Sunday, November 23, 2008

Are Your Students Programming for the iPhone and Other Mobile Platforms?

Why Not?

Gordon Snyder and I gave a presentation this week at the NJEDge Conference in Plainsboro, NJ. Our topic was the Amazon Kindle, the iPhone and the iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK). Thanks to Gordon for coming down from Springfield, Mass to present with me. We had a great crowd and got a lot of great feedback and interaction with the audience. At the end of the talk, I showed a slide with some recommendations for colleges and universities, regarding the iPhone and the SDK. Here is that slide -

One of the points I can't emphasize enough is to get Computer Science programs at your college or university engaged in programming for the iPhone. There are a ton of resources available and it's a fantastic way to get kids interested in programming. In fact, when I see stories like this - Demand for iPhone programmers surges by 500% | iPhone World - I have to wonder why aren't we programming for the iPhone? Here's more from the story:
Are you a programmer that just got laid off due to the current economic recession? Well, maybe you might want to consider a slight career adjustment, as it seems that iPhone apps developers are really in demand at the moment.

oDesk, a firm that specializes in outsourcing freelance programmers to companies that require programming work to be done, reports that demand for iPhone programmers has surged by 500% from March 2008 to September 2008.

“There is a huge demand for iPhone developers and people are quickly learning iPhone development,” reported Adeem Basra, founder of one of oDesk’s highly ranked iPhone development companies. “The demand picked up after July ‘08. I believe we are still way under capacity,” Basra said.
Now the question becomes - How do we get started? To begin with, get a Mac - the SDK only runs on an Intel-based Mac. Next register and download the SDK - it's free! Finally, sign up for the free iPhone University Developer Program - here's a slide on the program.

Apple provides a wealth of resources to teach students how to program for the iPhone, including video (my favorite), sample code, RSS feeds, news groups and more. Other great ideas include adding an iPhone unit to the end of your existing C++ course. A great resource for doing just that and also for getting up-to-speed on Objective-C would be this series of articles:
and the accompanying book Programming in Objective-C. While the iPhone has already established a huge market-share, it would be a mistake to neglect other development platforms, including the Google Android SDK and RIM's Blackberry platform.

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