Becoming An Experienced Flash Developer

With the Adobe Flash Platform expanding into more markets indicates the need of ActionScript/Flash Developers to expand their knowledge to the match the growth of the industry.  So what might one be benefited in knowing to becoming a better ActionScript/Flash Developer?

Grant Skinner has put together a solid checklist of skill sets that an experienced ActionScript/Flash Developer should consider having.  It’s not the bible but it is definitely a great model for success as a ActionScript/Flash Developer.

Grant’s Checklist

Skills I would expect any experienced Flash Developer to have include:

  • ActionScript development (obviously)
  • OOP experience
  • Some experience with architecture / design patterns
  • Code standards
  • Data services integration: XML, JSON, SOAP, etc.
  • Problem solving
  • Debugging
  • Optimization, both code and graphics
  • Quality testing
  • Reasonable understanding of UX and interaction design
  • Basic graphic design and motion graphics skills (enough to understand and implement designer concepts)
  • Graphics import
  • Basic skills with Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks (for tweaks / exporting art)
  • Basic understanding of video / audio compression
  • Programmatic motion
  • Writing (for team / client communication, documentation, comments, etc)
  • Verbal communication and interpersonal skills for team / client interaction
  • Experience working with Flash and the timeline
  • Experience with an external code editor (ex. FlexBuilder, FDT, FlashDevelop)
  • High level understanding of Flex, FMS, Remoting, FlashLite, AIR and other core Flash platform products / libraries
  • High level understanding of server development and databases (not necessary an ability to implement anything, but a small amount of experience / understanding of the models)
  • Basic understanding of HTML, JS, CSS
  • Integration with HTML, JS
  • Community awareness (online resources, frameworks, etc)
  • Basic math – understanding and combining +, -, /, *, %, exponents and basic trigonometry (sin, cos, atan2, etc)


Personally, I’ve always felt to become a reliable experience ActionScript/Flash Developer, you have got to know the ins and outs of Flash and how it can interact with the outside world.  Without that knowledge, you potentially strip the use of Flash of what it is most capable of doing with its diverse integration.  In other words, I think that the list that Grant provides is pretty spot on.

But hey that’s my opinion.  How do you feel?  Do you agree with the checklist that Grant has put together?  Feel free to express your opinion below or head over to Grant’s blog and join the controversy there.

10 thoughts on “Becoming An Experienced Flash Developer

  1. This list is spot on. This should be on all job postings for flash developers! definitely on senior flash developer job postings, and some of them need to be even on junior postings as well.

  2. @ zedia: This list is meant to be taken into consideration. Every item on this list can only enhance your position as a Flash developer.

    Also, it doesn’t mean you need to be an expert in all aspects of this list but it is imperative that you keep your feet wet in them.

  3. Hi, I Googled “flash developer checklist” and your post was #3 after only 3 days!

    .. was thinking..
    Wouldn’t it be great if there was a site where you could define a lot of these traits/know-hows and also explain for up-and-coming developers how to reach each of them? Like a knowledge-management wiki for the community?

    I scored about 20/25 of your list, and much of that comes through “community awareness” reading mailing-lists and keeping your “ear to the ground”, whats the recent buzz..

    Now trying to get a grip on “Experience with an external code editor”, “High level understanding of Flex, FMS, Remoting, FlashLite, AIR” and “frameworks” (i guess PureMVC, Cairngorm…).

    Also, I would like to add CMS knowledge to the list. Having the know-how of how to make a clients side client-editable with some open-source or other CMS is really benefitial I think.

    Cheers! /Jonas

  4. @Andrei: We definitely can not leave out creativity! 🙂

    @Jonas: That would be great! I hope to expand this site to become more of a knowledge base for your everyday ActionScript muncher and practical ActionScriptors alike. It will definitely be a journey.

    As for your addition of CMS Knowledge, that will come in handy! Thanks for the comment!

  5. I’m agree with Grant’s list, but I add a great knowledge about all Flash Platform, from Flash lite to Flash Catalyst.
    I know it’s so difficult find people with those skills but I think that this list could be a great point to start study new stuff for everybody, isn’t it?!

  6. Don’t see why it would be impossible to find someone with all these qualities… the only thing i think is a bit vague is “Quality testing”. Is it the overall impression of the site or does it mean that the site doesn’t fail by quickly clicking on random spots.

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