- What do you currently do?
I am a Senior Mobile Engineer for Prolific Interactive, a mobile agency that makes apps and mobile-optimized websites. I’ve been working in a client-based role for most of my career, and really love it. I’ve made apps for everyone from small startups, to large multi-national corporations, for the AppStore and the Enterprise. I’ve also done quite a few apps in the retail space, the most recent being ModCloth’s initial iPhone and iPad apps. My day-to-day responsibilities vary from coding, to code reviews, architecture discussions, feature/project estimations, and client meetings. Every project is different, but that’s what I find most fun and challenging.
- How did you get started in Mac and/or iOS programming?
I took a class Senior year of college. It was my first experience with iPhone programming (no iPad back then) and a compiled language. At first it was really hard, because I was thrown into a world of compilers and pointers, with only some PHP under my belt, but once I got used to the language and how things worked, it was really smooth sailing. I’ve since picked up Ruby and a bit of Python.
- What was the first app you created and what did it do?
The first app that I ‘made’ was a todo list app. It was the final project for my iPhone programming class. It never made it to the store, but was super fun. I learned a lot!
- Where did you get the idea for the app?
I needed to make something fairly simple, and quickly, since it was my final project for class. And based on what I had learned in the class, a SQL-backed todo list of made the most sense. To this day, one of my most popular questions on StackOverflow is from this project. It’s something really simple, but back when I started there was not the amount of resources for learning now.
- What went well? What could have gone better?
I learned a lot about debugging, and about creating feature sets. My original idea was something that was super complicated, and involved a bunch of external dependencies (which were much more of a hassle then), plus a whole bunch of stuff I had had no exposure to. As a Senior Engineer, a lot of my job is project/feature timeline estimation, and going through that experience on my own taught me a lot. Since then I’ve learned so much more about the process of making apps, but nothing quite compares to the first one.
The best part was finishing it and getting to show it off in front of my peers. It was really my first experience creating an entire piece of software by myself. It wasn’t much, but I had built it, and that made me incredibly proud.
- What is your favorite among the apps you’ve developed?
I’ve shipped so many apps, it’s hard to choose just one! Well the ModCloth app was amazingly fun to work on, mostly because I worked on-site and spent quality time with the team over there, and it was my first experience leading a dev team. At my previous job, I had the pleasure of working on Bloomingdales’ 59th&Lex app, which has custom interior maps. It’s a fairly simple app, but I had a lot of fun building it.
- What advice do you have for young people who want to make apps?
Build something you love! There really isn’t anything quite as satisfying as building a product where you really enjoy the end result.
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