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Computer science students build apps, futures

Mobile Apps feature
Dr. Bryson Payne demonstrates an app to students on a mobile device during the mobile app development course.

The next big mobile application might come from a programmer with years of industry experience, or it might come from a computer science student at the University of North Georgia (UNG).

Some students in the Department of Computer Science & Information Systems in the Mike Cottrell College of Business at UNG are taking advantage of an in-class opportunity to develop their mobile applications portfolios, which can be instrumental as they progress in their educational and professional careers.

"Mobile app development is a very hot field in computer science and business right now," said Dr. Bryson Payne, head of UNG's Department of Computer Science & Information Systems, who is teaching the mobile app course. "UNG is one of the few universities in the state with courses for mobile app developers, and our new minor in mobile app development begins in fall 2014. I've been impressed with the quality of the apps students have built this semester."

As part of their CSCI 3660 Mobile App Development course, the students accepted ideas this spring for apps and service opportunities. These included apps that other students or faculty and staff needed for their own projects. Many students will continue working on the apps until fall semester.

Dan McWilliams
Dan McWilliams works on a mobile app.

Dan McWilliams has already submitted three complete apps to the Apple App Store and was making money on them within the first two weeks of the apps being offered.

"This class definitely helps students become more familiar with developing on a mobile platform, which is very different from their desktop counterparts," McWilliams said. "With the proliferation of smart phones in today's tech markets, the need for good mobile developers is rising. The depth of material covered in this course is perfect for a new mobile developer, as it covers everything from basic user-interface design to utilizing sensors such as cameras, microphones, and GPS. Understanding these sensors and how they can enhance the user experience, add data analytics, or create localized connections is one of the foundations of the success of the mobile market."

Payne said there is no better feeling than when students start making money because of what they learned in class, either as entrepreneurial app programmers, or by getting a job working for a technology company, both of which are currently happening for his students.

"Since the beginning of the class I have released one app on the Google Play Store and three on the Apple App Store," McWilliams said. "I firmly believe that as the tech markets further in the direction of mobile and wearable tech, this course material will become vital to every student in computer science education."

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