Every year, we’re getting… younger?

At BlackBerry Jam Europe, I was asked what was surprising to me about working with the BlackBerry developer community over the last year; and I replied how rapidly the average age of developers is decreasing.  This observation is supported by both market research sources, and what I have observed first hand.

Last summer on the BlackBerry Jam World Tour, part of the event was a “lightning pitch” contest.  We usually had ten to twelve developers participate; they had five minutes to demo and pitch their app to the crowd.  What was notable is that the youngest winner of a lightning round was sixteen years old!  The youngest “pitcher” that participated was 13!  There were many exceptional young people who competed, all of whom had demonstrated advanced programming skills, and were not afraid to speak in front of audiences of several hundred people.

At our events I speak with college students who have already published multiple apps on multiple platforms.  What’s fascinating is the degree of sophistication they possess; they tell me about analyzing download and sales data and how that lead them to localize their apps to better target other countries.  Others instrument their code to see what their customers are really doing with their apps.  I had a group this week walk me through all the different business models they’ve tried with their apps, from free w/ads to paid and even in app purchase and how they’ve optimized the revenue potential of their apps, this is phenomenal.

I always leave our events inspired by the passion and creativity of the developers I meet.  But these young developers who have developed such great technical and business skills so young, I can’t wait to see what they are going to do next.

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