So you’ve come up with the great idea, done the research, raised the first round of capital, and now you’re about to outsource your app build to a software development agency. But web and app development is a complicated and highly specialised business with a language all of its own.
How do you get past the jargon and stay confident that you’re working with the right team, a team who both understand your project and really know what they’re doing, especially after those initial sales meetings when you actually get down to the nitty gritty of a complex and often time pressured build process. You may have checked out their portfolio and seen some amazing examples of previous work, but unless you can understand and communicate with your outsourced development team you run the risk of losing control of the project build, not an option for startup builds on tight timescales and even tighter budgets.
For the majority of time-pressured entrepreneurs, time means money. Often a new business venture has to be squeezed into spare time outside another job, or involves working continuously to become an expert or stay at the front of the game in the new field. So for the majority of new business owners, channelling precious time away from their core interests into the study of software development is often just a multi tasking step too far.
A good way to make sure that your development project runs smoothly, apart from making sure that you have an experienced project manager on board, is to learn the language. In jargon heavy industries like software development, update meetings and conference calls can sometimes feel like a foreign language, so just like when on holiday, take the time to learn some of the key definitions so that you can really get involved.
One of the strangest words you might hear your team throwing around is ‘Python’. It’s not a word you’re probably expecting to use in a new app build project, but it should be.
Python is of course a programming language and it’s one with a multitude of uses. Now one of the most widely taught languages in schools and universities, Python has been around for almost thirty years and has quietly become the third most popular programming language (according to the September 2018 TIOBE index). But it’s not just popular with students, Python is designed to be easy to learn, highly readable and benefits from large libraries (collections of ‘ready to use’ functions that mean developers can spend less time writing bespoke code) covering a wide variety of subjects and sectors, making it popular with developers. Developer preferences soon make their mark on industry too, and Python can be found in a wide variety of sectors from creative to scientific, from small startups to global Fortune 500s.
And if you’re simply a new startup building your first web app? Good news, Python is perfect for you too. Programmers may love its simplicity and enforcement of good programming habits, but you’ll love the fact that it is great for prototypes, and its massive library resources can take care of a lot of the heavy lifting, allowing projects to happen fast, with smaller, more cost effective teams. Python frameworks (groups of commonly used components for faster building) like Django can help web builds happen at high speed, great for startups and proof of concepts, even better for budgets. Using a programming language that is widely taught and popular with developers is also useful for future proofing your project, giving you greater flexibility for maintenance options or updates.
Python can be found within the operations of Google, Facebook, Netflix, Spotify and Instagram. But it’s not all about the social and creative – one of Python’s most exciting attributes is its ability to handle big data and machine learning, meaning it can be found in data visualisation, recommendation engines and scientific projects too. Like the fledgling entrepreneur, its a real multi tasker, and it isn’t afraid of hard work.
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