How to take advantage of the Apple v Samsung battle

The continuous battle for smartphone supremacy is driving me crazy. And I know I’m not alone.

So far, this battle has put RIM, Nokia and Motorola Mobility on the ReadWriteWeb death watch. And it could cost Samsung a cool $1 billion in their famous copyright battle with Apple.

This battle has cost countless numbers of people their jobs. It wasn’t surprising that our post Next steps after getting laid off from RIM struck a chord when RIM laid off 3,000 of their Waterloo workers this past August.

I can imagine how it must feel as a mobile developer, knowing your brilliant innovations have about a three-month shelf life.
But not everyone is annoyed by this rapid pace of change. Some businesses are thriving in this tough marketplace. Samsung and Apple, for instance. And some local Toronto mobile companies like Novx, Polar Mobile and Synacor.
Many enterprising people are profiting from this smartphone madness, too. It has created a shortage of IT talent. That means there are plenty of job opportunities for developers, programmers, designers, and user experience experts with the right skills and experience.
I’m going to tell you how you can be one of these people.
And the best smartphone is…
The truth is that all of the top smartphones are great. And we’re like lemmings, chasing after the next best thing. It’s the three-year contract that keeps most of us tied to our smartphones.
This Jimmy Kimmel video shows how we’re being played by Apple (and Samsung) because we’re so obsessed with keeping up with the latest and the greatest.
You can’t help but feel ripped off when our brand-new iPhone 4S suddenly looks like chopped liver with the release of the iPhone 5. But it goes way beyond “ripped off” if you lost your job even though you are developing smartphones that are just as good as the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy.
Make a career out of continuous smartphone evolutions
If you’re making a career out of mobile technologies, you’re in luck. You can find endless opportunities to catapult your career by riding this wave of continuous evolution. Here are some tips:
Rise above the madness. See the big picture. In fact, you can make a career out of doing so.
Play the field. Let go of your commitment to a certain platform. Face the truth that all of the top smartphones are great, with relatively minor pros and cons. Android, Apple, Blackberry, Window 7 — You really can’t go wrong as a consumer.
Never stop learning. As a developer, you really can’t go wrong either. But you have to be willing to learn continuously. Keep upgrading your skills. Try to learn enough about every top mobile platform so you can switch teams or straddle multiple platforms anytime it suits your career. Keep adding languages and skills to your repertoire. (For more tips, read How to transition from programmer to mobile developer).
Position yourself as a multiplatform expert – Social media is your best friend. Write blog posts , comment on blog posts, participate in discussions on LinkedIn, put an open-source project on Github, share on Google+, answer questions on Quora, and mentor at training events and hackathons. The opportunities to get your name out there as a subject matter expert are endless.
5 benefits of continuous smartphone evolution
1) More jobs. The continuous release of new hardware with new operating systems means a continuous flow of work to update apps.
2) Leadership opportunities. Companies are always in need of project managers and team leaders to help them navigate the continuous change. You can help companies keep their Web sites/apps working on the new devices.
3) Job requirements are loosening up. The shortage of developers with experience is forcing employers to loosen up on their job requirements, and give people the opportunity to train on the job. However, you need to be open to a lower salary when you first accept a job that you’re not exactly qualified for.
4) It gets easier every time you learn a new OS, SDK or programming language.
5) You’re never alone. a huge online community is publically solving the same problems you are facing.
Has smartphone madness been good for you?
Where do you stand in the battle for smartphone supremacy? Has it been good or bad for your career?

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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