Going from android dev to product dev in 6 months

By Neha Kulkarni

I came to this city of dreams called Mumbai a year and a half ago. Everyday was a struggle to learn new things – be it traveling by train or catching an auto (those who don’t live here , let me tell you it is very difficult).

I had very little experience as an Android developer. When I finally settled down in Mumbai to look for an opportunity, I came to know about this company named Dreamscape Media Pvt Ltd in Andheri. I thought, “Why not give it a try? It is near my home.” Given the state of Mumbai’s traffic, it is advisable that your workplace has to be near your home. I went for an interview there. First Saumil, founder of Dreamscape Media, interviewed me and he was happy to call me for the second round of interview with the senior android developers of the company, Abhijit and Owais. When these guys interviewed me I was like, I have to be in this company because they are so knowledgeable! In the interview itself I learned so much from them. Fortunately, I got selected here and my journey started as a Android Developer at Dreamscape Media!

I started working with Abhijit and Owais on a project called “Knack”. It was a marketplace, where users can search for photographers, dance teachers, language teachers, DJs etc and hire them. Initially they used to give me small tasks like change text or create an XML for new screen, which were easy tasks. I have 10 months of experience; at least I can create an XML easily. But I was wrong. Abhijit guided me on how to decide between different layouts for any particular case. He showed me how we could improve efficiency by using correct layout, styles etc. From such small things, I learned in weeks what I had not in 10 months. It was great, and made me realize that only doing something can make you better at it. No amount of talking or reading will help in the end.

Soon after Knack was complete, Saumil called me one day and told me to that he would like me to handle a new project. All by myself. I was scared like hell. I thought to myself, “Dude, I am a fresher I can’t handle the full project on my own.”

But he seemed pretty confident and gave me a brief. Now my job was to create a project document, project coding document. Project flow. How will my screens look like. Create wire frames . What elements to use in screen. Integrate APIs in project. Use local database to store data. And many more things which were not in developer’s scope.

I decided to go for it and, with the help of Abhijit, started creating project coding document. He introduced me to different wire-framing online tools. Within 2 -3 weeks, I finally created a project document .

While working for this project I have learned few things. First, you need to think from user’s point of view rather than developer’s point of view. Then only you can develop an app which user will like. App flow should be easily understandable. Fortunately android have given material design guidelines which you should follow.

One day, since our designer Pooja was busy with other work, I decided to try my hand in designs which I would like to see in my app. So after browsing some apps, I could design 1 small screen for the bottom sheet. Saumil thinks designing is not in developer’s scope, but, I think if you like developing an app and if you have put so much efforts developing it, then you tend to make it attractive from user’s point of view.

Another thing which I did on HireLocal is “draw on Map” feature, something I came across while browsing one restaurant finder app. Saumil encouraged me to implement this cool feature on HireLocal.

Also, I learned about storing local database using Realm. One thing my seniors always tell me that before implementing anything in project, read its document thoroughly and then try to code. Spend 1 -2 days reading whole documentation and then use it in your project.

So, handling this project taught me that paperwork is important. You need to have full vision of application you are developing. Yes , there may occur changes from client but your code should be flexible enough to handle those changes.

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