A Flutter/Dart software development specialist is a software engineer developing in a language called Dart, using a framework called Flutter. The Dart language, developed by Google, is aimed at programming user interfaces deployed on a variety of platforms such as Android OS, Apple IOS, as well as, web servers. The code it generates runs fast as if it were a “native app.” Flutter is a framework or toolkit, written to run on Dart. It provides higher-level functions, objects, and tools in the Dart programming environment.
- What is an Android Developer?
- What Is Frontend Development?
- What is a User Interface (UI)?
- What is a Backend System?
Read More about a “Flutter/Dart Developer”
Dart is similar to Java, and by using Flutter, one can program front-end, user applications from a single code base which can be deployed to most of the mobile and browsers currently in use. Developers only need to master Flutter and Dart, rather than several other languages to deploy applications to the most popular platforms in use today. Flutter provides a rich set of user experience (UX or UI) widgets that can interface, over the internet (or intranet) with one or more backend systems.
To develop using this platform, programmers need to master the Dart language and become well acquainted with the Flutter toolkit.
Dart and its development tools, for the most part, are free. It is one of the fastest-growing development communities today, offering scores of tutorials, libraries, and forums.
The Essential Skills for a Flutter/Dart Developer
While having a degree in software development is a plus, many developers are self-taught and do not have a degree in any field.
Regardless of the level of education, the usual software developer skills are essential, namely to:
- Understand the basics of programming and especially OO (Object-Orientation)
- Be familiar with how IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) work
- Have a feel for the key metaphors usually applied to end-user applications (such as swiping, referred to as the UI)
- Be methodical, detail-oriented, able to listen and write, and see structure and patterns.
Flutter/Dart Job Description and Responsibilities
Typically, the work of this type of a developer mirrors what one would find in other front end developer jobs, namely that the developer can/would:
- Work in an Agile team, working to short deadlines (usually 2-weeks), to either research technology, architecture, user stories, and/or conceptualize designs
- Draft test situations that will assure users that the program(s) meet their requirements
- Document code, assist with training, and produce other “help” materials and examples
- Interact with the help desk who will field issues and suggestions received from end users
- Monitor the performance of the code, how it gets used, where it fails, and suggest improvements
- Assist marketing to promote, adjust, or incorporate features in the application.
What Are the Core Concepts that a Flutter/Dart Developer Should Know?
While Flutter/Dart programmers have an advantage if they know another programming language, they also benefit by knowing the current IT principles, concepts, and terminology.
Dart re-visits how users and programs interact. It looks to reduce the complexity which arises from conversing with the operating system to manage screen objects. It does this by being its own virtual machine (VM). This way, it can control the display down to the pixel level. This allows it to react more quickly to user instructions. The VM approach makes the programs that it runs portable, as the VM addresses the idiosyncrasies of each OS/Browser platform.
Being an OO language, developers must know how to model objects, define attributes, work with different data types, etc. Like other languages, Dart makes use of parameter passing, dependency injection (to separate responsibilities), and SOLID principles.
Flutter, at its core, provides programmers with a standard object interface. Nearly every object in its framework is a widget. Widgets can take, as parameters, other widgets and when they coalesce, they become widget trees. Thus the overall App is a widget tree consisting of sub-widgets that might provide a scaffold (i.e. another collection of widgets) or more primitive widgets such as a data entry field, image, and so forth.
Initially, a Flutter App’s primary widget tree is either stateful or stateless reflecting whether the widget is constructed only once, or redrawn when the data it presents changes. However, more recently, other types of dynamic widgets have come on the scene. These objects can be embedded within stateless (i.e. created once) widgets and update their contents without causing Dart to redraw the entire widget tree.
How Can I Learn Flutter/Dart?
As mentioned previously, Flutter/Dart is a cross-platform development tool. Thus one only needs to master a single programming language and can then deploy code to multiple platforms. Having some experience in any modern programming language helps.
Many of the programmers are teaching themselves, leveraging the growing body of tutorials found online. There are some fee-based courses, however, the Dart.Dev official website also provides training for free. There are also scores of places offering free training content:
- YouTubers such as Derek Bana and CodeX
- Books such as “Flutter In Action” by Eric Windmill.
- Learn Dart
- Become familiar with an IDE
- Master the basics of Flutter
- Learn some core libraries
- Delve deeper into more complex situations, for example, learning how to
- Listen for changes in data from a server, and
- Employ newer widgets that, for example, dynamically respond to changes.
Is There Work For Flutter/Dart Developers?
In general, technology is a good career path. Some technologies, though interesting, fail to garner interest. Given the time it takes to learn, the trick is to find a technology worthy of investment as one does not want to find one knows something where there is no market demand. Hence, one should judge a technology based on it:
- Having momentum
- Being stable
- Promising something of value to businesses (as it is they who spend money on projects)
- Being backed by an industry leader.
Flutter/Dart though nascent is stable. It is the brainchild of Google who, having developed GoLang for servers, crafted a separate tool for end user interaction (UI).
For years, businesses have searched for cross-platform solutions. Having multiple versions of the same program to support different platforms (i.e. Android, Web, and IOS versions) is expensive. Developers know that the early adopters will be handsomely rewarded, hence why in surveys of up-and-coming programming languages one can see a spike in developers gravitating toward the Flutter/Dart language, and why an average developer salary is competitive with other platforms, running around $90,000/annually.