We interviewed Adrían Catalan, Software developer, Consultant, Google Developer Expert (GDE), Educator, and instructor of the Professional Android Developer Course, to talk about his experience, situations Android beginners might deal with, and some non-technicals aspects developers should consider to improve their profile.
With more than 10 years on the field, he has been involved in several projects of software development, including building Android apps. He is currently in charge of the Innovation Lab at Galileo University, where he manage all kind of projects related to technology.
We asked Adrián a few questions about his beginnings and some advices for Android developers:
When did you first get in touch with programming?
I got into this because I liked computers. A relative of mine told me he worked with computers and I was always intrigued by this. When I was at school, at 12, I started to learn more about computers hardware, the way they are built and also about games.
When I went to college I learned about the basics of Computer Science, like discrete mathematics, and it was then that I started to program. I also learned about basic structures and started my journey into this amazing world.
How did you become an Android Developer?
After working on computer networks and information security for a while, I decided to move to software development. In 2009, I heard about Google’s and Apple’s proposition of smartphones and what it really attracted me was the restriction of mobile devices.
For instance, when using a computer you don’t usually worry about bandwidth but with an smartphone you must consider mobile data consumption. You are not likely to worry about a computer battery life, however with smartphones you must think about it.
These situations made me think about possible solutions to deal with this issues in a creative way.
I attended to Google I/O in 2010, but it was a day before this event that I went to a BarCamp with a lot of community content. It was then that I knew Android for the first time and I really liked it.
Can you name some of the main challenges Android beginners have to face at first?
It really depends on the profile and background of each person. The mobile platform, like many other platforms, have a steep learning curve, because they have a lot of components. An Android beginner must know about Java, design, XML, Android Studio, Gradle, plus specific matters about Android’s platform.
For instance, if you come from web development with some Java backend experience, you’ll probably only have to worry about Android specifics and understanding the platform.
If you are a completely beginner, on the other hand, then the challenges will be different such as understanding the characteristics of the mobile world, get to know Android specific components and how to deal with restrictions like mobile´s bandwidth and data usage, as I mentioned before.
What about developers who want to improve their non-technical abilities, What is your advice to them?
I like to put this abilities into two categories: Communication and Empathy.
Generally, as an industry, we have a serious problem with both. For instance, There are brilliant developers who don’t know how to work in a team, they don’t ask for other team members opinions about what he is developing or how it could be better.
Yes, I´m using the computer to do this, but I am not writing code for my computer, I’m writing code for my fellow developer that will eventually continue the process.
Regarding empathy, we must understand the professional level in which each developer is in the moment, by doing so, developers can grow professionally together.
I truly believe that anyone working in any technology development area needs to be aware that at the end of the day, software is for Humans, and we want to improve life quality. No matter what you do, a Human being is the one that´s going to build and use the software. The only way to do this effective and efficient is through contact with other people.
To Adrián, the icing on the cake for developers would be to properly speak in public. An underestimated skill, he believes, that turns out to be very useful no matter what you do. In order to go beyond and succeed, the technical aspects are just not enough, the soft skills are required as well.
Make sure to follow him on his Twitter account.