February 15, 2018

My Android Developer Story

I started working full-time as a Java developer after graduating in 2009. It was around that time that I got to learn about Google developer technologies, especially Android. There weren't much Android phones yet but I had believed Android will be the future. A few months later (already 2010), I started loooking into the developer documentation and studying about developing Android apps.

In 2011, I bought my first Android phone: a Nexus S and subscribed to a Globe postpaid plan. Nexus devices then do not have a SIM tookit and Globe does not have an app for it. I decided to build a simple SIM utility app for personal use. Later, I added support for the other mobile networks and published it on Google Play as PHostpaid, a utility app for postpaid mobile phone services in the Philippines (Globe, Smart, Sun Cellular).

My second app was an Android app for GTUG Philippines (now GDG Philippines), which I am one of the community managers. Users can get the latest blog posts and messages in the mailing list. It was the first app I had published on the Android Market (now Google Play Store). I created a developer account on September 3, 2011 using an ATM debit card as I don't have a credit card to pay for the developer registration fee. Thirteen days after, I published the app. It was one of the first GTUG (now GDG) apps back then.

After these two apps, I started developing more apps and publishing them on Google Play Store.


I decided in 2012 to move to a different company to focus on mobile app development. I have been doing Android on the side but it will be better if I will have firsthand experience on it. Working as an Android Developer will give me knowledge and skills from work and co-workers. I continued working on my personal projects and even looked for Android part-time projects and consulting jobs.

Starting 2012, I did talks and conducted workshops about Android app development, most of which are with Google Developer Groups. These talks/workshops are usually in schools and other events. I have been invited to judge Android development competitions and conduct some Android trainings for companies. With these talks, trainings, and workshops, I got to share my knowledge to others and inspired them to be Android developers like me. It made me learn more too. You can check out the list of my talks and workshops at http://talks.tigcal.com.

One of my Android talks and workshops

Android Apps

As of today, I have published nine (personal) Android Apps on Google Play Store. I also have Tigcal Utilities and an app for Celine (You and Me) there but these two are in Closed Alpha Testing. You can check out my apps at https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Jomar+Tigcal or in my Google Play Developer Page.

My Google Play Developer Page (Desktop view)

Android Gradle Extension

I have also developed a Google Chrome Extension, Android Gradle Extension, that adds Gradle dependency to use for Android API class reference pages at developer.android.com. Users can then copy the Gradle dependency text and use it in their codes. There is also a button to copy the text to the clipboard automatically.

Android Gradle Extension
My Android Gradle Extension at work

Continuous Learning

As Android is always evolving, I'm also keeping myself up-to-date with the latest Android developer news. I read Android developer blog posts and articles and watch relevant videos. I also enroll in different Android online courses. During the Google Developers Study Jams in 2015, I finished Udacity's Developing Android Apps (Android Fundamentals) Course as one of the facilitators for the GDG Philippines Android Fundamentals Study Jams. This year, I'm also planning to take the Associate Android Developer Exam and earn the certification.

Udacity Certificate of Completion

Looking back at my decision before, I am happy I decided to be an Android developer. I have been able to develop apps that I need or that others can use. It feels great that Android users are downloading my apps and using them. And reading reviews and messages from users that my apps have helped or are helping them gives me inspiration to improve my existing apps and develop more.

By the way, if you are in need of an Android developer or consultant to help you develop your app, you can send me a message.

December 31, 2017

Seven Highlights of 2017

Another year will be ending soon. Once again, it's now time for another year-ender blog post. Looking back on what happened this year, there were some postive and negative things, small and big changes, and more. I have compiled the 7 highlights of 2017 into this post.

One Run

Despite the busy schedule, I was able to run in at least one run this year: 7-Eleven Run 2017. This was my third time to run in 7-Eleven Run. I was in the 16k category again. The official results are 02:15:29 (Gun Time) and 02:14:09 (Chip Time). Runtastic says I ran 16.04 km in 2:14:44.

Android Talks and Workshops

I was part of Google I/O 2017 Extended Roadshow, a series of talks and workshops to help professional and student developers deep dive in the new technologies announced. We visited Rizal, Manila, Laguna, Palawan, and Naga this year. I talked about Android Updates and conducted Android Basics workshop.

I also did some Android talks this year in PLM (March 2), STI College Novaliches (March 15), and UE-Manila (September 18). I also helped out in the Palawan Android Study Jams (April 11-12).

Budget Pinoy

Sweldong Pinoy turned five this year! We have announced a new app that we're working on: Budget Pinoy. Budget Pinoy is a tool for Filipinos in computing gross and net pay based on user's budget. You can try the app at https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.sweldongpinoy.budget

Budget Penny and GDGPH Google Assistant Apps

I have started developing apps for Google Assistant and published two apps already: Budget Penny and GDG Philippines. Budget Penny is your budget assistant that's ready to help in managing your finances. Through the Google Assistant app for the Google Developer Group (GDG) Philippines, you can ask it about the upcoming events and more information about GDG Philippines.

Tigcal Utilities and You and Me

Earlier this year, my mother switched to a smartphone and I made an app for her. The app, Tigcal Utilities, includes three utility mini-apps: Battery, Bill Calculator, and Flashlight. The Battery app opens the Battery Usage Settings while Flashlight app allows the user to turn on and off the flashlight. Bill Calculator is an app that allows users to split the electric bill based on total kWH used.

I also made an app for Celine. Development for it started last year and I was only able to finish it now. It is a simple app for you and your and your special someone. I published it under Closed Alpha Testing on Google Play Store because there's still more to be done for it to be useful to other couples. I'm hoping I can work on it and release it soon.

Celine in Manila

After almost two years, Celine went back to Manila for a week last June. She met her friends during lunch and dinner. Celine and I also went to our home to visit my family. We were also able to go to a beach when we went with friends to Batangas to celebrate Mama Chelle's birthday.


I started the year in Canada and now I'm ending it here too.

I'm looking forward to 2018! There are a lot of things to be done but it will be a really exciting year.

November 19, 2017

Google Developer Group Philippines

Today is the tenth anniversary of GDG Philippines. Google Developer Group (GDG) Philippines is a group of enthusiastic Filipino developers interested to collaborate and learn more about new technologies. It is the second oldest GDG in the world. Happy 10th year GDGPH!

I was one of the community managers of GDG Philippines. It started as me being a regular attendee during the early days of GDG. Around 2009, I became one of its managers. We plan and organize events for students and developers in Metro Manila and nearby cities. To make these happen, we coordinate with sponsors, speakers, and suppliers for our community events. We also conduct talks and workshops about Google developer technologies on conferences and schools whose students invite us. I usually do talks and workshops about Android development. I have also facilitated Android Fundamentals and Android Basics Study Jams. I was also one of those who handled the blog and social media accounts of the group.

Some of my contributions to GDG Philippines include developing apps which I did while learning about Google developer technologies. The GDG Philippines Android App, which was one of the first GDG Android apps published on Google Play, was one of my first Android apps I have made. My first Google Chrome Extension, the GDG Philippines Chrome Extension, was the first GDG Chrome Extension IIRC. While learning about developing apps for Google Assistant, I have developed a Google Assistant App for GDGPH too. I also created applications for event registrations and check-in, as well as a raffle app based on the list of attendees.

I've been in GDG Philippines for quite a long time that it has been my second family. Our goal is to help developers become better developers. It have made me a better developer and a better person. There's also a sense of accomplishment when you were able to share your knowledge to the attendees and inspired them to learn more and use it to develop their own apps. In most schools that we've been too, Android is not yet a part of the curriculum so it's great we were able to let them know the what, why, how, and more. I also get to learn some more while teaching others.

Through GDG, I have been able to expand my network and meet other managers from tech groups in the Philippines and fellow GDG community managers from Southeast Asia and other regions. I also had the opportunity to meet and learn from Googlers and experts. We were able to travel to different cities in the Philippines (especially the ones where there aren't much tech events) to share about Google developer technologies through talks and workshops. I have been able to attend Google I/O where I learned a lot which we shared back to the community through the I/O Extended Roadshow.

It is truly a great experience to be a part of GDG Philippines. If you still haven't joined a GDG Philippines event, join us now! Learn more about the group and our events at https://gdgph.org and follow our social media accounts.