The newest app? Creating jobs.
The entrepreneurial-minded app industry has created more than 520,000 jobs in its first five years – and should continue to be an area of growth in an otherwise weak economy.
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Most of the jobs are centered in the traditional tech powerhouses of California and Washington State – the homes of Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. But the app economy has also taken root in unexpected locales like Georgia and southwest Virginia.Skip to next paragraph
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The app boom is impressive, but is it enough to put America back to work? Andrew McAfee, associate director of the Center for Digital Business at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, isn't so sure.
"This idea of the app entrepreneur and this huge crowd of people making a ton of money off of apps – we need to be careful about that," Mr. McAfee cautions.
Tech companies are extremely productive, McAfee says, which means they don't need as many employees per dollar of revenue. What's more, some of the jobs advertised in the app industry are filled by programmers transitioning from older, obsolete software companies, he adds.
Some compare the infant industry to the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s. Wide-eyed entrepreneurs quit their day jobs with false hopes of making millions off a single app.
The risks didn't deter Johnson's boss at Raizlabs, Greg Raiz. He left a job at Microsoft to start the company as a one-man operation in 2003, growing it to four or five people by 2006. When the iPhone debuted in 2007, Mr. Raiz sensed opportunity and shifted the company's focus to mobile.
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As his company's 10th anniversary approaches, Raiz holds tight his original desire to make technology "more than just functional." "It should get done what it needs to get done," he says, "but it should be an enjoyable experience as well."