The Summer App Workshop was organized in partnership with the Faculty of Science & Technology (through the CSS Coordinator Maurice Beckles) and Extension Engine (www.extensionengine.org) with Mike Miklavic, Dino Cikatic and Andrej Scorci serving as their representatives.
The purpose was to give students the opportunity to learn from top software engineers and build then deploy mobile apps. Prizes were distributed for 1st and 2nd placed teams in addition to the invaluable experience of interacting with experts in the field. The workshop ran from May 23rd, 2016 till May 27th from 9:00 am till 4:00 pm each day.
During the 1st day of the workshop students were taught by Mr. Miklavic, Mr. Cikatic and Mr. Scorci to build a generic web app using Ionic Framework (www.ionicframework.com) that allows one to build apps in real time, then visualize how the back-end coding is directly implemented with a user interface to show how the app looks via either an android or IOS system.
On the first day, students were distributed into 7 teams of 4 participants each. As the workshop commenced and the groups were exposed to the technical aspects of ionic, angular JS and app building, they decided on their respective roles within the group based on their skills and interests as well as brainstormed ideas for what app they would build. The best idea of each group was unanimously chosen in conference with Mr. Miklavic, Mr. Cikatic and Mr. Scorci.
In addition to the valued assistance of Extension Engine, Shannon Clarke- local entrepreneur and Software Develop – stepped in to offer entrepreneurship advice as well as pointers on coding as well. On the last day, Friday May 27th, presentations were held. Participants in the workshop presented their apps to a panel of judges consisting on the Dean of Science & Technology, Dr. Colin Depradine, Partner at Extension Engine Furqan Nazeeri as well as representatives from the local software engineering industry and the IT department at the University of the West Indies. In addition to the judges, attendees to the presentation hailed from various media houses, parents and guests of the participants, as well as business persons and entrepreneurs of the software industry in Barbados who were also allowed to ask questions from the participants.
While not everyone in the App Workshop was a member of the Computer Science Society, they all agreed that it was an excellent opportunity, fun experience, and very rewarding in what was learned. A few participants did express challenges with the material being taught and admitted to feeling apprehensive and unsure of their ability. However, after conferring with and gaining support from Mr. Miklavic, Mr. Cikatic and Mr. Scorci as well as participation from our very own coordinator Maurice Beckles and lecturer Mrs Tessa King-Inniss, those fears were laid to rest fairly early on.
Many of the participants expressed interest in taking their apps to be developed further and launched into viable businesses while others were simply happy for the experience and sought to use their newfound skills while completing their degrees at the University.