How I Started Developing Mobile Applications

November 27 2017, 4:19pm

It's been almost 8 years since I developed my first mobile application. Since then, I've had a hand in developing well over two dozen mobile applications for iOS and Android. I wasn't always developing mobile apps though. In fact, I didn't even have a smartphone when I first got the itch to develop. Many have wondered how I got into developing mobile applications. I wanted to take this opportunity to share the story.

Developing Apps

Back in 2010, I want I would see commercial advertising a revolutionary device complete with programs that would allow you to accomplish amazing things. This device, of course, was one of the first iPhones. Prior to learning about this phone, I had little interest in developing software. There was something about the portability of the device though that caused me to fall in love and imagine the possibilities of what it could do. Inevitably this fascination led to a desire to create something for the device, somehow, that would improve the lives of others.

So I wanted to create an application—that much I knew. Without a smartphone and the programming skills though this dream was put on hold. In the meantime, I let friends know about this goal.

One day, I opened up my inbox to find an unexpected opportunity. A friend and his friend were going to start developing mobile applications. My friend was going to design the UI while his friend was going to program everything. All they needed was a marketer. Having done a bunch of search engine and social media marketing before this, I felt like it would be a great chance to learn and apply myself.

Through a combination of Skype chats and email with the two friends, we made progress on our first application, a game. It was a game where you would click the screen to fire at a can. The can would fly up in the air before falling back down due to gravity. Because we had so many ideas, this single idea ended up evolving into three different applications including one where you had to keep objects in the air to prevent a sleeping baby from waking up and one where the can could fly into space.

I was on my way to actually making a mobile application.

A few weeks in though, my friend's friend got a job offer he couldn't refuse and the partnership was dissolved.

For the next six months, I continued sharing my desire to create a mobile app with close friends. Eventually, I found my break when one of my friends approached me about developing mobile applications. Referencing my previous experience, he thought that I would be a great partner. Because I had only worked on marketing, I wasn't sure how things would turn out. With both of us seeking a new opportunity, though, we both took the leap. I would be doing everything but the actual programming of the app. With enough experience in using Photoshop to design websites, I figured I could figure out a way to make things happen.

Our first app was never published. It was a game built using flash that challenge players to collect fruit and other sweet things as they flew across the screen. Flash proved too slow to use in a wrapper (the way we originally intended to package the app for iOS) and so we had to scrap it.

Our second app built upon many of the lessons my friend and I had previously learned. Because this app was built using Cocos 2D (a new platform for us), we wanted a simple concept to design and develop. The application we created was Button Smasher—a fast–paced game where you race against the clock to recognize and input a sequence of patterns.

I've continue to learn from every application since then. More recently I've turned this knowledge into the occasional consulting work designing, marketing, or simply talking mobile application development strategy.

This journey has definitely been a bumpy one but one I would not exchange for anything. Simply by expressing my desire to do something new, I was able to find small ways to get to where I am today. For that and all those that have helped me along the way, I continue to be grateful.

Although there are more apps today than ever. I continue to be inspired and excited by the new ideas that people come up with to make the world just a little bit better.

What is an example of a dream that you've realized through taking small steps?