Anatomy of the API Software Developer

Anatomy of the API Software Developer

Antonio Tamez-Elizondo

Antonio Tamez-Elizondo

5 min

Good products require a good team to realize a company’s vision and provide the best possible service to the customer. More than anything else, a company’s greatest asset is its people. Success or failure depends on the quality of this talent. A mixture between technical skills and traditional human aptitudes, such as leadership, intuition, hard work, and ambition. API developers are not different.

But what is it that they do, exactly? What is required of them to provide a quality product? We all know about the place that APIs hold in the hierarchy of the digital marketplace. We are fully aware of their major importance in the well-being of a business. But that would be just scratching the surface. There’s much more depth behind the technology we take for granted.

Understanding the company’s vision as an API Developer

At their core, API developers are wish fulfillers that look at a company’s API plan and deliver a product that meets their goals and criteria. They work back and forth with the stakeholders during the development process. They make suggestions and corrections, and fine tune the end result. This way, they guarantee that the best possible product is delivered to the clients. 

Products like Reloadlys API for top ups. With it, businesses can sell airtime to migrant workers or expats and facilitate the delivery. What is airtime? That’s the amount of time a user has to use a mobile phone in countries were prepaid plans have dominance.

Then there are other specialized APIs. Like Reloadly’s own APIs for data bundles and digital gift cards. Although a proficiency in various technical skills is required to meet these ends, the human factor is of equal importance.

Let’s look at both skill sets to understand the makeup of an API developer.

The technical side of API developers

Companies want team members that are smart and quick problem solvers. However, it is also important that they own the right tool kit for the job:

Solid programming knowledge.

All API developers need to be sharp programmers who understand the API’s framework. This also means having knowledge of the management tools and different architecture styles to be employed.

Proficiency in coding languages.

Software companies value API developers with a rich knowledge of coding languages. Projects are not monolithic, and each one has its own subtleties. Depending on the constraints of the project, the best language will have to be used to meet the goals.

Companies can be assured that an API developer with such knowledge is a guarantee that a project will be successful.

Understanding the philosophy of API developers.

Developers need to understand how to generate the right connection between devices and applications. Different platforms require different approaches. For example, developing an API for desktops is not the same as doing so for mobile. A well-rounded API design skill set allows the developer to interconnect applications and platforms with ease. 

Cross-platform design.

These days, it is common for companies to offer cross-platform apps to meet demand and accommodate a wider customer base that uses a variety of different devices. These CP apps are quickly growing in popularity by allowing developers to work by using just one code base.

Being knowledgeable of this skill requires the API developer to be proficient in various (and very specific) coding languages, such as Flutter and Xamarin, but also have UI/UX sensibilities, spatial reasoning, and even a basic grasp of graphic design.

Solid understanding of a connected world.

The Internet of Things is exploding, thanks in part to the growing popularity of smartphones in the last 14+ years, with 1.43 billion units sold worldwide by the end of 2021. API developers need to learn how to integrate systems that allow communication between sensors, appliances, smart cars, etc.

Integration knowledge.

APIs integrate different systems. Integration skills are vital in every API developer’s toolkit. They help them to allow server compatibility with various platforms and services, some of which may even be in different countries. This could be challenging for any developer without such skills. 

Use of programming tools.

APIs are developed with the help of many different tools, such as directory and database managers. And program editors. These make life easier for the API developer, as they help them during the entirety of the work process. It is important for him or her to have such knowledge, as its absence will complicate the job in many ways.

Fluency in communication.

APIs come with extra material that adds to the software, so that the user understands all its details. Good API developers know how to explain their work in simple and easy terms, as sometimes it will be necessary to document product information and specifications of importance for the end user.

This means that the API developer can sometimes cross the line between being a programmer and a technical author, so it is important to have a good sense of the written word. 

The human side of API developers

API developers show certain psychological traits that help them do their job successfully. This is, after all, a very demanding line of work.

API Developers are:

  1. Confident. Building a software system is like designing a house: there are many equally valid ways to do it. API developers build their confidence through hard work. Also, not by keeping their ideas to themselves, but making them known by suggesting possible routes of action. They speak up during discussions and meetings and are equally open about their colleagues’ ideas and suggestions.
  2. Adaptable. Projects change due various reasons, and these could be big or small. A successful API developer focuses on what has changed and works towards the new priorities, as there is no time to lash out in frustration over what happened.
  3. Enjoy challenges. It’s not easy to build applications, and sometimes the process is like a puzzle game. It takes time and effort to find elegant solutions to problems, reasons why the code isn’t compiling, or what’s behind all the bugs. For the API developer, there is always a solution to the problem. It is just a matter of figuring it out.

They also

  1. Know the value of a deadline. API developers understand that their work is important, but they are also aware of the ways of the market. Deadlines are critical not just to getting the product out the door, but also to get the job done, otherwise a project would linger off indefinitely. Developers know that a good quality product takes time, even if it means a few hours of extra time, or even late nights. In the end, they find satisfaction in knowing they delivered a service of the best possible quality.
  2. Are Team members. Even though back in college many developers did their coding by themselves, the realities of corporate life are different. No place for solo coders here: good API developers know how to get along with co-workers and successfully deal with people under various stages of stress. They get to know their colleagues as people, not just workers, and that helps them understand the subtle psychological balance of the modern corporate space.
  3. Always look for a new skill to master. They know that technology advances rapidly, and the tools and coding languages they use today are not the ones they will use tomorrow. Honing a new skill to face new projects and technologies is a vital psychological skill to have in this industry. Company’s may provide continual training, but developers like to take their time to learn as much as they can on their own.

Some final API Software Developer thoughts

API development is a fun, but complex, job. As time progresses, we will see more professionals join the working force, but they will do so after developing the right technical skills and cultivating the necessary psychological traits. Every job has its requirements, and no two people are the same.

Well grounded individuals make great API developers. At Reloadly, we are always looking for the best talent to work with our API for top ups and help develop new products. The future of airtime, data bundles, and digital gift cards is linked to API development.

Reloadly has gathered some of the best API developers worldwide. They are constantly improving our services, helping us be one of the leading providers in the market for digital gift cards, airtime, and data top ups. For more information, you can get in touch with our support team.

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