Alex Channeled a Passion for Touch Interface into Learning Mobile Development and Launching His First iPhone App
With the release of the first iPhone, Alex instantly discovered a passion for touch interface and within a year hired a team and launched a web and mobile development studio. They worked on a few projects, but the costs of maintaining the company were too high and things began to fall apart.
Alex then came to the realization that he wanted to prove the value of his ideas and be a leader, not just a boss. So he decided to learn to code for himself. With Treehouse, Alex found the ideal curriculum and was soon mastering mobile development. Over the next seven months, Alex was able to apply those new skills to building and expanding his first app Postys, a video app that delivers an infinite feed of interesting videos to users. Now Alex is busy working full-time on the public launch of Postys and looking forward to his future as an iOS developer.
We caught up with Alex to hear more about his learning experience, launching his first app, and his plans for the future.
What first drew you to the tech industry, in particular, mobile development?
When the iPhone first came out I was fascinated by the beauty and simplicity of the touch interface. It was an amazing experience to be able to download apps and I tested them out for hours. Through that first experience, I discovered my new passion. Within a year, my younger brother and I founded a small web and mobile development studio.
What work were you doing when you first joined Treehouse & what encouraged you to learn with us?
With the small team at our studio, we built a couple of iOS apps, but, unfortunately, our earnings were small. We soon ran out of savings, people started to leave and things fell apart. Then one day I realized I wanted to be a leader, not just a boss. I decided I would learn to code, build an entire MVP (Minimum Viable Product), gain users and prove the value of my ideas. So the journey began. I don’t remember how exactly I came across Treehouse, but I fell in love with how fun it was to learn with them. It was exactly what I’d been looking for. I believe Treehouse has huge advantages because you learn while developing real-world applications as well as learning industry best practices. It’s a perfect curriculum. Add the great, helpful community to the experience and you feel like you’re a student of a true 21’st century digital school, which is amazing!
You recently launched an awesome app called Postys. Tell us a little about Postys and the experience of building your first app.
When I first started to think about the Postys app, I tried to imagine what a perfect video app would look like. When you only tap an icon and it immediately starts to play something interesting. No sign ups, no infinite feeds, no channels. Run the app and it plays. If you don’t like the video, simply swipe and the next one comes up. Easy and fun!
Once you have an idea and passionate curiosity, there is nothing that can stop you.
I first started with the Ruby on Rails framework to build and test the actual set of algorithms that would generate a number of videos based on various factors. When the Rails back-end was up and running using Amazon Web Services, it was a time for me to start iOS development. It took 7 months to build the beta program. And then a very busy next six weeks of testing and bug fixes. I think it’s still a very early version of the app and there are millions of ways for it to grow, but I’m working really hard to build the best mobile video app. My friend Dmitry Motovilov also helped me a lot with design, I got tremendous value from open source projects on GitHub, and of course Treehouse was a huge part of the process.
What has the value of a Treehouse education meant to you?
Treehouse gave me enough skills to bring my idea to the world. Before I knew about Treehouse, I didn’t know how to approach coding. The courses are so well structured that it is absolutely possible for everyone to learn to code, even if you have zero coding experience like I did. Today, I have confidence in my skills to build apps or find a remote project and travel the world, which is priceless! I believe Treehouse is one of the Internet’s hidden gems, a place where it’s possible to change a big part of your life, whether it’s your career or realizing your dreams and ideas.
What are your plans for the future, and what’s up next on your learning path?
As I mentioned I’ve got huge value from open source projects. So I want to contribute to the community and will probably open source something myself or contribute to existing projects. I also started to write tutorials on my website on how I built parts of the Postys app, but with the public launch of the app I’ve got so much work to do I barely have time for side projects at the moment.
Is there any advice you’d like to share with new students, especially those who are aspiring to build their own apps?
Sure! I would say, be curious. As Walt Disney said: “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” It led me through two years of learning to code. I tried to approach Ruby on Rails three times and iOS development twice. By just being curious, I’ve built an app and today people are using it, sending feedback and even donating money to the project, which is crazy!
It may not always be easy, but it’s well worthwhile.
To read more awesome student success stories, check out the Treehouse Stories Page.
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