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Today’s post is written by Bill Wagner of SRT Solutions and Jennifer Marsman of Microsoft.

Businesses strive to be profitable. People want to be valued for their skills and contributions. The best way to manage your career for longevity is to accept those truths and ensure that your skills enable your company’s profitability.

I think the software industry understands that truth better than most. The software industry moves very fast. It is constantly updating itself, creating new devices, new platforms, new development paradigms, and being asked to solve new problems for customers. The best software professionals are always keeping half an eye open for the next major wave of technology. That’s going to keep them relevant; it’s going to help their customers become and remain profitable.

As we keep an eye out for opportunities, sometimes we see ones that are so large, and so clearly a good move, that we have to invest a lot of energy in learning and preparing to leverage that opportunity. We see one of those large opportunities right now, and that’s the reason for this series of blog posts.

The opportunity is Windows 8.

That may surprise you, because other platforms and technologies are receiving a lot of positive media buzz now. But, consider these facts (as of Dec 2011):

  • The number of Windows 7 devices is 550 Million.
  • The number of Android phone devices is 234 Million.
  • The number of iPhone devices is 112 Million.
  • The number of iPad devices is 40 Million.
  • The number of Android tablet devices is 13 Million.

There is a significant advantage to being ready for this market early. Both the Android marketplace and the Apple App Store have more than 500,000 apps available for download. It’s now very difficult to stand out among that many apps. Contrast that with the Windows Store: During the Consumer Preview, there are a limited number of apps available for download. Those apps are primarily created by Microsoft partners. Microsoft is working hard to engage developers and companies to have a quality app store experience when Windows 8 launches. But, there will almost certainly be less than 500,000 apps available for launch. Right now, your app can stand out because there are fewer apps with which to compete.

Any smart business will be looking at this as a major market opportunity.

Therefore, smart, forward thinking developers will be growing their skills as a Windows 8 App Developer.

In future posts we’ll discuss programs that can help developers and companies learn more about this opportunity and gain the skills and insight to be successful.

Grow your skills, grow the economy.