An Overview of Polls for (Android) (Mobile) Developers in 2016

Last year I started a weekly routine consisting on posting on my Twitter a poll every Monday, with topics related to Android / Mobile / Software Engineering (in that order). It has been a total of 18 polls during the year, with an overwhelming response and engagement of the community.

(On a side note, I cant stress enough how lucky I am of being able to be a part of the Worldwide Android District. It has changed my life in so many ways)

Twitter polls are by nature very limited. You can only use 140 characters to describe as concisely as possible the question. Each option can only use 25 characters. There is no multi-answer allowed. My followers in Twitter are mostly Android Developers, although there is a subset of Mobile Developers and Software Engineers in other technologies as well. The population sample is not representative, and Twitter does not provide any anonymized aggregated data, which would be very cool (imagine getting statistics about the country of origin, genre, age, etc… of the sample participating in the poll). Therefore, these polls were never intended to conduct an exact scientific study of the Android community. My purpose was to interact with my followers through a question that could provide them value in different ways.

One interesting fact I observed is that, in many questions, some participants answered with alternatives I did not know or I never heard of. One of those examples was the question: “do you use any of the following ORM libraries for #AndroidDev?”. Many people answered pointing out to libraries I have not heard of. On a personal level, I spent the day after the poll checking those libraries and applying some personal benchmarks. In some other questions, people started discussions about some of the answers, which were definitely worth checking. For me, the Monday Poll was one of the personal projects that leveled up my Android game during 2016.

But let‘s go back to the point where everything started. I am an avid reader. I have been reading around 50 books a year since I can recall, which means around 1000 books in my life so far. I do however fear to get stuck into the theoretical side of life (I wrote a post about it some time ago, called “The Theoretical Animal”). A few months ago, while I was reading Choose Yourself from James Altucher, I came up with an idea.

James Altucher can be controversial but he is definitely an inspiring personality. Is one of those men you would call “self-made”. Among other things he is a seasoned investor, podcaster, entrepreneur and best-selling author. He writes regularly in his blog, and many people get a stream of inspiration from his posts.

In “Choose Yourself”, one of the claims of James was to become an idea machine. He proposed to write ten ideas a day in a pad. No matter how good those ideas are. No matter how ridiculous they seem at a first glance. Just make the effort of writing ten ideas a day each day, and see how they develop. James also extends his reasoning with a few more rules:

If you cannot write 10 ideas, then write 20

Does this seem contradictory? It is not. Here the point is that if you cannot write ten ideas, you are being too perfectionist and putting too much pressure on yourself. This is not about having 10 killer ideas each day, but about having a lot of ideas. Ideas connect with other ideas. Ideas pair with each other, ideas collaborate and grow. Just let them flow.

Write the next steps for ideas you want to execute

If, after thinking about an idea, you imagine it as a candidate for execution, then start thinking of an execution plan.Write the next steps you need to proceed with in order to make this idea real in a column next to it.

Does this sound like something crazy? Well, Richard Branson did not like the service at an airline when he was flying, so he thought “what if I start my own airline company?”. His next step was calling to Boeing to ask if they had an airplane they could lease. Welcome Virgin Airlines.

I knew also in the past of some other folks that started with similar ideas (for instance, you want to check Mark Allison and his weekly posts in Styling Android). He wrote a post in 2016, summarizing his experience over the last 5 years. Mark started writing a weekly post since March 2011, and since then he has not missed a single week, although he recognized sometimes he was close to it.

One of my great fears when I first started blogging was of running out of ideas to write about. While there have been occasions where I’ve come close to announcing “there won’t be a post this week” I’ve always managed to find something to write about — sometimes posts have been completed very close to publication time! At other times my creative cup runneth over and I have posts written and ready for publication many weeks in advance. In fact, I began writing this post in January 2016 but am finishing it less than 15 minutes before publication — which shows just how erratic things can be
— Mark

The idea of running the Monday Poll was also intended to answer the question “Can I come up with a meaningful idea to be queried to my followers each week, without being repetitive or running out?”. I can agree with my colleague Mark that some weeks I was wondering whether the questions I had on my bucket were too eloquent, stupid or lacking any sense. After 18 polls in 2016, I am more than satisfied with the results and looking forward to the next 52 polls during this 2017.

I have summarized the Monday polls in this Medium post. You can click in any of them, and you will be redirected to the discussion Thread (some of them get interesting!).

Where everything started
On a personal level this was a great surprise! I do work with Kotlin and curate the Kotlin Weekly mailing list. It was a positive surprise to see this good numbers for the Kotlin option.
This question triggered some discussion in a few of the Slack groups where I participate. What does Senior exactly means? Should it be connected only with the number of years working with a technology, also with the soft skills and lead experience?
In this poll I missed the opportunity to differentiate between Dagger and Dagger 2. Dagger was deprecated late last year.
Being a remote advocate, the numbers of this poll did satisfy me quite a lot! It seems that many companies are moving in the right direction. If you want to read more about this, check Remote by Jason Fried
There are big advocates fighting against open spaces (meet Adrian Kosmaczewski, and if you have not yet read “How to be a developer after 40”). With the scarcity of talent and the increasing need for technological contributors, my bet is that this will decrease in the near future.
Again, reading this poll was great. I always struggle to introduce Kotlin in production in many companies due to many unfounded fears. The fact that so many people answered with a brave “100 percent Kotlin” shows that Kotlin is here to stay and is not a temporal fashion.

I want to thank my colleagues Erik Hellman and Sebastiano Poggi for proof-reading the article and giving me many tips on it. So fortunate to know you and being able to collaborate together!

I write my thoughts about Software Engineering and life in general in my Twitter account. Did you like this article or it did help you? Then feel free to share it, like it and/or leave a comment. This is the currency that fuels amateur writers ❤