I didn't run the press release yesterday, but apparently other bloggers took the bait. Basically, this company called "oDesk" (which I had never heard of before receiving their press release) claims that the demand for iPhone Developers is up 500% in six months.
Of course, this is based on "internal data" with a sampling size that is admittedly too small to be valid. Besides, six months ago, the SDK wasn't even stable and you couldn't distribute apps yet. It was the era of first-wavers, and with the exception of a few large companies that Apple got on board with them, most of the first-wavers were individuals and small Mac development shops.
Now with huge App Store success stories running rampant and general consensus being that the App Store is a runaway success (albeit with few hiccups along the way), of course everyone wants in! There's gold in them thar hills! It's no longer risky to jump into the fray. Those of us who saw the opportunity for what it is from the start and jumped in with both feet (in my case, turning my back on a client-base I had been developing for almost a decade in the process) got a head start because we took a chance. We trusted our judgment and jumped.
Now, all this press release really says is that some johnny-com-lately company has realized we were right and wants to cash-in on that missed opportunity. And though the numbers look good on the surface (or would if they were statistically valid), crap like this actually sucks for our platform. This is the kind of things that college and high-school students read and say "Oh, I want to be an iPhone developer". And, of course, most of them don't want to be an iPhone developer because they love tinkering or programming or problem solving. They want to be an iPhone developer because they envision themselves making big bucks with little effort, spending their days sitting in hot tubs with playmates, driving expensive cars, and otherwise living the high life.
(Just for the record, that is not the life of any iPhone developer I know, except maybe Wil Shipley, but I only know him by reputation.)
It's like those Microsoft Certified Training programs with the radio ads that promise to take somebody who doesn't know jack shit about computers and in six weeks turn them into a "certified" guru who can handle any job that needs to be handled.All this shit floods the market with people who don't know their ass from a hole in the ground. It drives up rates in the short term and causes them to crash in the long run, and it makes it miserably hard for companies to find developers who knows what they're doing unless they happen to already have somebody who's technically knowledgeable about the SDK who can weed out the chaff.
I guess it's inevitable. Success attracts. And, in the long run, it's probably good for the platform, but there's going to be some rough times ahead as a result. I wish success only attracted the right people and for the right reasons.