I have just been hired by a start-up as a back-end engineer, along with 1 other front-end dev. They want us to developer a complex mobile application within a short deadline.

The front-end is a website dev however, he doesn't have any mobile experience and is strictly web based.

My skills are back-end only so he will need to do the entire client-side. I am worried he doesn't have the skills required, as mobile dev is very different. I am worried I will end up having to either train him or do it for him, missing the deadline.

I have been put in charge of selecting the technology we use, and in charge of the project. Any advice on how to handle this, as I don't want to overstep my position or bring down the other team member by raising my concerns to the employer?

  • Are you sure you need a native app? Is there a plan for android and iOs Apps?
    – FooTheBar
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 11:21
  • "tech start up" - didn't the person hiring you have technical skills? Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 11:26
  • native would be best, as the apps involve recording video. Later down the line they want to use the latest AR and ML libraries that aren't supported with hybrid yet. To meet the deadline I would suggest a hybrid language, but again the guy only knows angular. Maybe he could transition his skills, but the only 2 hybrids I have heard good things about are RN and Flutter, neither of them angular. I hear Nativescript is really bad.
    – flexi
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 11:30
  • 1
    I don't want to be too negative about that, but imho 2 months is completly unrealistic. The guy might want to have a look at phonegap or react native though, maybe he can pull it off.
    – tritop
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 12:09
  • 1
    @flexi, can you please clarify something for me? You say you'd have to train the other dev or do the frontend mobile dev, but at the same time you're saying you're a backend developer. Do you have the necessary frontend skills to do either train or do?
    – Charmander
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 13:01

1 Answer 1


I'd suggest speaking to the other developer first. If your first step is to go to management questioning the guys credentials (not matter how on the money you might be), you will likely engender a negative working relationship.

Instead, have a chat with him and air your concerns. Maybe you'll find out he already knows this and has been busting his gut to ramp up. Or perhaps he has no problems working long days in order to meet deadlines if it means getting real world exposure to the field he wants to work in.

If after speaking with him you still have concerns then you can raise it with your employer as an FYI.

  • I like your answer better than mine. It says exactly what I'm trying to say and is much nicer about it.
    – Chris E
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 11:33
  • I have re-worded the question a bit, but it appears to be re-opened anyway.
    – flexi
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 12:31
  • I understand what you guys are saying, usually it wouldn't be my business... however, it's an unofficial cto position. I am expected to lead the development and select which stacks we use.
    – flexi
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 12:33
  • 1
    @flexi I would email someone with actual authority first and get a direct answer to whether you have the authority to choose the stack. A direct yes or no. Not some BS "you're a de facto CTO" or anything vague. If you get an unambiguous "yes" then by all means, do that. As an aside, "unofficial cto" is another way of saying, "I want to make you responsible but not give you actual authority or commensurate pay". If you're told yes, then you really ought to demand a title change reflecting that, such as Development Manager or at the least Lead Developer.
    – Chris E
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 12:43
  • I have an unambiguous yes to choose the stack... but I don't think I can push for the title without risking the job. It's a project for a huge client and the salary isn't bad for my area. If it's successful the benefits will be huge. I think he wants to hold back cto so I have room for progression, if I demand it I risk loosing the job. I am tempted to just mention I don't think it reflects the responsibility and ask if it can be changed slightly as you suggest.
    – flexi
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 13:38

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