The Next Chapter

Yoda  Luke  Dagobah

I don’t often talk about my work directly. It’s either covered by an NDA, or not important enough to merit attention. But today marks a transition for me, and I thought it would be worthwhile to make a note of it.

I’ve just concluded an eight-week contract with The Working Group, helping them build the iPad version of TSN’s new Hockey app. I’m really happy with the end result, and I’m looking forward to the update that’ll be coming in a few more weeks (or so) that completes all the functionality we’ve been working on.

This contract is a turning point for me because it’s the first time I’ve sold my iOS development skills commercially. While I’ve spent the last several years honing my Cocoa expertise, it’s been on my own projects.

(And while I have technically done contract work for another client doing iOS development since September of last year… I have yet to be paid for it. Such are the risks of being a freelancer!)

Working with the mobile development team at TWG has been an amazing, eye-opening experience, and I learned a bunch of important lessons.

  • First and foremost, I learned that I am not an imposter: the expertise I’ve built over the past few years learning Cocoa were totally applicable in this project. As time went by, I could start seeing the results of my work, and it was tangible and valued by my co-workers.
  • I still have so much to learn. I know I’m not a “senior” developer. More like a strong intermediate, I guess. Like Luke Skywalker after Dagobah in Empire Strikes Back. I’m pretty strong manipulating UIKit, and I did some cool shit with UICollectionViews, but I still struggle with the finer details of asynchronous programming. In the last week I banged my head against a problem requiring deeper knowledge of polymorphism than I possessed. It was an embarrassing and humbling experience.
  • Having a team is pretty amazing. For so many reasons: splitting the work into manageable chunks, getting help when you get stuck, taking a break to goof off with them. I haven’t spent much time working with others, and it was a good feeling.
  • Goddammit, I love building apps. Frankly, I wondered if daily, full-press exposure to Xcode would dull my enthusiasm for the work. I’ve always built my apps at night, for whatever slice of time I could snatch. But now, I look forward to jumping back into Objective-C. I’ve struggled, had successes, and overall I can still say that I love doing this stuff.

After years of only earning money doing web development, I feel like I can now confidently say that I’ve made the transition to iOS development. On Monday, I begin a new contract with Bower Labs as an iOS developer. The next chapter begins.

I can’t wait for Monday.