To many outsiders Iowa would seem an unlikely place for an app boom, but not to those at the center of the state’s current app industry. Iowa ranks nationally among several categories – Cedar Rapids has the 9th-highest concentration of app development professionals of all cities in the nation, while the southeastern rural portions of the state have the highest number of app developers of all non-metropolitan areas in the country. Iowa also has the highest number of internet service providers in the nation.
Iowa attracts app professionals in part because of strong statistical growth figures. At the launch of the iPhone in 2007 there were just slightly over 4,000 app developers working across the state, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Today that number is well on its way to doubling, having grown to 7,530 professionals, who earn on average $79,850 per year. Going into the future, the Iowa Workforce Development agency projects app developer jobs will increase by another 18 percent during the decade leading up to 2022.
Iowa’s national app prominence and strong future projections have a lot to do with the infrastructure developments in which the state has been investing over past decade, plus the creative businesses based here that attract talented professionals.
Infrastructure Developments for Iowa’s App Industry
Today the vast majority of Iowa residents have a choice between at least four wireless network providers and 72 percent of people have access to broadband internet connections. The New Albin Big Lake Wildlife Management Area is virtually the only place in the sate where coverage might be an issue.
The coverage and speed that might be taken for granted today have not always existed. In 2009 there were not even one million residential internet connections in the state – that number stood at 847,000. Today these connections have more than doubled to over two million, with the FCC estimating that there are more than 1.47 million smart phones and other mobile wireless devices in circulation throughout the state. In 2012 the wireless communication industry trade group CTIA estimated that Iowa’s app industry generates $49 million each year.