Welcome to Ask Away where I answer some of the questions sent to me or found on the web. Today’s question comes from a Reddit thread that I answered recently about mobile development:
This questions stems from my concern of being “pigeon holed” into a certain niche. As a beginner I learned most of the basics of programming with Python and now moved onto java to make something I can see and use to keep me motivated. Just worried that if I focus so much on mobile, after graduating, employers would pass on me for non mobile jobs. May be a stupid question, but thanks if anyone could clarify.
Some reasons you would need a back-end for a mobile app:
- It’s social. If you’re going to be about to add friends and communicate with them in some way, there needs to be a central place where the app exchanges those messages. This will be a back-end application that sits on a web server that your mobile app will connect to. An app like Words with Friends doesn’t really have a website, but it does have a back-end system that the mobile apps connect to in order to pass moves from one player to the other players in the game. Mobile apps (99.99% of the time) don’t connect directly to each other, but instead talk through a back-end system.
- It’s an app for a website. Something like the Runkeeper app or the Basecamp app are an interface to an already existing web application. This would need a back-end (typically a part of the existing website) to communicate with.
- It needs back-end information to work. Here, I’m thinking of an app like a weather app or an RSS feed reader. These application don’t typically have their own back-end, but use a back-end provided by someone else (like the Weather Underground’s API). These kinds of apps are probably going to be the easiest for you to get started with since you can use an already built back-end and see how to use an API from your app without having to learn yet another language at this stage.
I would also add that you shouldn’t be afraid of being “pigeon holed” at all when starting out. In this business, you’ll only be pigeon holed if you want to be pigeon holed. I’ve done web development, mobile development, and Java application development in my career because I kept learning and applying new things. You’ll only be stuck on one role if you decide to be.
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