Does your university need an app? There’s a student for that

From campus programs to newsletters, college students can create a working app in less than five minutes that schools can utilize in their day-to-day operations.

Today’s generation of students will become some of the most digitally literate citizens we’ve ever seen. Sure, they’re probably already Microsoft Word experts and have great search engine optimization skills, but even greater technological opportunities await them.

Nearly every job requires its employees to have a considerable range of digital skills, according to a report from the National Skills Coalition, an organization that seeks inclusive and high-quality skills training for all. Most students meet this expectation on their own, considering many students have access to the internet and a mobile device or computer. Schools can further prepare students for a successful future in tech through a multitude of career prep programs. How about a career in one of the most dominant industries in tech: app development?

Appy Pie, a no-code development platform, recently announced a free app development workshop designed for K12 and college students. The program aims to provide students with hands-on professional experience and introduce them to the world of app development. By removing coding from the creation process, teachers can utilize the workshop in their classrooms without any barriers to entry.

“We started back in 2015,” says Joel Perez, senior relationship development manager at Appy Pie. “Around that time, everything was program-based or code-based, so if you wanted to do anything you needed to know some kind of advanced coding. To jump this hurdle, we came up with a solution so now it’s a drag-and-click kind of process where you’re just building it and designing it.”

It does require some degree of configuration, he says, in order to set up the app. But it’s “really minimal.”

Since its inception, according to Perez, they’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback from students and professors.

“They love it,” he says. “They love that we’re starting these courses showing people how to build apps. It’s a great place to start and get that hands-on experience. With the app builder, you can create an app within five minutes and test it on your Apple or Android device. That’s how quickly you can have something done.”

Notable colleges and school districts around the world are utilizing the program, such as Reed Union School District, Fresno Unified, Montecito Union, Coleg Cambria (UK), Texas Southern University, and Westminster & Emirates College of Advance Education (University of Westminster).

Professors and students can participate in a pre-recorded curriculum where students can learn at their own pace with live sessions tailored for that particular course throughout. Perez says students have access to a variety of other opportunities beyond app development.

“We do automation, we have a website builder, a chatbot builder and other different products,” he says. In addition, for college students or more advanced users, they’re able to remove the “no coding” feature to obtain those real-world skills.

“We do have a code page that they can add to the app and they can develop apps themselves,” he explains.

Perhaps one of the most valuable features of the program is that students can tangibly see the value in their product. According to Perez, schools can implement students’ apps into their daily operations.

“Maybe you need a school directory app, for example,” he says. “Or an app that’s going to display school programs, events, maybe newsletters. We have schools using the actual apps in the real-life school environment.”

More from UB: How a college’s mobile app connects students when they can’t connect

Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a University Business staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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