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Facebook App Development: A Growing Industry

Who hires Facebook app developers? It’s not just Facebook. According to Facebook Guru, a social media company, Facebook boasts more than 350,000 applications, most of them created by third party developers. Many companies use Facebook as part of their social media strategy. They often have unique graphics and a variety of branded applications on their fan page. Applications can include everything from interactive games and “gifts” to trivia contests, news feeds, and business functions.

Facebook boasts more than 350,000 applications, most of them created by third party developers.

Developers also work on making companies’ regular websites Facebook-friendly, adding plug-ins that authenticate users, integrate Open Graph functions, and allow for various types of social integration. A self-publishing platform might, for example, have a function that allowed writers to automatically tag their articles with Open Graph labels.

Virtually anyone with some programming know-how can create a basic app for their business. Some companies want to go far beyond the basics, though, and they hire software engineers who are knowledgeable about project management, maintenance, and scalability, as well as programming. Ultimately, businesses are paying for business success, not just coding. A software developer can build a portfolio – and a career – creating apps for Facebook. There are some big name companies hiring app developers”—even Walmart. Some social media companies specialize in Facebook and other custom APIs. A software developer can build a portfolio – and a career – creating apps for Facebook.

Facebook – as a strategy and a skill – is coming to the attention of employers. Odesk, the largest online global employment platform, releases regular reports which detail what skills employers are citing in their job ads. The July 2011 Online Employment Report boasts large increases in quite a number of requested skills. Facebook API tops the list with a 2171% increase year over year. Increase in jobs posted is more modest, with social media marketing and mobile apps both registering 5% increases.

Preparing for a Career in the Industry: Becoming a Facebook App Developer

Software developers may be hired specifically for Facebook, for combined Facebook/ Twitter, or to work on a variety of mobile platforms.

Facebook API tops the list of employer's most requested skills with a 2171% increase year over year. ~ July 2011 Online Employment Report

There are a number of degree options for an aspiring developer. It is possible to focus your degree on web applications. You can study software development or app development. App development may be combined with design or quality assurance. Coursework may include programming, project management, database design, and IT as well as an introduction to different platforms and technologies. There may be a capstone project which provides real world experiences. Computer science and software engineering are also viable options. Internships are key for anyone in the software industry.

Some companies don’t specify a minimum education level – merely a variety of skills (HTML, Java, Python, Apache, MySql). Others require a bachelor’s or master’s degree. They may ask for knowledge of particular lifecycle models, for example, Agile. Employers will likely want to see a portfolio of completed apps. Those considering social media software development will likely want to look at the portfolios of some established companies.

Facebook App Development Companies

Companies that specialize in application development for third parties include AES Connect, Facebook Guru, and SocialCubix. AES Connect was begun by a former Google software engineer and has grown to include eight contractors as well as two full-time staff.

SocialCubix designs applications for Facebook and mobile (including iPad and iPhone). One of their Facebook success stories was setting up a “Rate Your Suzuki” application which allowed Facebook users to scroll through cars and rate them and make comments. The application has garnered 150,000 responses – valuable information for Suzuki. SocialCubix continues to hire developers for its empire. Among the recently posted positions is PHP developer.

Some developers do contract or freelance work to leverage their careers. They may use platforms like Elance to connect with businesses. Sometime contract work can lead to permanent or long term careers.

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