IUN prof teaches students app design at iGarage

2013-07-08T16:30:00Z 2013-07-08T17:57:13Z IUN prof teaches students app design at iGarageDiane Poulton Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
July 08, 2013 4:30 pm  • 

GARY | Indiana University Northwest Professor Ranjan Kini is introducing interested business students to a tool which will add to their marketable job skills and may even one day help them make a name for themselves.

That tool is app building, a field quickly gaining in importance for those in the business world, Kini said.

“The app industry in the last five years has been growing at a pace that is unheard of,” Kini said. “It has grown nearly 30 to 40 percent. It is already a $15 billion industry.”

Kini said business students need to be prepared for the future.

“When they go out into the professional world, most of the time they will be carrying a smart phone or a tablet with a whole bunch of apps on them which rely on the cloud.”

Kini said although there are hundreds of thousands of apps on the market, the evolving needs of consumers and businesses result in more constantly being developed and marketed to this new generation, dubbed “linksters.”

“They are the generation who through their tablets and smart phones are linked all the time and relying on all these apps for their constant connectivity,” Kini said.

He said there will be a need for certain apps to complete job-related tasks and those apps could be extended companywide or even to outsiders.

Kini’s app-building class, offered strictly on a voluntary basis to his business students, is held in a room off the first-floor lounge in IUN’s Dunes Medical Professional building. Dubbed the “iGarage,” Kini said the “i” stands for “innovation.”

“The garage is where the ideas come from. In the last 40 or 50 years,” Kini said. “It is where all these bright guys like Steve Jobs came up with ideas.”

After first learning some basic computer skills in Kini’s business classes, at the iGarage students learn to build their own Apps and download them onto their hand-held devices. Kini introduces them to tools that make easy work of putting the building blocks of complex computer coding together.

“Students who often shy away from anything that resembles computer programming quickly realize that they, too, can create what they may have thought only an advanced computer programmer can do,” Kini said.

Kini uses the “Scratch” and the Massachussets Institute of Technology “App Inventor” programs, enabling students to bring their app ideas to reality within a couple of hours without knowing a single bit of programming language.

Kini said he wants to see that imagination become entrepreneurship and marketability for business students.

“There is already excitement among the students,” Kini said. “They say, ‘I didn’t know I could do that.'”

Although the apps being produced in the iGarage are very basic, Kini said he hopes the students’ skills will continue to improve.

“We will see where it goes,” Kini said.


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