Showcase: Rasmus Englund
Rasmus Englund is a kickass, energetic iOS developer with 4 apps to his name. He’s developed Bad Badger, Dogfight and ColorDrop games for iPhone, and QuickChat, a chat app that uses color to communicate. And he’s recently opened for business as a freelance iOS developer.
As a LearnAppMaking alumni, what got him interested in learning how to code? Rasmus: “With code, I can create stuff just from my imagination!” Here at LearnAppMaking he learned how to build iOS apps. This is his story.
When you chat with Rasmus, he always has a new app idea. What’s he working on now? “I’m working on a freelance project right now, and thinking about building a unit converter app. An app where you gather many different units and convert between them.”
How is working for a freelance client different than building your own apps? Rasmus: “You’re creating someone else’s ideas, translating that into code. And when you find an obstacle, if that happened in my own apps, I might have just dropped the feature. But when working with a client and that happens, you have to communicate and work it out together. It’s also much more fun to cooperate with a client to bring an idea to life.”
In recent months, Rasmus has participated in my courses, completed many LearnAppMaking tutorials, and we’ve done a few 1-on-1 conversations. Did they help in mastering iOS development?
“Yes, in so many ways. When you’re learning something new, you’re trying to process a lot of new information. Your courses made this so much easier, to find what I need, and also introduced me to new and interesting topics. For the chat app, for instance, I followed your Firebase course. And I wouldn’t have been able to build the app without it.”
Rasmus explains that it’s great to have someone on-call you can ask questions to, even when you don’t know what you’re looking for. Platforms like StackOverflow are helpful, but they only work if you know what you don’t know.
“Especially your help with XIBs and Storyboards was great. It put me on the right track. Instead of building my UI with code, I create them in Interface Builder now. Looking back, I can’t imagine doing it the way I used to. Building UIs in Interface Builder is so much easier and more efficient.”
Be persistent and explore.
Is there anything about iOS development that makes him smile? Rasmus explains how he got started with Python programming in an online environment, and how he couldn’t distribute that code. “What iOS development gave me was this entire platform. I could publish my app in the App Store, and everyone I meet can install it and try it. To me that’s priceless.”
And frustrations? Rasmus: “I guess I could complain about Xcode, but I’m really satisfied with how everything is working right now. And well, there’s always that bug that makes you say: “Where the hell did THAT come from!?” And you spend an hour tracking it down. Then it turns out you just had to restart Xcode.”
Did the LearnAppMaking courses and tutorials help Rasmus overcome challenges that he faces today?
Rasmus: “With one of my apps I’ve been copying-and-pasting code to reuse functionality between components, because they share this base functionality. What I do now instead is make a better architecture, where there’s a parent class and child classes inherit some functionality. And now with the conversations that we’ve had, and what I have learned, I really want to go back to my previous work and improve it.”
Is there anything that Rasmus looks forward to, in the future? “I love programming and launching these apps, and I’m looking forward to seeing that take shape. I want to add some more apps to my showcase, and continue doing freelance work. And I want to learn more about the freelance process, about communication, working out the specifications, to find that synergy.”
Any good advice for iOS developers starting today? “Persistence is important. After spending so many hours of finding a solution to a problem, trying to phrase my questions in better ways, I got a lot more respect for this kind of work. Programming can be tedious, and persistence is key, and if you have fun, it’s so much easier.”
Exploring is important too, Rasmus says. “I’ve been coding for 2 years now, and I still learn new things every day. There’s so much I want to get into, like GameKit and ARKit, and other cool frameworks. You build your developer toolkit, so to speak. So, you should want to get out there and explore.”