This is a series of blog post I wanted to write aimed at .Net developers and how mobility has an impact on the skills you have. I am not sure how many posts I will write in this series, but initially I think there will be at least 2-3. So here goes…
Say you are a .NET developer and have built skills over the past couple of years around either the web or the desktop development platforms. So you have spent time to build skills around C#/VB, .NET framework, SQL Server and maybe even WCF which are common across different development platforms that make up the Microsoft stack.
Now you have been hit by the mobility wave and you are at a cross road. What can you do? Do you take the easiest option and upgrade your skills to WindowsRT (the new .NET framework derivative that is part of Windows 8
Metro Modern Apps) or abandon ship and move to the other more successful mobile platforms like iOS/Android etc. Obviously if you had been a Java developer the path to Android is quite easy, but do you want to abandon the years you spent building your .NET skills and jump ship?
Well this post start off with the easiest option. Moving your skills to WindowsRT. This is an absolute child’s play for people who have been working WPF/Silverlight platforms because your XAML skills come into play directly. You will still have to learn the new UX design language and the constraints that WinRT puts, but it is a simple path to take. The biggest challenge I see people facing is not usually from the UX design, but rather understanding the things they cannot do. E.g. if you are trying to do complex stuff around encryption, then the WinRT limited support for the cryptography namespace can literally may you tear you hairs out..:)
If you are on the web side of development, then WinRT still is an option, as you can move your HTML/JS skills over using the HTML5/JS approach to build Modern apps. Again there is some skill building needed, but still I think it is quite an easy upgrade curve for your skills.
The other gotcho here is that Windows8 and Windows Phone8 are still not on the same development platform. So you will have to build extra skills (it is not only the UI/form factor changing like in iOS/Android, but the APIs/platform themselves changing) if you need to target both tablets and phones on the windows platform. Again something that may get solved as the two platforms integrate and unify sometime in the future (nobody knows for sure when though).
The only problem with the easy approach, is that it is dependent on Windows 8 (your apps are not going to run on Win7 machines, nor or on other mobile platforms). So this is dependent on Windows8 being successful in the mobile space and that is a tough call as of now. Even though the number of Win8 licenses being sold maybe increasing and you are seeing new tablet devices out there, these are nowhere near getting a big enough market share in the near future to dethrone any of the existing leaders.
If the enterprise you are with is going to adopt Window8 or WP8, then this is the easiest skill upgrade path for you to get into the mobile world.