Mobile Development != Mobile Development

Over the last year, we’ve grown Keepsafe Photo Vault from a technically simple app that imports photos from your camera roll into a sophisticated product that utilizes encryption, real-time sync, and other useful and cutting-edge technologies.

We made the decision to start expanding our engineering team a few months ago, and the process led us to think deeply about who, exactly, we need to find in order to scale out our vision and success. You can read more about that process here).

The result of the exercise was to prioritize the personal fulfillment of our team and split mobile development into two distinct projects: Application and Core. I want to use this post to explain the difference between the two. Technical experience isn’t the only thing that determines an engineer’s career trajectory, and I’d like for our future team members to think about the kind of work that makes them happy.

Core Developer

Core Developers live to build strong foundations and infrastructure, creating the framework that accelerates speed and efficiency for App Developers. Complex tasks become simple and flexible APIs that can be utilized by other engineers.

As a Core Developer, you enjoy solving complex problems, building good architecture, and API design. You have a strong understanding of runtime performance, memory management, language structure, and other computer science fundamentals, and you know how to pull an elegant solution out of a difficult puzzle. You love to tackle big, technical challenges with unknown parameters, and you pride yourself on clean API design.

Application Developer

Application Developers find satisfaction in a happy end user, working with people inside and outside of the engineering organization in order to build and improve features that benefit the user.

As an Application Developer, you get excited at the chance to generate value for both the user and the team. You care about making your product work easier, faster and better, and you’d rather build functionality on an existing solution to a problem than constantly reinvent the wheel. You love having an easy-to-use library of flexible and powerful APIs at hand because it lets you focus on the important work: making a happy customer.


We believe that by outlining the differences between these long-term goals, we will build better teams with engineers who work better because they’re solving the kinds of problems that they truly care about. In the long run, our team will be happier because every person on it is doing the kind of work that pushed them into engineering. And if their goals and interests change, we’ll be here to accommodate them.

If you haven’t already, we challenge you to ask yourself the question: “What am I passionate about?” It will not only make it easier for us to have the right conversation about how we can work together to make privacy and security simple for everyone, but it will also make a big difference in how you think about your own career and future.



Engineering problems at Keepsafe. Find open source projects at

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