A Passion for Tech
Mobile applications, or apps, have become a key part of people’s daily lives. There are many kinds of apps. Some help with schoolwork and tests. Others are for gaming. With social networking apps, people share photos and videos and stay in touch with friends.
Apps are created by app developers. Developers might come up with an idea for their own app. Or they might work for a large company, such as Instagram, designing and building apps and new features.
Have you ever had an idea for an app? What’s stopping you from making it? Don’t let the idea of coding and creating an app intimidate you! That’s app developer Becky Hansmeyer’s advice. She builds apps for the iPhone and releases them in Apple’s App Store.
Hansmeyer released her first app in 2014. Since then, she’s created and released several others as a part-time mobile developer. She’s currently working on a mobile game for kids.
Hansmeyer fondly remembers her family’s computer when she was younger. “I spent all my free time on that thing,” she says, recalling how her fascination with tech started at a young age. “I just loved it.” Hansmeyer drew pictures using programs such as Microsoft Paint. She wrote stories on the computer, too.
Though she was interested in technology and software, Hansmeyer went to college to become a music teacher. After graduating with a degree in music education, she started interviewing for teaching jobs. But, she says, “Something just didn’t feel right to me. I was like, ‘Maybe this really isn’t what I want to do.’”
Hansmeyer took a job as an administrative assistant while she tried to figure out her next move. A couple of years later, Apple launched the App Store. Anyone with a developer account could build an app and release it through the store, listing it for free or for a price. Around that time, one of Hansmeyer’s friends asked her to test a game he’d built. He was getting ready to release it in the App Store.
“I just thought it was the coolest thing,” she says. “I was playing it on my iPod Touch. It was a super simple game, but I was like, ‘He made this, and now anybody’s gonna be able to download this.’”
Hansmeyer began to wonder if she could build and release apps, too. “That was the first time that I kind of got that spark,” she says. “But I kind of got lost trying to figure out where to start, for a long time.”
Over the next few years, Hansmeyer took online tutorials and courses to learn programming languages. After she was able to get past her self-doubts, she decided to build a simple app that randomly displayed inspirational Bible verses.
Launching a Career
The launch of her first app boosted Hansmeyer’s confidence. She eventually created an app called SnapThread that stitched together the iPhone’s Live Photos. The app’s icon appeared behind Apple executive Phil Schiller during the company’s 2019 Worldwide Developer Conference. (That’s a huge deal!)
Hansmeyer considers herself a part-time app developer. She spends a couple of hours every night coding, illustrating, or working on her apps. The rest of her time is spent with her husband and kids.
Currently, she’s updating her app YarnBuddy. It has about 400 subscribers. She’s also working on a gardening game that was inspired by her son.
Hansmeyer says if you want to create apps, you should develop your writing and communication skills. That way, you’re ready to promote your work, when it comes time. But start with basic tutorials and classes. She recommends MIT’s Scratch website as a place to begin learning about app development and code in general; the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Code Club World; and, if you have access to an iPad, Apple’s Swift Playgrounds app.