Making The Move To Mobile
By: Jesse Forristal, Recruiter for Workbridge Los Angeles
I want to start off by saying that I do not have a technical degree or any programming experience. However, I have something that some might consider more valuable – an ear to the market (and an eye for talent if we’re keeping with the body part metaphors).
One of the biggest trends I’ve come across in my search for talented mobile developers (I specialize in placing Java and Mobile developers) is that everyone wants to be one. Many engineers either want to be a mobile developer or they claim they already have become one. You don’t need professional experience if your primary purpose for moving to the Android platform is to make a tip calculator for fun; however, if your goal is the title “Mobile Developer” at an established company, you need some experience. Now this proves to be somewhat of a Catch-22. You can’t get that job without experience and you can’t get experience without that job. No one wants to hire an inexperienced mobile developer.
So where do these mobile engineers even come from? Well, with most companies embracing the mobile platform – iOS, Android, Windows, BlackBerry OS etc., students are starting to focus their entire Computer Science degrees on mobile development. This is a brand new trend considering the relatively recent inception of these mobile platforms. This trend brings about an ever changing landscape for both established and aspiring developers.
Through my experiences as a recruiter of mobile developers, I’ve started to become a de facto adviser to aspiring mobile developers. A couple pieces of advice for those who want to get into mobile development:
- Play to your strengths. If you are a Java developer, mess around with Eclipse and build an Android application to have something to show off. Port it to the store and get some downloads. This cannot be said enough. Without an actual application, your experience is theoretical.
- Know that you might have to take a pay cut. Until you have professional experience, you might not command your expected salary.
- Take a class. Take an in person class if you have the time; take an online class if you don’t.
- Go to meet-ups. This cannot be stressed enough. You’ll meet people from all walks of life that can influence your career path in countless ways.
- Find a friend or colleague who does it for fun, or better yet, does it professionally. Pick their brain. Ask if you can contribute to their project.
- Ask your manager at work if there’s a chance you can work on a mobile project. Chances are that if you’re working right now, and your title isn’t related to mobile, a mobile developer will be added to your team sometime soon. Maybe that could be you. Prove you have the ability.
Don’t worry if you can’t get that mobile position just yet – the mobile platform is just beginning its takeover. Just do what you can and, slowly but surely, you’ll get there.