Within the technology field, there are many different career paths available, but arguably none as increasingly popular and sought-after as app development.
App Developers work with a wide range of mobile technologies, and are at the forefront of innovation, developing products that immediately affect and improve our lives. The sheer number of apps (and companies which want an app) means that this is a rapidly growing field, with new technology such as AI constantly accelerating.
We spoke to three professionals about their careers, discussing what they love about app development, the challenges they have faced and what it is like to lead a team.
“I Love to Transfer Knowledge”
Syed Waqas Haider is iOS Tech Lead at Daresay Digital Agency. Balancing management of a team of developers and hands-on coding, Syed has a focus on creating solutions for developers and training them to help them grow.
“I feel proud that I’ve trained so many developers whom I’ve worked with, I love to transfer knowledge. I think that’s because I learned it from someone so it is my social obligation to pass it on to other people, the ecosystem should not drop off or stop otherwise, we can’t make great professionals.”
The huge benefit of working with mobile technologies is the speed at which the technology is developing, and the opportunity to always work on something new and exciting.
“In mobile technologies, there’s everything new. For example, I did a lot of Siri, I worked on watch apps, I did widgets, a lot of AI. AI modules which you can teach the artificial neural networks to generate different sorts of interesting fields. I like that the data is not boring. And it is not boring when you’re working on these types of technologies.”
For people who are thinking about becoming an app developer, Syed recommends sticking to your strengths. There is a tendency to think that you have to follow everything that comes onto the market, but it is impossible to be an expert at everything – and not every new technology works out.
“Don’t try to be a master of everything. Then you cannot grow. You need to find something that excites you and gives you satisfaction and gives you happiness. Because there are a lot of things in the world to choose from. If you don’t go for what gives you an inner satisfaction when you work on it, then you cannot grow yourself.”
One of the biggest challenges that comes up when leading a team of app developers is building a team which is creative and fits together – and keeping hold of the talent once they have been hired, by keeping their interest and allowing them to be expressive.
“I want developers to be expressive, because everyone thinks differently, and they’re coding. There is no restriction on how you express your skills via code, your problem-solving skills, your efficiency skills.”
“I’ve Always Been Fascinated About the Boundary Where Technology Meets Man”
Daniel Saidi is an app developer based in Stockholm. After working for several exciting companies, he now freelances, carrying out development work on various projects. His love of app development comes from the ability to create products that a user can interact with, and that become a part of their everyday life.
“It’s a really nice way of being able to build systems that the end user actually cares about, and they can get some kind of emotional response from.”
Many people go into app development with a thirst for knowledge, and a love for lifelong learning is an important and valuable trait. However, Daniel points out that this can lead to overstretching, and his advice is to try to focus on the things that most interest you, rather than trying to become a master of everything.
“I’ve always tried to strive for the part of the technical play field that I find that I find most exciting. And I’ve also found that I’m still struggling to focus on the things that you want to become good at, and they think they have potential, then I have a tendency of spreading myself too thin, like working with iOS and Android and web and back end and API. I’m just doing too much at once.”
Management itself is a balancing act, and one that is extremely enjoyable with a motivated team.
“It’s exciting when you work with people who have an intrinsic motivation and the drive to want to become better. I think it’s harder when you have to also motivate.”
However, for Daniel, and many other app developer leaders, one of the most exciting elements of the role is being able to share that knowledge with those who are just beginning their careers. This is a common theme amongst developers we have spoken to; a passion for passing on information and knowledge.
“Being able to teach people who want to learn good development practices, to teach them new concepts, new books, new tools in their tool belt, that’s something that I really treasure.”
“These Challenges have Pushed Me Towards Learning More”
Ali Ozinan is a Full Stack Developer at FoodFriends AB, working on back end and front end applications for iOS and Android.
For Ali, taking the time to obtain knowledge about the operating systems and network infrastructures work plays an important role in making a success of the role.
“I can definitely recommend everyone who wants to start this journey to gain a deeper level of understanding about how these operating systems and network infrastructures are working since the applications we are coding are running on them. I noticed that it becomes much easier to see what could go wrong with this kind of insight while working on the projects.”
This deeper understanding provides a better vision of the full working of the application, boosting performance and giving a base from which to develop effectively.
Many of the challenges in the role of an app developer come from the need to utilise different operating systems, and for Ali the solution is to continue learning and try to understand as much as possible about the different processes.
“Although my previous career background was on IT and Microsoft based network systems as being a certified professional, the challenges I experienced during my developer career path also have shown me that I should go towards learning more about the Linux operating system.”
Managing app developers has been an exciting experience for Ali. Leading projects and getting the best out of teams is a passion for him, and he enjoyed the challenge of teaching teams and developing their skills.
“In my previous workplace, I had joined the team as a full stack developer, then we were also looking for a project manager CTO, so I was offered to the role and I had happily accepted it. The position looked quite challenging at a glance, but later on, I was able to take on a supportive role as a team leader and pay attention to keep a friendly communication with my team-mates, which resulted with a harmony amongst everyone and brought up success.”