How to be app happy

TECH ONE Given the ever grow­ing na­ture of smart­phone pen­e­tra­tion in In­dia, there is a huge op­por­tu­nity for an app driven econ­omy in the con­sumer space

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - HT Education - - Front Page - Rozelle Laha

Although Gun­jan Pati­dar started pro­gram­ming only dur­ing his col­lege days, build­ing things from scratch gripped his imag­i­na­tion right from school days. Friends would find him tin­ker­ing around with things at home as a child, of­ten open­ing up his grand­fa­ther’s old ra­dio tran­sis­tor, only to try and piece it back to­gether again.

De­vel­op­ing an app is noth­ing but lines of code put to­gether to cre­ate some­thing where there was noth­ing be­fore. “In a sense, code al­lows you to build any web­site or app, and then get it to do what you want it to do. The beauty of code is that an en­tire prod­uct can be built by a sin­gle per­son, or even by a large team work­ing on smaller mod­ules of that same prod­uct,” says Pati­dar now the chief tech­nol­ogy of­fi­cer at Zo­mato.

A grad­u­ate in tex­tile tech­nol­ogy from In­dian In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy (IIT) Delhi, Pati­dar breaks one myth for sure – that you need not be a com­puter en­gi­neer to be able to cre­ate apps. All you need is a pas­sion for cod­ing. “I al­ways wanted to be an en­gi­neer and with my IIT JEE score the only dis­ci­pline avail­able to me at IIT Delhi was tex­tile tech­nol­ogy. While in col­lege, I devel­oped a nose for cod­ing,” says Pati­dar, who was in­tro­duced to Zo­mato, which was founded by IIT Delhi alumni, by his batch­mates in col­lege.

About the per­fect app, Pati­dar, who spent his week­ends at col­lege cod­ing for Zo­mato’s ap­pli­ca­tions, says, “The best-de­signed pro­grammes of­ten have the sim­plest de­signs and the fewest, clean­est lines of code.”

Cur­rently, the 29-year-old is in­volved in help­ing the var­i­ous teams at Zo­mato to build prod­ucts that would en­able users to dis­cover the best places to eat around them, or­der food de­liv­ery on­line, re­serve a ta­ble on the go, get a res­tau­rant’s in­for­ma­tion, or book a cab to the res­tau­rant at the click of an app.

“I am very pas­sion­ate about cod­ing and man­age to f ind time to code on these projects and most projects keep get­ting my code pushes in­ter­mit­tently. This also helps me stay up­dated on the lat­est stuff on ev­ery plat­form,” says Pati­dar.

What ex­actly is it that app de­vel­oper do? They need to un­der­stand the re­quire­ments to be ad­dressed by an app and put to­gether codes to cre­ate an app that can help ad­dress the needs ac­cord­ingly.

While it is not nec­es­sary for an app de­vel­oper to think of how to in­crease en­gage­ment with the prod­uct, the best de­vel­op­ers also have a very good prod­uct sense in ad­di­tion to strong tech­ni­cal skills. They al­ways think from the user’s per­spec­tive, of how a user would use or in­ter­act with the app, why a user uses a prod­uct and what the value propo­si­tion for a prod­uct is to them.

“You should make an ef­fort to un­der­stand user be­hav­iour on your prod­uct. At times you have to think of what the user might need be­fore they know that’s what they want, in or­der to stay ahead of the curve,” Pati­dar says.

The big­gest chal­lenge app de­vel­op­ers f ace i s t hat t he land­scape is very dy­namic and keeps evolv­ing. They need to con­stantly up­date them­selves to stay ahead of the curve.

About stay­ing clued in on what’s hap­pen­ing in his world of in­no­va­tions on apps, Pati­dar says, “You have to be aware of the cur­rent tech­nolo­gies be­ing used across plat­for ms. You should read about the other con­sumer or en­ter­prise (based on rel­e­vance to what you are work­ing on), the prod­ucts out there, and un­der­stand which prod­ucts in that seg­ment are do­ing well. You have to also un­der­stand how you can use that in­for­ma­tion in the con­text of the prod­uct you are work­ing on/ build­ing.”

Apps are un­doubt­edly a great way to help peo­ple get ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion on-the-go. They are def­i­nitely stick­ier than the web. Given the na­ture of con­stantly used mo­bile de­vices, apps can de­liver a more rel­e­vant and per­son­alised ex­pe­ri­ence to users based on their lo­ca­tion and other pref­er­ences, Pati­dar adds.

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