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October 14, 2012

UPJ training students to develop mobile apps

JOHNSTOWN — Just a few years ago, the concept of having apps on a cellphone was unheard of; now a new course introduced this fall at Pitt-Johnstown is devoted to creating them.

The university launched mobile apps development, a hands-on class in the management information systems concentration within the business program that allows students to build apps that interest them for mobile phones and other devices.

According to the syllabus, students learn how to take a mobile application from the ground to market by developing a strategy, considering design options and leveraging technologies to build a desired application.

“This is something we are excited about,” said Ray Wrabley, chairman of UPJ’s Division of Social Sciences, which includes the business program.

“There is employer demand who want employees with these technical skills.”

In addition, the business program added the management information systems concentration this past spring and it combines coursework in business and technology and is geared toward students who are looking to pursue a career in information technology.

“So much business these days includes some kind of information system technology, and there was demand from our business and management students who are techie and into web design, so that’s in part why we added the new course,”  Wrabley said.

The course is being taught by Travis Stouffer, a UPJ graduate who is a software engineer at Concurrent Technologies Corp.

“Many students just know what apps are, but don’t know how they come to fruition, so I was extremely happy to see the university take the initiative to offer a course that can prepare our students to engage within such a rapidly growing industry,” Stouffer said.

He added that it’s crucial for all students, regardless of major, to have a solid set of computer skills.

“This course is necessary now more than ever due to the rapid growth and success the mobile industry has achieved over the last five years,” Stouffer said.

“Almost any type of company must form a mobile strategy to stay competitive and relevant. However, they need a knowledgeable staff to achieve such a presence.”

UPJ places an emphasis on preparing its students for the real world, so the addition of mobile apps development plays right into that philosophy.

“We’re giving our students an experience in what we hope is cutting edge and that will get them better job prospects,” Wrabley said.

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