This month we have interviewed out Head of Android Development, Chris Eggison.
So Chris, when did you join the Exploding Phone team and what were you doing before?
I joined the company in July 2013. I had just graduated from Higher Education although I had also worked within the NHS while at university.
As Head of Android Development what are the key skills and deliverables that you bring to the role?
Since joining the company my skill set had evolved such that I think it’s fair to call me a ‘full stack developer’. By that I mean that I can turn my hand to pretty much all aspect to the development process. So this includes system architecture design, coding the back-end and front end, APIs and server side stuff. I do a lot of Java coding and a bit more JavaScript, PHP and SQL these days. I use Android Studio for Android development, PhpStorm for backend (PHP) and web front end (ReactJS) development.
What’s the most complex project on which you have worked on while at Exploding Phone?
The GNFR app for Euro Packaging was probably the most complicated. As the project evolved I needed to develop some interesting logic to deliver a solution capable of matching complex business processes. More recently the Solutions Fire app was technically interesting as in involved implementing a Socket server capable of simultaneously handling many consumer devices.
And what is the most unusual project you’ve worked on?
We built an app for a Chinese organisation. The challenges here we mainly cultural specifically ensuring that the deliverable operated in a way that made sense to Chinese users.
How would you describe the Exploding Phone culture?
Obviously professional interactions have changed over the past 12 months but the company approach remains pretty laid back. People are collaborative, open and straightforward, so it’s a fun place to work. So we take delivering customer solutions very seriously, but everything else, not so much!
On the subject of Covid-19, how has lock-down impacted the way you work?
Well my cats appreciate the company and it has reduced my commute time, however I enjoyed the commute as a time to read and reflect so I’m looking forward to getting back into the office, even in a part time capacity.
What motivates you professionally?
Not sure many people know this but as a child I wanted to be a vet, however as I got older I developed a fascination with computer games, which led to an interest in video game development. I didn’t want my hobby to become my job, but I had discovered my passion for coding, and the rest, as they say, is history.
How do you see your role developing in the near and medium term?
I think the Kotlin programming language is going to feature more in delivering projects. Similarly I expect that Jetpack UI is going to become more important as a means of building user interfaces. I anticipate seeing more Android enhancements with new version updates coming along. We expect to invest more heavily in delivering web apps with ReactJS.
What are the key characteristics for someone to be successful in your role?
Clearly my razor sharp sardonic wit is valuable but probably not essential to the role. More realistically someone in the role needs to be willing and competent to tackle a broad range of challenges, and have the flexibility to quickly to learn new skills. I also think that it is imperative to be able to write efficient code, which is sometimes not appreciated in the modern computing landscape with powerful devices on the market even in low-end mobile devices.
What is your favourite memory of working for Exploding Phone?
Pre-Covid the team would regularly go on works nights out. For some reason we all seem to enjoy the challenge of attempting to defeat the never-ending meat-fest that is the local Brazilian stake-house, although we haven’t managed it yet.

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