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What is an API Developer and What Do They Do

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Technology keeps on changing every single day. Today, it has changed how businesses run and operate. This has largely been due to the use of APIs. They have made it possible for different software used in businesses to share data and communicate continuously, streamlining business operations.

If you look at the fastest-growing companies in the world such as Uber and Airbnb, you will realize that they are all using APIs for data sharing and communication with other applications. Companies that have not been able to adapt to these changes have either closed shop or are slowly doing so. So, what is an API, who builds them, and what do they exactly do to make sure that their APIs are successful?

What is an API?

An API (Applications Programming Interface) is a software intermediary through which applications are able to communicate and share data. It is that part of a server that sends responses after getting requests.

If you look at the fastest-growing companies in the world such as Uber and Airbnb, you will realize that they are all using APIs for data sharing and communication with other applications.Click To Tweet

A good example of using an API is when you launch an app on your mobile phone. Here, the application will send data to the server after connecting to the internet. In return, the server will retrieve and interpret the data, do what you wanted it to do, and then send it to the application on your phone. The application will retrieve, interpret the data, and present it to you in a way that you can understand. This process takes place through an API.

What is an API Developer?

One of the best careers in technology today is software development, which includes API development. This tells you that this is a very important industry in the world today.

An API developer is a software developer tasked with building and developing APIs. Even though they are software developers, they are slightly different from other software developers in that;

  • They possess perfect communication skills: When an API is released and ready for use, one of the things that cannot lack is its documentation. The documentation is used to complement the API, guide its consumers on how to implement it, and offer vital information about the API. The documentation should be prepared by the API developers with the help of technical writers since they understand the API better than anyone else. Without good communication skills, this will not be possible. 
  • They have vast programming skills: Only competent programmers should consider themselves as API developers. They are supposed to be professionals in a number of languages since the APIs they build are used across a number of software written in different programming languages.
  • They deeply understand the entire stack: API developers are required to have a deep understanding of a number of technologies. This is because they create solutions for different architectures.
  • They have the ability to know when to re-use software: An API developer should be able to know if an existing part of an application can be re-used to avoid writing code from scratch. They should also be able to know when an existing part of an application is poorly written and might bring problems in the future if re-used.

What Does an API Developer Do?

Having defined who an API developer is above and how they differ from other software developers, one might simply say that API developers build APIs. Even though that is true, they do more than just building APIs.

API developers are the channel through which the API requirements of an organization are passed before they are turned into an actual API. This means that an organization’s stakeholders come up with a vision for their API and then the developer understands and interprets this vision to come up with a product – the API. Through the process of developing the API, the API developer works together with the organization to come up with a product that meets all the set requirements.

While building the APIs, the API developers follow a set of guidelines to make sure that the APIs they come with will enhance consumer experience and make things easy for other developers who might implement the API. 

Finally, with the assistance of technical writers, API developers are tasked with writing the documentation of the API that they are building. This is important in guiding future consumers of the API when they are implementing it.

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