My first experience with mobile development came in the Spring of 2012 when I spent a semester studying abroad at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, Denmarks 3rd largest city. I was excited about this opportunity to study abroad and take courses that weren’t offered at my home university, including an android development course. Throughout the semester I built a foundation of skills that paved the way for future academic and professional achievements. The android course itself worked through O’REILLY’s “Learning Android”. At the same time, I worked with a team of 4 other students from Poland and Slovenia to create a student planner application, by iStudiez for the iOS platform. It was a rough but inspiring semester and was only the start of my journey.
After arriving back home I quickly fell back into a hobby that I had neglected while traveling and studying: gaming. I picked up Guild Wars 2 and became entranced by the crafting element of the game. Soon, as programmers often do, I found myself thinking up solutions to the annoyances I found. I stopped playing the game and started to create an app to organize crafting recipes and help other crafters. I had to put the work on hold as I spent the fall semester as a teaching assistant for an iOS development course, but by the time finals week came around I couldn’t put off the work any longer. On Christmas Day I released my app “Guild Wars 2: Crafting DB” on the Google Play store under the name 2ShadowsSoftware. My hard work quickly rose to become the number #1 crafting application and, depending on the day, the #1 result for the search “Guild Wars 2”.
I made (and continue to make) a little bit of money from my app on the Play Store, but only enough to buy ramen. Fortunately, the following semester I started work as Undergraduate Research Assistant for a research team let by Dr. Nir Keren at the Virtual Reality Applications Center (VRAC) at ISU. They are using the 6-sided, fully immersive 3-D cave known as the C6 to simulate dangerous environments to study the decision making processes of first responders. In doing so, they collect large amounts of physiological data and wanted a way to visualize this information in real-time as it is collected from participants. I created a tablet application called VTGraph for them which features customizable dashboards, each holding up to six real-time graphs.
Many people think of Garmin as “that navigation company”. Which is true. But they do so much more, with a wide offering across several industries including aviation, marine, automotive, fitness, and outdoor. I am personally most interested in the fitness products, but I found myself working on a (at the time unannounced) new android device called the Monterra. During the internship I worked mostly on user experience and interaction enhancements. In addition to normal Android SDK use, I also got to make system level changes and do a bit of native code interaction.
In an unexpected twist, I returned to Denmark in August. SDU’s Software Engineering Faculty posted a link on facebook to an opportunity being offered by Lego. The listing says that they were seeking 12 mobile developers and 6 UX designers to come to Lego HQ in Billund, Denmark for a week to work with their engineers and designers to develop a mobile strategy for the company. The crux: the listing requested developers with experience in iOS or Windows Phone experience. Despite my lack of experience in those areas, I applied anyway and was rewarded with an invitation a few short weeks later. It was an amazing experience which you can read about here.