Discussion on: Is it possible to get relevant industry experience on your own (not through working at a company)?

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Jovica Popovic

Speaking as someone with almost 20 years of industry experience... No, industry experience is not needed. At least not for the reasons you mentioned. There is no one right way for doing anything, no one true tool for anything. The truth is that everyone is just winging it, solving problems on the fly, iterating and changing things as they go. I've never worked in a place that operated the same from one year to the next.

Also, processes differ wildly, due to many factors. Number of employees, type of work, type of clients, type of software... Actual processes and tools you'd pick up working 'in the industry' probably won't even be applicable to your situation when striking out on your own.

Vast majority of tools and processes are there to facilitate efficient communication and collaboration between different people with different roles, different needs and goals. Working solo, you avoid all of that. If your app making career takes off and you end up needing to employ or partner with other developers, that's when you'll need to set up your way of doing things. But, you'll cross that bridge when you get there. And there will be plenty of books, blogs and other resources to help you along. You can even ask here. :-)

So, as to not knowing 'how industry works' - no need to worry about that. But, what I would like to caution you about is your business plan. Mobile apps industry is extremely competitive, and having a successful app is very, very hard, especially if you want to go it alone. You need to prepare yourself for a long, hard slog. Expect to have several false starts and apps that get no traction. Rovio got a huge hit with Angry Birds, but it was their 52nd mobile game! All previous were flops. I'd advise you to approach your early attempts as learning experiences, worth it for the journey itself. If any get traction, great. If not, never mind, you'll learn from it. But be prepared to move on and move fast to the next project. With some luck, you'll get a winner eventually.

Hope this helps, I wish you good luck.