Working from Home? Take Time to Upskill

Tuesday 4/21/20 09:02am
Posted By Rajan Mistry
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Snapdragon and Qualcomm branded products are products of
Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Are you looking for some ways to sharpen your development skills with some extra time you may have right now?

Maybe this is a good time to look at new areas of development, such as robotics or mobile gaming. Or, you could figure out how to incorporate new technology and tools into your current app development, like combining AI with IoT development.

Working from home? Upskill using QDN resources

If you’ve freed up commute time lately, what are you doing with it? #WorkFromHome has the potential to give you back some time each day and to invest it in upskilling.

Here is an overview of Qualcomm Developer Network resources available to you as a registered QDN user. Have a look for a topic you want to explore, or an area in which you’re due for a refresher.


What goes into 5G? We’ve published materials with a developer’s perspective on 5G New Radio (NR) and the three main use cases for it:

Download speeds during 5G rollout in Chicago

Millimeter Wave (mmWave) is getting a lot of ink as many mobile operators use it to kick off their 5G deployments. Find out why, and take a closer look at beamforming and beam tracking with mmWave antennas.

Want your applications to detect 5G network availability and performance? Read about the hooks for 5G in the ConnectivityManager class of Android Q.

Visit our main page for 5G learning resources to find out more.

Artificial intelligence

Although neural networks are still trained in the data center or cloud, more of them can run locally because of greater computing power on the mobile device. With our tools and SDKs, your apps can take advantage of specialized engines for inference workloads and heterogeneous computing on Snapdragon® mobile platforms.

The Qualcomm® Neural Processing SDK for AI includes tools for converting models and executing them locally on the optimal core: CPU, GPU or DSP. To see how to use the SDK to build AI into your apps, browse our learning resources on everything from the types of machine learning to facial expression recognition. Then, piggy-back on the expertise and code of other developers by using the AI Projects available on QDN.

Much of our story around heterogeneous computing and AI centers on the Qualcomm® Hexagon™ DSP. To get familiar with heterogeneous computing on Snapdragon-powered devices, read about Heterogeneous Computing for your Demanding Apps, then walk through the App Notes on the Snapdragon Heterogeneous Compute SDK.

Have a look through our main resources page for AI.


When most app development feels like work, robotics can feel like fun.

Get ideas and utilize code from the two dozen robotics projects we’ve posted. Some perform tasks as simple as recognizing rock, paper or scissors hand gestures; some are as sophisticated as a seeing, hearing robotic arm.

Many of the projects are built around the Qualcomm® Robotics RB3 Development Kit, which makes smartphone-caliber computing and features available to your robot. A set of learning resources includes a walk-through of the kit, with hardware basics, instructions for flashing the boot image and a step-by-step for adding container support for ROS.

Look through the superset of tools and video on software/hardware development.

Multi-mode connectivity for IoT

How far are you sending messages: across the table or across the continent?

If you specialize in Zigbee, take a look at the resources we have for working with cellular broadband or Wi-Fi. Start with our eBook Connectivity Options for IoT Developers, an overview of long- and short-range technologies.

For designing and building your connected devices, we’ve put together a full array of SDKs and tools around 5G, 4G/LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Thread and NFC.

For example, the Qualcomm® QCA4020 and Qualcomm® QCA4024 development kits expose on-board resources for Wi-Fi (QCA4020 only), Bluetooth and 802.15.4 in a single SoC. They’re engineered to cover multiple wireless technologies and ecosystems so you don’t have to build in all the interoperability yourself. Borrow ideas and code from a dozen contributed developer projects, and browse learning resources on everything from developing with Bluetooth low energy (BLE) to implementing secure boot on the boards.

Our summary page on connectivity lays out your options and matching resources by technology.

Mobile gaming

Those rich graphics and audio that put all of the thrill into PC and console gaming are now available on mobile devices.

The Qualcomm® Adreno™ GPU family is built into the Snapdragon processor. It supports Vulkan, OpenGL ES, OpenCL and DirectX for high-end textures and 3D graphics. Use the tools, libraries, samples, documentation and tutorials in the Adreno GPU SDK to learn about GPU programming.

A series of tutorial videos covers your introduction to the GPU, up through Vulkan, the graphics API from Khronos. Or, if you already create mobile games, use the tutorials and SDK to tune them for faster frame rates, smoother rendering and longer battery life.

For immersive 3D audio in your games, have a look at the Qualcomm® 3D Audio Tools. And, if you develop in Unity and need support for up to 64 simultaneous spatialized sound objects, try the Qualcomm 3D Audio Plugin for Unity.

The latest Snapdragon mobile processors support Qualcomm® Snapdragon Elite Gaming™, with features for even more realism through physics-based rendering, high dynamic range and tensor acceleration.

Look through those, as well as information on adding virtual reality and heterogeneous computing to your mobile games on our mobile gaming landing page.


Closely related to mobile gaming is mobile eXtended reality (XR), which takes virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) past games and into education, health care and manufacturing.

Some applications run on head-mounted displays (HMDs), others run on a mobile device in the user’s hand and still others run on a mobile device slotted into a headset. They depend on vision processing to let users move around in the virtual world or interact with augmented objects in AR. The experience is enhanced with high-fidelity audio.

Start with the Snapdragon VR SDK, which abstracts most of the complexity of XR development so you can focus on app content. With the SDK you can take advantage of sensor fusion to offload processing of gyroscope and accelerometer data to the Hexagon DSP. You can reduce distortion of menus, text and other overlays to make them easier to read in a virtual world. Snapdragon VR development kits go hand-in-hand with the SDK.

Before you write too much code, read our Reducing Cybersickness in Virtual Reality eBook to avoid the most common pitfalls of developing these apps. It’s a good introduction to basic concepts in XR user experience.

Browse our main XR page to see the overlap with areas like heterogeneous computing and computer vision.

Snapdragon developer tools

Sometimes you just need basic utilities — the kind that help pinpoint wasted cycles and unnecessary battery drain in your mobile apps.

We have walk-throughs based on the main tools for getting optimal performance from our processors:

And why rewrite your math routines when you can use the Qualcomm® Math Library? It contains almost 2,000 Basic Linear Algebra Subprograms (BLAS) and LAPACK primitives, optimized for all generations of Snapdragon processors.

Discover more on our Snapdragon Developer Tools resource page.

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. is (still) hiring

While I have your attention, I’ll mention that we’re still hiring in several of the areas I’ve mentioned in this post. Have a look through all our current job openings, and you’ll see openings for positions such as:

  • 5G Software Apps Engineer
  • Machine Learning Software Engineer
  • Autonomous Driving Research Engineer
  • Product Marketing for Gaming
  • Senior Engineer (Extended Reality)

We’d love to have you come help us work on all this cool stuff and create even cooler stuff.

Snapdragon, Qualcomm Hexagon, Qualcomm Adreno, Qualcomm Neural Processing SDK, Qualcomm Robotics RB3, Qualcomm QCA4020, Qualcomm QCA4024, Snapdragon Elite Gaming, Qualcomm 3D Audio Tools and Qualcomm Math Library are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.