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Career roadmap: How a mobile developer found his calling

Sharon Florentine | March 17, 2016
Chris Turner is now a successful mobile developer for a home automation and application development company. But his career path took some unexpected turns along the way.

"Yeah, that was terrifying. But this was what I'd been working toward, and I had no choice but just to jump in and do it. We hit our deadlines, we rolled out the site -- and they loved it," Turner says.

A new direction

Turner later moved to Connecticut, where he filled various Web development and as a Flex consultant, and that experience fueled a desire to get into mobile development. Turner dabbled in iOS development, and landed a job with ESPN working on the sports media giant's Sports Center application and the Tournament Challenge App. His background in Web development and knowledge of ActionScript and Flex translated well to mobile development concepts, and while at ESPN he was able to further improve his iOS development skills. It was here, too, that he embraced agile development, though he says it was less of a mindset shift than simply formalizing the "best practices" he'd learned over the years of Web development into a formal framework.

"I was formally introduced to agile at ESPN, but it was a matter of putting a name to the way I'd always worked, iteratively. Usually, when I was a Web developer, it would be me, a client and a designer working together, so I would try something, run it past them, get feedback, update code -- that was just natural," he says.

As a mobile developer at iDevices, a connected home application development company whose iGrill application was recently acquired by Weber, Turner found himself working for the first time on an app without a server backend, which was a new an exciting experience.

"I also had the opportunity to work on our Apple Watch app, which started with supporting the iGrill application and has evolved into controlling any HomeKit products a user has. I'll never forget the thrill I had the first time I turned off my lights by tapping a button on my watch. Now, since the iGrill acquisition by Weber, I'm excited to work on the future of home automation and new product design and development," he says.

Mobile is money

Mobile development's a hot topic nowadays, and talented developers like Turner are in high demand. With median salary for an entry-level software engineer at $77,400 and for a senior software engineer at $106,700 according to data from compensation software and services company PayScale, a career as a developer can be both intellectually and financially rewarding.

"Mobile is on the front lines of what companies are doing in development -- the 'mobile first' strategy means that now everything is created for use and views on a mobile device first," says Michael Sage, chief evangelist at load-testing platform-as-a-service company BlazeMeter.


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