I recently just finished my first contract gig. I first pursued the contract because I thought it might be full-time and give me a chance to work with other developers. It was neither, but is looking like a pretty good deal.
Good: The guys I am working with do a hand off with a good design document and all the assets. This is awesome. No more searching google images for mediocre public domain artwork. A project that would have taken me a couple of months solo was done in three weeks of evening work. Also, this was a nice confidence boost to know that I could take someone else’s idea and assets and make it work.
Bad: I’m still developing in a void. I’m really trying to find a situation where I can at least occasionally interact or pair with expert developers that are willing to do some mentoring. I like being able to bounce ideas off of people. I get great satisfaction from being challenged by developers that are smarter and more knowledgeable than I am, not to mention the learning benefits.
Not So Ugly: I realized that I’m just developing someone else’s bad ideas by myself. Well, the ideas aren’t bad, they just aren’t my ideas. I have plenty of bad ideas and I was already developing in a void anyway, so if I’m going to do that, I might as well continue working on my own ideas. What really got me thinking about this was @rizergames last blog post for iDevBlogADay. To be fair though, the contract I am doing is a revenue share and there seems to be many projects coming up, so this isn’t really all that ugly.
Moving forward: The app I was working on hasn’t gone live in the App Store yet, so I do have some hope that it is a good idea and a good app. This is the first app for the other members of this team, so they have high hopes and big dreams. I am a little more cynical. Sometimes it makes me chuckle.
This team is more diverse, with a developer, artist, and a designer/marketing/idea guy. This is much different than being on a team full of just developers. The diversity is great just because my time is so well spent. I am doing almost 100% development. I’m not having to cold call or send out tons of emails asking people to review the app, I’m not spending hours fumbling my way through Google and PhotoShop trying to make a crappy image less crappy. I get to code almost every day now, and that’s huge.
I’m still going to keep working on my own projects and I’m still going to keep looking for a good mentor in the San Diego area(email me if you like teaching and are in the area). The guys I’m working with are pretty laid back. The schedule is flexible so I can still keep working in the evenings after my day job. I figure the worst thing that can happen is that I get to have more fun coding and I might learn some stuff.
This post is part of iDevBlogADay, a group of blogs by indie iPhone developers featuring two posts per day. You can subscribe to iDevBlogADay through RSS or follow the #iDevBlogADayhash tag or @idevblogaday on Twitter.