By Dave Henke:
In an ideal world, the mobile developer is a computer scientist who’s passionate about mobile technology. A passion for mobile is typically a side-effect of a larger, more serious condition: a passion for emerging tech and hunger for knowledge.
The tl;dr version of this blog is as follows: as a mobile developer, if you want to work on cool technology, you have to sell cool technology. My fellow developers might ostracize me for such a bold claim, but trust me, it’s in their best interest.
What separates the professional mobile developer from a hobbyist is just that: profession. Somewhere along his career, the developer decided that being a programming drone during the day and fueling the technology passion at night wasn’t ideal. So how does the mobile developer avoid becoming a professional mobile programming drone? Sales. Before they tar and feather me, let me speak to only the mobile developers.
Mobile developers, I’m asking you to trade your introversion and step outside of your comfort zones. Not all your comfort zones. I don’t plan to proof read this post, for example, but if you want to work on cool, new technologies, such as Nuance’s Nina, you have to sell its viability to your clients or your boss. With something like Nina filling the gap left by Siri, it’s easier than it sounds.
Mobile is an emerging technology. It’s the emerging technology. That means there are a ton of new tools, patterns, and features both from third parties and directly from platform updates. It’s a very exciting time to be a developer hungry for knowledge. Instead of sacrificing your personal life to satiate the developer’s urges, let your company pay you to do it. This will require some personal tech research, but if you can sell the ideas, you can work on them. If you have a direct channel to your client, find a way to appropriately suggest solutions. Better yet, your manager is likely someone with an eye on technology and a relationship with your client. Selling them on a new technology or tool is almost as good as a suggestion to the client (and a lot safer socially).
Managers, hear your developers out. The worst thing that can happen? They become an expert on a hot new tool and help increase your company’s brand down the road. They also feel personally responsible for the solution they’ve suggested. It would be a safe bet that they’ll put a lot of effort into making it work. Developers want to build a brand as much as anyone else. Everyone wants to be as cool as Apple, so suddenly, they’ll be contributing directly to the company’s reputation for making “cool apps”.