Busy developer Stan Bogdanov graciously gave us a few minutes of his time this week to talk about his development background, his current app projects, and his thoughts on the software development landscape, and other interesting tidbits (like how he hacked his way into his mom’s work computer as a young lad!). Without further ado, here’s our interview.
Tell us about your background.
I have more than ten years of HigherEd experience and have created websites, mobile apps, promotional videos, and more! Sometimes I like to call myself a “degree collector” and hold a BS in Finance, an MBA in MIS, and an MA in Educational Technology. I have been working with computers since age ten, when I accidentally hacked into my mother’s accounting system.
That story goes back to the days of DOS, Windows 3.11, and DOS-based accounting software. My mother worked as an accountant for the biggest tobacco company where I am originally from - Bulgaria. I used to spend my days there in the summers and buzz around the IT and accounting departments. I always found the programs they used fascinating and loved just going through different menus and options and "exploring" what I was able to see when someone walked away from their PC. I had found out the usernames for a lot of my mom's colleagues by playing around when they weren't there, but one day I decided to see what would happen if I put in the username ALSO in the password field. What do you know? That person used the same thing for their username AND password! Those were the days when people weren't as concerned or aware of hacking and the need for good credentials. What was even scarier was that I had logged in with an administrator's account and by mistake deleted all the accounting transactions they had entered for the whole month! Needless to say, I quickly got a beating, but I also learned something else by the end of the day - the IT department had done something that had saved my sore butt - they had made a backup of it all just before I deleted it. This was probably one of those moments that really sparked my interest in IT! Needless to say, my mom and I still remember it to this day.
What got you interested in coding and development?
I love the logic behind it - code just made sense and made things happen in a meaningful way. The thing that drew me most to coding, however, was the fact that I could create anything I wanted with it! It is like the perfect art canvas!
Tell us about your "day job".
I work at Adelphi University full-time during the day as an educational technologist. Being able to contribute back to my alma-mater and help mold student minds is a very rewarding experience. Working at Adelphi and being involved in the edtech field is also what motivated me to start Boglio, a technology company focused on educational technology and e-learning. At Boglio, we use cutting-edge technology to develop exceptional interactive e-learning. We are passionate about helping our clients develop world-class EdTech solutions that can expand their organizations and client base. From grant-subsidized projects for non-profits to contract work for multi-million-dollar corporations, if we come across something that interests us - we'll make it! Whether it is computer based training, a massive open online course, or an educational mobile app – Boglio brings ideas to life! You can check us out at http://bogliollc.com/.
What are you currently working on?
Currently, at Boglio, we are working on two big projects we hope to turn into mobile apps targeting Intel-powered devices. One of the apps aims to connect personal trainers with people looking for fitness advice and the other is collaboration through a grant project with a Columbia University PhD researcher. The second project will help enhance the lives of patients living with HIV and cancer.
With the medical app, the researcher just submitted a grant proposal with our participation in it and it will hopefully get approved in April. Until then, we can't really divulge more information. Our fitness app is also in too early stages to mention and I am unfortunately prevented from discussing other projects (sorry - NDAs).
What would you say has been your biggest success story?
I've been blessed to have several success stories, but one of the bigger successes recently was the winning of Intel's Android Codefest in NYC, where our app, adviceMAMA, got noticed from high-up staff in the United Nations Foundation. More from Community Manager Bob Duffy:
Social Good App Winner: $1000 prize + Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 for each member
A near unanimous decision by judges. This app was exactly the kind of app the UN Foundation asked the developers to come up with and within the time, not only does the app look great, it was functional app that allowed questions about pregnancy to be asked then quickly answered
Description: A social good app that allows expecting mothers with any type of cell phone (dumb or smart) to subscribe to text tips from MAMA or ask MAMA volunteers questions about their pregnancy.
Developer Notes: Used XDK to edit code and test and rapidly prototype. Ability for smartphone app and just text-based communication that helps people.
*This app is not affiliated with MAMA or the UN Foundation
What Intel tools/SDK did you use to develop the app?
For adviceMAMA, we used the very powerful Intel XDK, which we still use for bringing prototypes quickly into the testing phase.
We were thoroughly impressed by the amount of work Intel has put into their XDK and it quickly became one of our favorite tools. It was very easy and intuitive to use and there were plenty of examples we could build off of.
What do you think are the standout features about your app that everyone should know?
The real-time communication and interface between text-messaging and app-messaging is definitely a stand-out feature.
What project(s) are you most proud of?
I am most proud of Adelphi University's mobile web-app, AU2Go, which I was part of developing - m.adelphi.edu
What is exciting for you right now in app development?
I am very excited about wearable computing and am looking for innovative ways to integrate it in what we do at Boglio.
I believe wearable devices that integrate with our smartphones and computers are what will usher in the era of ubiquitous computing. Computing that is so effortlessly integrated in our lives that it feels natural and part of us, part of our world. A lot of attention is paid on wearable devices when it comes to sports or personal tracking and fitness. However, I think where this trend will certainly shine in the near future is healthcare. There are so many applications that have not been tapped as much yet and could actually have the impact of saving people's lives. As part of our medical app, we will actually be utilizing some sensors that patients would wear on themselves to do some very valuable things, such as, for example, track how much water they drink during the day, which is something very important for cancer patients.
What trends do you see in app development?
It is much easier to get into app development with all the tools available nowadays. I think one of the biggest trends in the field is the ubiquitousness of it all. It is truly inspiring that anyone with enough determination could pick up some tools, learn a language, and develop a killer application! As far as technical developments, I believe cross-platform apps will become better and better alternatives to native and improve in their performance. In the future, it also wouldn't matter much what language a specific application was developed with - it would still run on any Intel-powered mobile device.
What do you think has been the biggest challenge for you personally in app development?
One of my biggest challenges has personally always been finding time to actually improve my coding knowledge. A lot is learnt on the job, but there's great value in formally taking online or in-person classes to become a better and more efficient programmer.
Anything else you’d like to add?
You can learn more about me by visiting my personal site at stanrb.com and checking out this profile that my alma-mater did on me few months back - http://profiles.adelphi.edu/profile/stanislav-bogdanov/
Thanks again to developer Stan Bogdanov for taking the time out from a very busy schedule to give us a glimpse into the life of a developer!