Taking Freshdesk everywhere — A closer look at the mobile team
Say hello to Girish Koundinya.
Girish has been with Freshdesk for close to two years, and has been working on our official Android and iOS apps since the first version. He’s been with the mobile team ever since we’ve ever had one, and even worked on Mobihelp, our SDK for in app support, before getting his hands on the apps.
In this interview, he talks about the most challenging and rewarding parts of working at Freshdesk, and what it takes to be a good mobile developer.
What were you looking for when you joined Freshdesk, and how did you land your job here?
I joined Freshdesk as an intern from college. I was keen on working at a startup and when I cleared my interview, I was very excited. Moving from boring college labs into a busy startup environment was quite a big change. I was given the opportunity to work on multiple new things, which I found very challenging and rewarding. At the end of the internship, I was offered a full time job, and that’s how I got here.
Cool. Now that you’ve been here for a while, how do you like the work here?
The people I work with at Freshdesk have tremendous experience in making great products. They help me learn new things almost everyday. Our occasional internal hackathons push us to try out things that we wouldn’t normally work on. As a team, we get excited by new apps that release across the world, and talk about them all the time. We get a lot of ideas from what developers across the world are building, and try and bring them into our own official apps.
Tell us what goes on behind the scenes. How do you decide what goes into the mobile app, and when it’s ready to be pushed live?
The mobile team works on the iOS and Android versions of Freshdesk. We translate the best of Freshdesk on the web to mobile devices and make sure they’re consistent on different platforms, while offering the best possible experience for our users in terms of features and functionality.
My Product Manager brings us a set of features that need to be translated from the web app to the mobile app. The Design team collaborates with the manager and comes up with a spec sheet for us. We adhere to all the specifications and guidelines given to us, take the design team’s ideas on UI/UX and flesh out the features on mobile. Once we’re done, we send a build out, for testing, to the QA team. We also have our own internal testing to ensure things are smooth before they go live. We try and eat our own dogfood — our Sales and Support teams try every build and give us feedback. This gives us a good idea of how we can expect customers to react to stuff we’re about to launch. Once all this is done, the feature goes out live.
So, besides Xcode and Eclipse, what do you use to get things done?
Sublime Text and Vim are our preferred text editors. We use GitHub for our code review. Other tools we use are Trello, cURL, OCLint and the Postman extension for Chrome.
What is the most awesome thing that you’ve done so far?
I was given the opportunity to work on the launch of both the Android and iOS app and the experience was truly awesome.
I worked on the product for six months, as an intern, before switching to the team that built Mobihelp — our SDK for in-app support. However, more than Mobihelp, our users were screaming for native Android and iOS apps, but there wasn’t even a mobile team in place to build them. So when we did decide to launch one, a bunch of us laid the foundation for what is now the official Mobile team. We worked hard to ship the Android app — and the iOS app that followed suit a few months later. I’m proud of having worked on the release of both our official apps which are used by thousands of people every day.
That’s great. What do you think is the most challenging thing about building products for thousands of customers across the world?
I guess that ensuring quality is certainly one of the most challenging parts of what I do. We try and push ourselves very hard and set the bar really high for our products. At the end of the day, we want to deliver the best possible user experience when our customers try out our apps.
Despite the challenges, what do you think makes you come to work everyday? What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Freshdesk has given me the opportunity to be a part of so many awesome things. Working at Freshdesk helped me learn cool stuff and solve new challenges along the way. The people I work with are some of the best developers I know. They come from diverse backgrounds and have previously built amazing products, and I think working with them is the best part of my job.
What’s common between everyone you work with? What do you think makes you a good mobile developer?
Apart from being an early adopter, there are a few things that would help one be a good mobile developer: curiosity about mobile architecture and trends in the industry, knowing Apple and Google’s design guidelines inside out, spending nights watching all WWDC and Google I/O videos, and a basic idea of how servers work.
What would be your elevator pitch be if you were trying to convince someone to join your team at Freshdesk?
It gives you the opportunity to work for a team that crafts Freshdesk’s mobile products and exposes you to a variety of programming languages and frameworks. You get to solve a lot of interesting problems while providing customers with a user experience that will wow them.
Freshdesk is looking to hire more mobile developers at our Chennai office. If you are interested in building for iOS or Android, and Girish’s story appealed to you, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For what it’s worth, you could be exactly what we are looking for.