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A Day in the Life of an App Developer

Heather Kay, App Developer at Apadmi

The mobile app industry has seen huge growth over the last decade, as smartphone ownership has increased and mobile technology has advanced, allowing more functions and services to be delivered with a mobile app. 

As a result, the job market potential in the mobile application space has grown immensely too, with huge demand for both iOS and Android app developers seen right across the UK. 

As an app developer, you get to be at the heart of developing a mobile solution. Typical developer activities include producing coding solutions, contributing to technical and design documentation, estimating tasks and tickets, managing bugs and other technical issues, testing, and source code control. You get to experience all parts of developing an app, right from the initial idea through to final deployment into the app store.

What skills are needed to build a mobile app?

For someone new to app development, no specific qualifications are required. 

We’ve worked with numerous hiring partners over the years that are aimed at getting people into the technology field, such as Northcoders and CodeNation, from other more traditional sectors.

Apadmi looks for people with a passion for personal development, someone who keeps up to date with new technology and best practice, has great communication skills and the ability to work unsupervised on tasks.

An interview with one of our developers, Heather Kay

Q: What does a standard working week look like for you?

“Most projects at Apadmi follow the Scrum framework, and we complete work in sprints so that dictates what my work week looks like. The length of the sprint differs from project to project, most of them are two weeks.”

“At the start of a sprint, we have the sprint planning meeting as well as daily Scrum meetings. Alongside this, I have a daily team check-in. Outside of our project teams, we have work teams. Every day we have a quick catch up as a team to talk about anything that might be on our mind. These have been introduced since lockdown and are a great way of keeping connected even when we’re working from home and keeping open lines of communication if we have any issues.”

“Once all the meetings are finished, I start working through the tickets. The tickets can be anything from bug fixes, developing new features, or even researching new technologies we might implement in the project. My day is spent writing code, running tests, and adding my work to the project repository. Alongside this, I peer review other colleagues’ pull requests, and provide any ad-hoc help to other team members.”

“Once the sprint has completed, we have the sprint review and retrospective meetings before the next sprint starts.”

“And of course, we always finish off the week with the company stand-up. This is a meeting every Friday afternoon where the whole company jumps on a Zoom call. It’s a great way to stay connected when we haven’t been able to be together in the same room for the last year!”

Q: How would you solve a coding problem with an app you’re working on?

“One of the most important skills for any software developer to have is knowing how to get help. Thanks to the internet, there’s a huge abundance of resources available – but that information can be overwhelming. When I’m stuck on an issue, my first port of call is StackOverflow. The results you get when searching for a solution might not be the same situation that you’re in, but you’ll often find others that have solved the same issue in a different coding language or framework than you’re working in. You can customise the code for what your particular problem is.”

“Another huge help is documentation. There’s a huge amount of documentation available, and it can be a great place to get the answers you need straight from the source. My best advice is to take your time reading documentation to make sure you have a high-level understanding. It will make solving a small problem easier if you understand how all the pieces fit together.”

“Finally, your peers and managers are an amazing source of help if you’re stuck on a problem. They’ll often ask what you’ve done already to try and solve the problem, so definitely have a look at the first two points so they know what you’ve tried already and what hasn’t worked. With the current lockdown, video calls and screen sharing has become a great way to get help on an issue, and it’s great to know my awesome colleagues are just a video call away.”

Q: What would you recommend would-be developers to start learning first?

“I think this depends on how much knowledge you have in software development. As a beginner, I would recommend starting out looking at web development basics, like Javascript, HTML and CSS. Those three basics will allow you to create your first website and get you familiar with coding basics like object-oriented programming, the user interface and front-end/back-end communication. Web development has been around for longer, so there’s a lot more documentation and help. I think that the learning curve for web development is a bit easier than for native mobile development.”

“If you’re a bit more experienced in software development and are familiar with the coding basics, you can get stuck right in with Android or iOS. It’s common for software developers to pick one platform and specialise in it. You may want to branch out and learn both in the future, but as a new developer, I would advise that you pick one and focus on becoming a master in it. In the workspace when creating an app, there’s often an iOS team and an Android team, and you’ll work in whatever your chosen platform is.”

“There are lots of different options when it comes to learning. There’s a huge amount of online tutorials and videos that you can go through at your own pace as a self-taught developer – more formal bootcamps and programmes that give you real-time lessons and help from a tutor that last 1-6 months and formal education from universities and schools that can be 1-3 years. Apadmi has a whole mix of employees from different backgrounds, so it’s a case of deciding what will work best for you and how you learn and running with it.”

Q: Have you any parting advice for app developers for this year?

“The last year has been full of uncertainty with the pandemic, but this has meant the mobile app industry has grown massively. There are so many exciting new technologies and developments in the app development world, from voice technology, to augmented reality. Don’t be afraid to get stuck in and learn something new.”

If you would like to learn more about working for Apadmi you can find out more about our values and work on our careers hub.

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