I know it’s a little late into 2019, but as they say, you’re never too old and never too late, to learn something new.
So, here is how the fable goes as to why I particularly think that Mobile Development is a crucial skill to have in one’s repertoire, for anyone to call themselves a holistic Software Developer in this ephemeral decade.
Being a 90’s kid, I vividly remember gaping wide-eyed at that computer screen, sporting a good old flashy Pentium I (Intel inside) logo on the CPU and couldn’t help, but be enchanted by all the enigmatic sorcery it could do.
The first line of code in BASIC.
The first line of command in LOGO
The first crash at Road Rash!
Oh, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
Unfortunately (or fortunately), most of my friends never got to see a Floppy Disk in their life. Blessed be their souls.
In a nutshell, those were the times of Bill Gates, Windows 2000, PC World magazines, the Dot-com boom and what not. People made money. People lost money. But Software Industry was on an upsurge, and resolute on success, raging like a Bull in the Stock market.
Well, why is this relevant?
Because soon into the first decade of 2000. A new platform emerged.
The Apple iPhone.
A genuine smartphone in its true sense. A legitimate brainchild of Steve Jobs. A powerful infotainment goliath and a technological marvel.
Majorly, the trump card played by Apple Industries was to launch the development of iPhone apps in the public domain.
And all of a sudden, now our regular Joe was developing apps for the App Store and making millions.
Angry Birds, Temple Run, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc. Rings any bells?
Well, all that glory wasn’t limited to Apple. Soon enough, Google entered the spotlight and followed suit. As a result, Android was born. A worthy arch-nemesis to the iOS platform.
Google took it a step further and made the entire codebase of Android open-source. This allowed the big players in the Industry to jump right into the band-wagon and change the mobile development game, forever.
Apparently, slimmer and powerful mobile phones started entering the market from all the nooks and corners. There were stories of how Rovio Inc. made millions by launching Angry Birds. How Instagram and WhatsApp were created by a group of developers who could be fed sumptuously with a 12" pizza slice. Later, they went on to sell those apps to Facebook for $1 billion and $19 billion, respectively.
The point is, what Personal Computers were once during the ’70s and continued to be well into 2000s. Mobile Phones are now and will only grow onwards, planting their roots deep into 30 years from now, at the very least.
Similar to how PC’s entered our houses then, mobile phones have entered our pockets now. They keep us hooked, in-the-loop and in the matrix.
This means one only thing, a better and more involved consumer market for the Mobile Developers to capitalise upon.
Developing upon the previous point, let us zero-in on 2019 and look at two of the most important technologies available to us Developers.
This is one technology, which is largely unexplored. A virgin territory of sorts. During the advent of Bitcoin, the hype spread through the masses like a wildfire. That a new-age, no-nonsense concept of digital currency has entered the financial market.
But, the primary problem with Bitcoin was that mining it was apparently very slow and difficult, and most importantly there was nothing substantial backing it up, just like money is backed by Gold internationally. The only thing substantial enough were the mathematical constructs and equations, which fell into the ultrasonic range on the deaf ears of a no-nothing common investor.
But the interesting part was, the technology used in Bitcoin is Blockchain.
Regarding the same, a groundbreaking proof-of-concept and white-paper was published by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto on devising the first Blockchain database and solving the double-spending problem for digital currency using a peer-to-peer network.
Basically, a Blockchain is a growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data.
Now, this is where the blocks start falling into place, pun intended.
Here is a technology which is mathematically unbreakable and secure by design, and resistant to modification of the data. It is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.
Now consider yourself to be in the shoes of Mobile Developer. Looking at the pace at which things are moving in this Industry, no sooner than later expect a plethora of opportunities opening up for you.
For instance, imagine that the world comes to a census that a universal or a national identity be created for each human born on this planet. An elegant, unique and unbreakable block of data backed by mathematical algorithms for each and every citizen.
No more counterfeiting, no more forgeries, no more whiplash on basic human and citizen rights. We’ll live abundantly, with mathematics to the rescue.
And, I expect no better alternative than a Mobile Phone to implement this beautiful piece of technology. As a use case, imagine yourself to vote from a Blockchain based app authorised by the Government and designed by a Mobile Developer.
Additionally, a Blockchain Mobile Developer sounds way better. Ain’t it?
How can we not acknowledge the elephant in the room and finish this tech tale, justifiably?
Now, I won’t get into all the nitty-gritty details of what it is, how it came about, and why Andrew NG is the Godfather, Don Corleone of this movie.
"Ye shall face the wrath of the seven heavens if thou art proclaims thyself an AI/ML enthusiast, whilst not calling the holy name of thine allfather “Andrew NG”, 27 times in a day."
~ Old Testament, Mathews (Chapter VII, Verse IX… oh never mind!)
I am kidding. This bloke deserves every bit of applaud that we can possibly delegate. He has worked in this field for over 20 years now and has taught and influenced countless students into pursuing this marvellous technology.
He is a true learner and a researcher at heart, with innumerable papers under his name. From whatever I had the opportunity to learn from his courses, he carries a similar passion and energy to his teachings which I feel uncannily corroborates with the all famous physicist, late Richard Feynman.
At best, I’ll leave you with this. And this will suffice.
"Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence is the future."
Reason? Pretty simple.
Smartphones are getting smarter than the smartest people.
It is inevitable, we can’t unsee it, we can’t undo it. The human race might inexorably morph into a Cybernetic organism in future. But, that is easily decades away. Nobody’s morphing into nothing, anytime soon.
Needless to say, the implications, as well as applications of AI/ML with respect to mobile phones, is enormous. A very plausible and tenable instance of its use was showcased to the world by Google in I/O 2018, known as Dialog Flow.
It was capable of synthesising a near perfect human voice and booked an appointment on the telephone, comprehending multiple accents and dialects with intricate variations in tone, only to adeptly reply by handling all the nooks and crannies, vice and vicissitudes of our everyday conversations, which us lesser mortals indulge in. Watch the I/O 2018 Keynote, if you’re intrigued.
And, that’s about it.
Drawing a conclusion, there are multiple other technologies like Cloud first approach, AR/VR (we’ll leave those for some other post) which all have one thing in common. They need a powerful, reliable, yet compact platform to build upon.
And, the protagonist of our story just suits the purpose!
au revoir, au plaisir!
I’ll leave you with a more general thought around this.
"Software will solve our biggest problems, you will either be paying for it or building it. The choice is yours."