What is your current professional role and how did you get here?

I’m currently an App Developer at Shifty Jelly. I got here by making a small Australian weather app with a friend in 2008 from home, while both working full time jobs. By 2010 it had become so popular that it was on 1 in every 5 iPhones in Australia. My friend and I were both a bit dense but eventually we realised this must have been a clue that we should do this full time, so we did, in 2010.

What was the first app you worked on and what did it do?

The first app I ever made was called ‘Pocket Sounds’. It was a sound board app, you press the cow, the cow goes moo type thing. It took me a month spending about 1-2 hours a day on it since I knew nothing at all about app development.

What went well? What could have gone better?

What went well? The app sold $2000 worth of copies which I was absolutely over the moon about. Back in 2008 no one knew that App Development was anything more than a fun hobby. What could have gone better? It was a sound board app, there was nothing original or unique about it. I’m both supremely embarassed that this is what I, a senior developer at the time built and extremely proud: you have to start somewhere after all.

What is your favorite among the apps you’ve worked on?

Pocket Casts is my most used app, but I still have a soft spot for an app we built (and later removed from the store) called ‘Time BOM’. It was a nightstand style clock with an alarm and weather on it. It had 3 unique visual styles and I kinda miss that app. It sold terribly though. Also the Bureau of Metereology(BOM) pun was pretty great. And also awful.

At App Camp, we emphasize that it’s important to have interests outside of tech and to take breaks from looking at screens. What are some of your interests outside of tech? What do you do when you need to take a break from work?

I’m getting old now, but mainly outside of tech I like to pretend I can still play sport. Mainly 5 a side soccer with friends and tennis with family. When I need a short break to clear my head I normally go for a walk, or just sit outside in the sun staring into space.

Why do you support what App Camp does?

I want to see the next generation of developers do better than my generation did. I want there to be more girls and women involved. I want things to be more inclusive. I just want the industry as a whole to be more nurturing and kind to the young people rising through its ranks. Most of all I just want everyone to come and experience the fun side of the tech industry, it really can be a wondrous place at times.

What do you recommend to those who want to support more diversity in tech?

If you work in tech, start small, be kind and help out young people who want to get started. Look for those that might not normally be encouraged to take up tech as a career. If you’re more experienced go and speak at places like your local schools and universities about the cool opportunities in tech. And if you feel like you can’t do any of these things, well, donate money to App Camp For Girls of course 😉

How can technology be a force for good?

Technology has the power to turn really complex tasks into really simple ones. Why does that matter? Well it can be used to empower people to do things that are just really frickin’ cool. I guess it can totally change the world as well, as clichéd, tired and overused as that phrase has become it can still be true.

Russell can be found on Twitter and the Material podcast.

Help more girls learn software development. Contribute to the App Camp For Girls Indiegogo fundraiser, get a cool perk, and enjoy the feeling of having helped the next generation of software developers.

James Thomson, TLA Systems
Joe Cieplinski, Independent Designer & Developer