Five Skills You Need to Master Today to Launch a Successful App
While attending the Georgia Tech Coding Boot Camp, Steve Tucker worked with a team of other learners to develop GhostedBy, an app that allows users to report when a company “ghosts” them by not responding to their follow-ups after an in-person interview. In addition to empowering job seekers, the app is designed to help companies with their online reputation management.
GhostedBy was such a huge hit with the boot camp learners and staff that Steve and his team plan to continue building the app’s database and eventually pitch it to the Wall Street Journal and other business publications.
It just goes to show that what you learn in boot camp can start paying off in the real world before you even graduate. Here are Steve’s top tips for anyone who wants to launch a successful app while they’re still in boot camp.
1. Become a “master”
Prior to boot camp, Steve, who continues to work with numerous big tech companies, wanted to become more of a technical master in software development.
“I’ve been fortunate to work at some Fortune 50 companies,” he said. “I have a lot of experience in software product management and marketing, but I felt that I needed full-stack development skills to become an even more valuable asset to future clients and employers.”
About a year ago, Steve read an article about coding boot camps and discovered the Georgia Tech Coding Boot Camp—just three blocks from his home. He filled out the form and, after an in-depth call with an admissions representative, decided to sign up.
“I knew that if I wanted to become a master full-stack web developer, the best way to get there was to join an outstanding program taught by outstanding instructors and go into full immersion,” said Steve.
2. Don’t neglect your soft skills
While Steve initially took the program to improve his software development skills, these weren’t the only skills he focused on during his studies.
“During the boot camp, you can attend webinars that help you develop what are called soft skills—like becoming a better listener or mastering your body language. Take advantage of these, and your employer and colleagues will take notice!” Steve said.
Steve discovered the importance of soft skills firsthand while he and his team were developing their app.
“To develop an app like GhostedBy, everyone on our team had to be expert communicators and collaborators,” he said. “Mastering soft skills doesn’t just make it easier to build your app, it also helps you better engage with the press, potential investors, and most importantly your end customer.”
3. Take advantage of all the resources available to you
The soft skills webinars weren’t the only resource that Steve leaned on during the program. He encourages all learners to use every resource available to them to fuel their success.
“I met with a tutor when I needed extra help on assignments or projects, came into class early to attend my instructors’ office hours, and worked closely with the teacher assistants during and after class,” Steve said. “There were also Slack channels we could participate in and meet-ups where you could interact with alumni, hiring managers, and recruiters.”
These resources didn’t just help Steve prepare for his new career. They played a fundamental role in the development of GhostedBy.
“Because GhostedBy is an app designed to help empower job seekers and to fill a blind spot created by existing apps for both job seekers and employers, we also worked closely with the Trilogy career services team,” said Steve. “But even if your app has nothing to do with job hunting, I’d recommend you share every project you’re passionate about with career services. In addition to using this information to help you find a job, they may know of companies that might be interested in the signature technology you’re developing.”
4. Keep it simple
Steve is a big believer in simplicity, especially as it relates to the user experience in app development.
“One of my favorite sayings is ‘complexity is the enemy of execution.’ That’s why we wanted to make GhostedBy incredibly easy to use,” said Steve. “There’s a field to search for companies by name. The results show you if the company has ever been reported, as well as the number of reports. If the company ghosted you, you hit ‘report,’ and then you’re done.”
His philosophy of simplicity also informed how he approached his boot camp projects. While the course certainly requires a lot of hard work and dedication, he cautions learners against making their lives unnecessarily difficult.
“During the boot camp, some of the other teams created these incredibly complex apps. They were up all night prior to presentations trying to perfect every detail,” he said. “In life, there is no extra credit for making things complicated for yourself—and definitely no such thing as awards for lack of sleep.”
5. Be prepared to roll with the punches
Even with his focus on simplicity, Steve still found the course and the app development process a challenge. He knew, though, that it was not an insurmountable one to become a master of current full-stack development.
“There was one point in the boot camp where I suddenly found myself feeling overwhelmed,” he said. “But rather than letting my anxiety get the best of me, I reflected on why I had joined, what my goals were, and what I needed to do to feel more confident. That’s where resources like the free coding tutor really came in handy.”
Steve also formed a small informal team of peers from his class, and he hosted weekly “code battles” with his classmates to share and hone software skills.
Ultimately, the challenging nature of boot camp helps learners prepare for a career in app development—or tech in general.