professionals who formerly worked on mainframe computers and older computer networks have an easily adaptable skillset. This is a good thing for an experienced group that some had written off as passe or too old.

“People with an older skill set are able to pick up mobile very quickly,” states Czarnik. “Older skills surround the issues of resource performance very well.”

To help find and develop talent along with building the knowledge of the mobile application developer community, both Compuware and the MEDC are helping found the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan (MTAM).  Still in its infancy, the trade association would be a central hub for information about the size and health of the industry as well as helping the deep bench of IT talent gain training in the mobile industry.

Czarnik says this is important because getting design right is a big challenge, from making sure applications work across different mobile devices, different mobile software and the performance of the mobile network.  Being able to manage these challenges is just as important as knowing how to program websites.

With a plan for helping companies better navigate the mobile industry, Grubbs knows this is just an added feature to Michigan’s strong and growing reputation in the IT field.

“We do have an excellent reputation for our IT workforce in Michigan.  People call us for that reason,” she stated.  “We don’t have to make a case for Michigan.  That case has already been made.”

For people interested in anything related to mobile technology, they are encouraged to attend a Mobile Monday meeting in either Detroit (tonight) on December 13, 2010 or in Ann Arbor on December 13, 2010.

And for more information, here’s three links for you:

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