How to build a great mobile development team

It doesn't take any massive insight to see that the mobile industry is heating up. Mobile gaming companies are getting acquired, mobile media sharing companies are taking down massive funding rounds. With the excitement, there has been a massive demand for talented engineers to write apps for iOS and Android, which are currently extremely under supplied in the market. Scrolling through my list of gtalk contacts, about 1/3 of them have referral links to their startups for "great mobile developers."

Despite the difficulty hiring great mobile engineers, I feel confident saying that we have an amazing mobile team at JTV. We released our first app for iPhone exactly a year ago. Since then, our mobile apps have collectively been downloaded over 4 million times across Android and iPhone. Recently, we released Socialcam for Android and iPhone which were built on both platforms in just under 2 months from start to finish.

How did we go from a company with no mobile experience to one with thriving mobile apps in just a year? At first, we gave a half-hearted try at recruiting mobile devs with experience. Unfortunately, we quickly learned that they were few and far between, and all working on their own projects! In the meanwhile, the mobile ecosystem was heating up and we desperately wanted to get into the space and plant a flag in mobile video. What in heaven's name were we to do?!

We ended up taking the approach we have always taken at JTV to solve every problem: we hired or repurposed smart engineers to work on our mobile apps who didn't necessarily have a ton (read: any) experience. Our philosophy has always been to hire talented engineers with strong programming backgrounds and let them work on areas of the company they are interested in, regardless of domain experience. Subsequently, we grew our mobile teams to 2 iOS engineers, 1 Android engineer, and 1 mobile product designer. 

Mobile development isn't rocket science. For the most part it isn't even computer science. What we discovered while building a web company is that web development isn't a dark art; talented programmers can figure it out easily. The same is true of mobile platforms. Find some smart hackers and start hacking.

If you want to work on great mobile apps, we're hiring strong programmers at Socialcam to hack on iOS and Android (whether you have direct experience or not :D). Come be part of a small, talented team that moves extremely fast.