South Floridas rank will likely lift as the regions tech community grows. Some universities have begun retooling their curricula to meet the growing demand, including FIU, which was recently ranked No. 2 in the nation for the number of computer science bachelors degrees bestowed.
Steven Luis, director of technology and business relations at the School of Computing and Information Sciences at FIU, teaches an iOS development course, where Gonzalez and other students have been developing apps that solve real world challenges for organizations such as the Humane Society of Greater Miami and 4KIDSofsfl.org, Luis said. He also mentors an FIU senior class project, which is developing an events app for the Miami Beach Visitor & Convention Authoritys Open API initiative.
Also, on Thursday nights, about 20 mobile developers, designers and other app enthusiasts meet at AppDojo, a collaborative innovation group at Florida International University. Students from all disciplines as well as members of the public are welcome to participate in the free program.
Founded by Luis and alumnus Carlos Ordonez in August, AppDojo is an open space where students and others team up to build their innovations and meet with mentors. Its inspired by hacker spaces here they have the resources they dont have in their apartments, said Luis, who also brings in speakers.
At AppDojo, Gonzalez, who already has about 10 years of experience in web development and works for a Tampa-based company, paired up with Michael Olivero, an adjunct professor at FIU and a senior software architect at Inktel Direct. Olivero had already published one app but wanted to expand his learning by creating small functional apps that explore different features of the iOS platform. Olivero created a spreadsheet with 19 functions, and he and Gonzalez are going about developing as many apps as they can in the 19 areas.
In the way that FIUs AppDojo crosses disciplines, Florida Atlantic University offers a collaborative course called Android App Design and Project Management, which will be offered again this spring. Last spring the class, made up of business, engineering, graphic design and anthropology majors, developed seven apps related to health and safety. For one pair of students in the class Mathew Hudson and Andrew Stadtlander their class project became a core focus of their app-development company, Stadson Technology in Boca Raton. With nine people on the team so far, Stadson is already creating jobs.
Stadsons app called HelpN, which will be marketed to universities, helps students in distress alert first responders with both the students location and health information and other data the responder might need. FAU plans to beta test the app on its campus soon and Stadson is also marketing it to FIU, the University of Miami and the University of Central Florida on its road to going national.
Were moving, were moving fast. Were really trying to make a difference, said Hudson, Stadson Technologys CEO. This is a huge leap for schools and we will continue to improve the product to better help the universities.
Nationally, mobile app education is on the fast track, too. At Washington State University, Kerri Lingo managed a team that created an app for Dick Hannah Dealerships, allowing the auto dealers customers to schedule appointments or to make quick contact when theyre stranded on the road, using GPS the Global Positioning System to show their locations. After graduating last year with a degree in creative media and digital culture, Lingo went to work for the dealership in its marketing department.
It was very fast. In 12 weeks, we went from not knowing anything about mobile apps to having one completed, Lingo said.
Dene Grigar, an associate professor whos the director of the creative media and digital culture program at Washington State, said the university began updating its curriculum as soon as the iPhone was released. You dont have to be a rocket scientist to figure out where the futures headed.
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