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The work is so amazing

The growth of the internet, smart phones, pads, and platforms such as Facebook are fuelling app designing, says Sunny Sharma, a technology evangelist

education Updated: May 22, 2012 15:19 IST
Rahat Bano

How is an app designer’s work different from that of an app developer?
The entire ecosystem revolves around the app architect, designer, and the developer. The application architect gathers the requirements from business systems analysts and the end users. After gathering the requirement, the architect creates a blueprint which includes the front-end and the back-end of the application. The front-end or UI is the responsibility of an app designer whereas the back-end or the code part is managed by the app developer.

All the three components are really important but design holds a special position. The best analogy would be Apple where Steve Jobs and team have focussed a lot on design aspect of the products and the results have been awe-inspiring.

What’s the scope in app designing in India? What’s the career trajectory of an app designer like?
The ecosystem is huge and it is being powered by the growth of the internet, smart phones, pads, and platforms such as Facebook. Apple’s app store and Android are getting bigger day by day. All these have provided a huge opportunity for companies to reach out to a wider audience through their app stores which were not possible till a few years ago. Add to it the wave of cloud computing. Cloud’s pay per use model has made it even easier for smaller companies to compete with the biggies in the app world. Look at Instagram, a mobile photo sharing app which Facebook recently bought for $1 billion. They just have 13 employees.

The irony is applications or products developed in India have never been regarded as great designs and that is true to an extent but a lot of design work is being outsourced to India. So, we are at the helm of it, creating it for people outside, but not leveraging it for our own products.

What’s the app design market like in India and globally? Who are the major players?
Everyone in the tech space would have a position for the designer. A lot of big IT services companies in India are working app stores. According to me, the larger ecosystem is powered by smaller companies who are churning out apps at a great pace. For example, Microsoft has some 70,000 apps in its Windows Phone Marketplace. This pales in comparison to Google’s 400,000 apps in the Google Play or Apple’s 600,000 in the App Store. Most of these apps have been developed by smaller companies and the numbers are huge.

What are the pros and cons of an app designer’s work?
It’s not an easy walk at all. You have to be on your toes all the time. The work hours are long but interesting. The work is so amazing that no matter how much work pressure you have, at the end of the day you sleep with a big smile on your face.

The growth of the internet, smart phones, pads... are fuelling app designing Sunny Sharma, head, Foetron, a technology consultancy in Gurgaon

What’s it about
Application designing is, well, about designing applications for use on smart phones and tablets. Application architects, designers and developers create applications for websites, such as Facebook, those of corporate houses and so on.

Even a certain entrance test agency is known to have got an app developed to help prospective candidates prepare. The application designer takes care of the front-end whereas the app developer handles the back-end or the code part.

There’s immense scope in this field. Take the case of Instagram, a mobile photo sharing application, which Facebook recently bought for $1 billion. The firm has only 13 employees.

The typical work day of an app designer
8.30am: Arrive at office
9am: Do a bit of reading on the tech world. Techcrunch (a group-edited blog about tech start-ups) is the platform we go after
10am: Go through the previous day’s work, analyse it and set up a plan for the meeting
11.30am: Team review meeting and freeze the plan for the day
Noon: Code, test, code
2.15-2.45pm: A quick lunch and loads of tech talks.
3-5pm: Back to work. Code, test and Code
5.15-6pm: Snacks and a bit of play around
7.30pm: Till the work gets over: The real fun begins

The pay
The pay depends on your qualifications and experience, starting from around Rs. 20,000 a month

Skills/traits you should have
* Creativity and innovation
* Tech savvy
* Attention to detail
* Thoughtfulness with a sense of creating apps that address human needs or desires,
* Some business acumen
* A go-getter attitude

How to get there
It is advisable, though not necessary, to earn a BE in IT from a reputable college. You could also consider doing one of the various courses available at private computer training institutes

Institutes
* For BE/BTech in IT and related courses
* Indian Institute of Information Technology, multiple locations
www.iiita.ac.in, www.iiitdmj.ac.in
www.iiitm.ac.in, www.iiitdm.ac.in, www.iiitd.ac.in,
* Indian Institute of Technology, multiple locations across India
http://jee.iitm.ac.in
* Birla Institute of Technology & Science Pilani
www.bits-pilani.ac.in
* National Institutes Technology, multiple locations

Pros and cons
* Creative and challenging work
* You can rake in big money
* Long hours
* High pressure work in a fast-moving field
* You can work for the global market

Coordinated by Rahat Bano