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Booming app market is driving startups to offer mobile technology courses

BANGALORE: The rising demand for mobile application developers is spawning new opportunities for a number of young ventures in a nascent industry. Startup firms have sprung up to offer a mix of short-duration courses as well as formal university-level programmes to churn out professionals with knowledge of emerging mobile technologies.

With people turning in their millions to smartphones and other mobile devices to communicate, amuse and educate themselves, developing applications on platforms such as Google's 
Android, Apple'siOS and Windows 8 is changing from being a hobby to a career choice. "There will be demand for three lakh mobile application developers in the next five years in India," said Ashwin Ajila, founder of iNurture Education Solutions, which creates curriculum and supplies trained faculty for a master's programme in mobile application development at Gujarat University. 

The Bangalore-based company is in negotiations with four other universities for similar tie-ups. For Venkat Nallapati, who launched a mobile app development company AdeptPros four years ago, it was the difficulty in hiring talent which led him to set up his own training venture GeniusPro that now offers courses for employees at larger firms such as Infosys,
HCL TechnologiesBSE 0.79 % and SAP. "We realised this was a major problem not only for us but also for other companies," said Nallapati. 

The Indian mobile app market is currently valued at Rs 1,800 crore and US based research firm MarketsandMarkets estimates that the global market for mobile apps, which most Indian app development firms target, will reach $25 billion (over Rs 1.5 lakh crore) by 2015. India itself is one of the fastest-growing mobile phone markets in the world, where over 200 million mobile handsets are expected to have been sold in 2012. 

Smartphone sales in the country more than doubled in 2012 to reach 22 million units, according to telecommunications market researcher 
Convergence Catalyst. 

Till recently, many application developers were self-taught, using instructions provided online. But, as large companies now look for skilled professionals the need for formal training is critical. A study by the National Association for Software and Services Companies earlier this year found that mobile app development was among the top five skills in demand at IT services companies. "An IT employee today will need at least some amount of knowledge in mobility as clients are demanding mobile apps for solutions built for them," said Sangeeta Gupta, senior vice-president, Nasscom.