App Development Business?
November 8, 2010 7:05 PM   Subscribe

How to get into app development business?

I have a friend who is really really good at computers, and really good at teaching himself things. He is starting to learn iphone app development and really enjoying it so far. What is the best way to try to get into the business without an app portfolio? Should he make his own apps to get started and present them to potential clients? Do you have any other advice for him? FYI, in the Bay Area.
posted by tessalations999 to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
There is an incredibly strong startup support infrastructure in that area, look for meetups and other events. And read hacker news. This was topical.
posted by sammyo at 7:33 PM on November 8, 2010


Real, live apps are the best resume. It only costs $100 to register for the Apple Developer Program and put a few simple apps in the app store. An alphabet game for kids or a location based mashup if you can find a good database to work off of. Here in Austin the web developer lists have regular 'I'm looking for a developer' posts, and being able to point them to an app you worked on is a big plus. If he's interested in hourly work there are lots of iOS developers on oDesk, though he'd be competing in the international market.
posted by jeffkramer at 7:45 PM on November 8, 2010


Depends what his experience/education is. But the best bet as sammyo mentioned is to go to the user groups (look for Cocoaheads). A lot of prospective clients find developers there.

Build up a portfolio of use open source code. Write blog posts. etc etc.
posted by schwa at 7:46 PM on November 8, 2010


_Useful_ open source code would be good too.
posted by schwa at 8:00 PM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Something like Rent-A-Coder, Elance, Guru, or oDesk might be worth looking into as well. Basically these are sites your friend could do cheap programming (at first) for various companies to help build up that portfolio and gain lots of real world coding experience along the way.

One thing he might want to brush up on aside from the languages themselves is proper techniques during development cycles (especially when dealing with larger companies). Agile software development might be a good place to start for ideas on how to structure his development cycles.
posted by samsara at 5:48 AM on November 9, 2010


samsara: "One thing he might want to brush up on aside from the languages themselves is proper techniques during development cycles (especially when dealing with larger companies)."

Honestly, I'd skip this. Unless you're working in a team, trying to teach yourself team-based methodologies is bound to result in learning bad behaviors.

Stick with the basics- roll up your sleeves and make some apps. If you have no work experience, no one is going to vouch for your skills, so it's critical to build a portfolio to speak for you. It's more important that they be good and useful than big sellers.
posted by mkultra at 7:38 AM on November 9, 2010


Mkultra: Well, what you're suggesting is great for learning the ropes of particular languages and getting started. Still...knowledge of good methodologies is fairly important stuff and shouldn't be ignored. (I'm talking about methods pertaining to the development cycle itself more than explicit standards or things like naming conventions, working in team environments, etc). A lot of practices are there so one doesn't get trapped in those tragically bad scenarios a new developer can get caught up in...like "scope creep" for example, and never ending iterations. Good methodologies help guide you towards delivering a product (even if developing it solo) that covers the main needs of the customer, meets specifications, protects your intellectual property, and keeps you focused to the task at hand. Agile is just an example of many of the thought-out systems out there that seek to accomplish that, and honestly it would be just a *good* habit to look towards being disciplined in ones development strategy...especially on the bigger projects. (planning, requirements analysis, design, coding, unit testing, and acceptance testing, etc)

(I should probably explain scope creep/aka feature creep. "Why can't we have a browser in our calculator app??" *shudder*)

Well anyway...I mention at least "brushing up" on this stuff....not studying it in depth. I'd hate to see a new developer find himself in a nightmare scenario with a customer that wants it all with unrealistic expectations. Aside from not being in a team, its also good to teach yourself how to develop for one on a basic level...especially in an object oriented language. Good design of public and private functions make it easier down the road to maintain your code...instead of writing it all in a flat program. And gets you well prepared to collaborate with another freelance programmer to get a project done quicker. These are just my 2 cents.
posted by samsara at 1:20 PM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


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