SOUTH FLORIDA (CBSMiami) – A Florida International University senior is developing an iPhone application called Pet Finder that will allow users to browse the dogs and cats at the local animal shelter or request an animal for adoption.
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald reports he is also part of a team creating mobile apps that track bank failures, issue alerts about earthquakes and organize homework assignments.
Raymond Gonzalez knows it's a well-calculated effort to learn as much as he can about mobile technology as quickly as possible.
Whether he starts his own company or works for someone else, Gonzalez is preparing to be a player in a high-paying, sizzling new industry, one that might provide the United States with a big opportunity to increase its exports in coming years.
While the overall economy still lags, the "app economy" has created nearly 500,000 jobs in the United States since 2007, when there were none.
Companies even worry that the nation isn't moving fast enough to produce new talent for thousands of unfilled jobs as consumers demand more and more gizmos and gadgets for their smartphones.
As a result, salaries are rising quickly: Mobile apps developers can expect pay increases of 9 percent next year, among the highest of any jobs, putting them in the range of $92,750 to $133,500 a year, according to a survey that the staffing and consulting firm Robert Half International released last month.
If the United States can maintain its dominance in the industry, many say the app economy could make a big dent in the country's federal trade deficit. Last year, for example, more than 20 percent of the apps downloaded in China were made by U.S. developers.
"There is unprecedented opportunity for America to capitalize on exploding international markets," Peter Farago, the vice president of marketing for Flurry, a high-tech startup in San Francisco, testified in September before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.
Farago said his company had more than 100 employees and 50 open positions and that "we literally cannot find the talent we need fast enough." He told members of the subcommittee that the app economy would become increasingly international and that the United States should do more to improve education and retraining programs and to make it easier for companies to bring and keep more talent from foreign countries.
"We're in a human capital crunch," added Rey Ramsey, the president and chief executive officer of TechNet, a network of technology executives that promotes the industry.
For more on the 'app economy', see the full article in The Miami Herald.
(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)
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