There’s a contentious post at TechCrunch by Elad Gil, who built Google’s first mobile team, that claims you don’t need to hire mobile experts to do mobile development.
In some ways I agree. There are many general computer science and process skills that are just as important as experience on a particular mobile platform. For example, communication skills, deep knowledge of algorithms, data structures, analysis techniques and design skills can greatly influence the success of your project. I have also previously written that process is a success factor for mobile projects.
Having said all this, I think you should try to find people who have these skills AND mobile platform skills. The context of Elad’s post was having built Google’s first mobile team. Unfortunately, real World companies don’t have infinite financial resources and instead the emphasis is getting a project out as soon as possible with minimal risk.
Too many people come to me with half-completed projects that have failed due to lack of feasibility or failed assumptions. There are also issues of programming complexity and missed requirements. Experience in mobile can mitigate some of these issues and risks. In today’s financial climate companies need to hit the ground running. They don’t have luxury of learning on the job.