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Lawrence Tan πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¬
Lawrence Tan πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¬

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I have decided to move out of mobile development, and here's why

Chancing upon a Mobile Developer internship role during my undergraduate days in a startup based in Europe was what kicked start my career. Time passed, and it has been more than five years.

My First Start-up

What have I achieved over the five years as a mobile developer, mainly doing iOS? I learned a lot. In the first start-up that I worked for, I picked up the concept of hybrid apps, at that time I was using PhoneGap, Cordova, and Angular to write codes to deploy to two platforms; Android and iOS, while still writing native Objective-C for iOS. I had my highs and lows during the seven months, dealt with difficult clients but yet able to deliver solutions quickly while working through the nights. After a merger, together with many of the pioneers, we decided to move on.

My Second Start-up

In my next start-up, I enjoyed most of my time there and built many meaningful relationships. I had great opportunities like being attached to one of the best Telecommunications companies to work on their high-volume users' mobile app. I also got a chance to work together with developers in Pivotal Labs and learned the concept of pair programming. I also got more serious in writing unit tests and ensure all projects are properly integrated with CI/CD pipelines. All these are awesome, but I thought that it will be really cool to be working in the healthcare sector. So I decided to move on to my next company, which is an MNC.

My First MNC

In this new Pharma MNC, the system is more rigid. Unlike my start-up days experience, much of the time is spent on waiting for approvals or getting requirements changed by major stakeholders. Development is no longer the main challenge, despite the fact that as an engineering team, we are still enforcing best practices and coding standards. I also picked up the concept of DevOps and started building my own apps, and wrote tutorials. After 2 years, I found out that the routine gets more unavoidable, especially with many changes in the senior management level, hence, I decided that maybe its time to move out and do something else.

Time to get out of the comfort zone

As a self-taught developer, I have learned that it's impossible to hit the plateau, speaking from the perspective of a mobile app developer. Apple Ecosystem has made a couple of major releases like migrating from Objective-C to Swift, UIKit to SwiftUI. And then you have cross-platform frameworks like React Native & Flutter to help you ship your POCs or MVPs faster to the market. All these are great stuff, thanks to all the bright minds like yourself who have at least written a line of code, showing interest in the field. As such, I cannot visualize myself being stuck in a company, and just writing codes after codes, updating apps from version 1 to version 200, without much fulfillment on the outside. This is why I have decided to take on a consultant role in Google (I have written an article on my interview experience here). It very much challenges me to interact directly with stakeholders, strategize, and help in utilizing tools to boost businesses. This is out of my comfort zone.

All in all, I think we all have our own career aspiration, maybe you are a developer yourself and you strongly feel that Full-Stack is the way to go, no doubt. On the contrary, you could also be standing on a pivot point, and rethinking about your next five years. I hope that you will take some time away from work, plan out your life. I reconsidered when I will start a family (1-2 years later), how much more savings I need, and what is my dream career.

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