I recently did a “Tech Talks” video interview at QBurst. This is the extended version of that interview.

What has your journey been like as a mobile app developer?

I used to write small apps for Symbian as a hobby long back when Nokia and Sony Ericsson were the most popular devices. By the end of the 2000s Apple introduced the iPhone, starting a new revolution of smart mobile devices. At around the same time Google introduced Android, inviting fierce competition. The demand for new apps for iOS and Android skyrocketed, and every software developer wanted to jump into the “mobile app development” bandwagon.

Getting started on Android app development was very easy because of the easy access to the tools, SDKs, and devices. Meanwhile for iOS app development you needed an Apple computer, an iPhone, and required to know a very complex (IMO) language called Objective C.

I started learning Android app development with the limited available online resources on my 2 Mbps internet connection. I still remember regularly visiting vogella.com and other blogs for tutorials. StackOverflow was just two years old and Android-related content was relatively low. I bought a the book “Professional Android 2 Application Development” by Reto Meier (ISBN:978-0470565520) at that time which helped me a lot in picking up the concepts.

I delivered my first mobile app for a client at that time using Eclipse IDE on a laptop running Windows 7 and tested on a device running Android 1.6 Donut.

It’s been a long journey since then! Remembering some major shifts:

In the last decade, a lot of cross-platform development tools appeared. React Native and Flutter became popular while many others disappeared. I invested a lot of time in learning Flutter and worked on a handful of apps.

During this time I got the opportunity to guide a large team of mobile developers at QBurst. I interviewed mobile app developers almost on a daily basis, and picked the best people in the industry. Now I am a part of a team of more than 50 mobile app developers that deliver the best app development experience to clients globally. I am a developer advocate too, and I help the team quickly pick up new technology.

How do you guide clients in their mobile app development decisions?

Clients approach us with a lot of questions, and the number one question that I see all the time is – “shall I choose cross platform or native technology to build my new app?”

I strongly believe that as a technology solutions provider, we hold the responsibility of helping clients in taking an informed decision when they trust us with their money.

I sit with the clients, understand their requirements along with other details like for how long they want to keep the app, their future expansion plans, their long-term maintenance plans, their target audiences, the expected time to market, the budget, and more. Based on these parameters, I make a recommendation. I always want to ensure that they understand why this suggestion was made instead of just making a recommendation.

Here’s a blog that I wrote on this topic: “Native or Cross-platform: What’s Best for Your Next App?”

How do you stay updated on the latest in mobile app development technologies?

That’s the most challenging part of being a software developer and a developer advocate – because technology is changing very fast like never before. The moment you take a small tea-break and come back to the desk, seven APIs are deprecated, and five new libraries appear.

Being a developer advocate, it’s very important to stay on top of the latest news; and the strategy that worked best for me personally is Twitter (yeah, X). I use Twitter as a primary source of tech-related news and updates. I follow accounts from the big tech in the industry – like Google, Apple, JetBrains, Microsoft, and similar big players – to many developers, communities, and content creators. The most important part is to enable notifications for these accounts – as soon as they post a tweet, I get notified.

Apart from that, I have subscribed to several email newsletters, YouTube channels, Medium authors, LinkedIn pages, etc. Another source of inspiration that I check out on a daily basis is YC’s Hacker News – a lot of interesting articles related to tech appear there every minute.

Mobile app development has come a long way. What changes can we expect in the future?

The future is brighter than what I was anticipating so far. I used to talk a lot about how new cross platform technologies like Kotlin Multiplatform will take over, or using AI-assistants for faster development. But there’s a new revolution that will definitely disrupt not just mobile apps, but the entire software development industry. And we can’t ignore that.

The most recent advancements in AI, especially Generative AI, or Conversational AI, makes me rethink my vision that I had about the future. In my opinion, what we are going to achieve in the next 5 years with the help of Conversational AI will definitely outweigh what we have achieved in the last 20 years.

Homo Sapiens are conversation-driven and that’s what made us what we are today. Conversing with machines was hard, so we used Graphical User Interfaces. Now we can engage in meaningful conversations with machines. If a species could reach the epitome of civilization with the help of conversations, I really can’t imagine what we are going to achieve next with the help of machines that understand the conversations.

I believe that traditional mobile apps and websites will make way for more “Conversational” type apps. Customers will engage more with conversations rather than clicking and navigating through several screens. It’s just like you visiting a store in person and asking a store staff member for recommendations.

When businesses move to a conversation-first approach, mobile apps and websites will move in the direction of being light-weight apps, with minimal required functionality, and maximizing conversational interactions. New job roles will come like “Conversational Experience Designers” just like we have “User Experience Designers” today.

One thing that I love about QBurst is that we have always been an early adopter of the latest tech. We already have a team of AI experts, and we are working on making all our engineers AI-capable and getting them ready to embrace the new era of Conversational AI apps development.

We have a future of endless possibilities ahead for sure!