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MCC's Mobile App Degree Receives State Approval; Program Prepares Students for High-Paying, In-Demand Field

[Monday, June 19, 2017]

     

The mobile application development classroom at McHenry County College features an open studio environment, equipped with round tables and laptops to allow for frequent project collaboration with user interface designers and artists. The classroom also has overhead screens on all four corners of the room for presentation of the live apps created by the instructor or students.

Current and prospective McHenry County College (MCC) students have the opportunity to prepare for the high-paying, in-demand field of mobile app development with MCC’s newly-approved Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in mobile application development.

With the rapid growth of mobile technologies and a short supply of workers trained in creating mobile apps, MCC offers the degree to offset the shortage of workers trained in creating mobile apps. The College started offering prerequisite classes last fall so students could get a jump start on their degree. The AAS degree program and two certificates in mobile app development were recently approved by the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB).

"Mobile technology is the leading edge of high tech right now," said Bill Skrzypczak, programming instructor and Department Chair of Computers and Digital Media. "Businesses worldwide are adapting their existing legacy IT environments to the new mobile paradigm. We are providing businesses with students that have the skills to hit the ground running and solve the variety of challenges in this new environment."

One highlight of MCC’s Mobile App Development degree program includes internships and job shadowing. MCC is working with Robert Half Partners and Paul May Associates to provide job experience for MCC students.

“We have a good relationship with area recruiters and industry partners who specialize in mobile development and are members of our advisory panel,” Skrzypczak said.

Classes offered this fall include Android and iOS Development 1, 2 and 3. The first class focuses on learning the underlying programming language of the devices (Android/Apple), the second class teaches students a variety of common app development types (i.e. Displaying Data, Audio, Video, Web Services, etc.), and the third class is the capstone where students come up with their own app idea, develop the code, design the marketing plan and publish the app in the App Store.

Skrzypczak said his students range in age from 18 through 60's. "Age is not a barrier for innovation. One of the winners of the recognition award at this summer's Apple Developers conference was a 70-year-old Asian woman who just published her first app," he said.

"These classes really pushes the students into areas they may have never experienced in the past," Skrzypczak said. "You become part software developer, part artist, part designer, and part entrepreneur."

Dylan Weaver of McHenry heard about the new mobile app development program and started taking classes last fall.

"I plan to earn my associate in mobile app development," Weaver said. "I love technology and I’m on my phone all the time. I want to know how apps work. I'd like to create an app to make a difference in people’s lives."

The College received a $200,000 National Science Foundation grant two years ago to provide faculty training toward creating two certificate programs and a new associate degree in mobile application design and development. MCC was one of only 27 institutions nationally and the only college in Illinois to receive this grant in 2015 and offer this degree.

According to the Department of Labor, employment of software developers is projected to grow 17 percent through 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. The main reason for the rapid growth is a large increase in the demand for computer software.

Mobile developers create application software for mobile devices, such as mobile phones or personal digital assistants. Trained mobile app developers can earn highly paid jobs in several fields, including corporate IT, medicine, business process automation, advertising and marketing.

The job outlook for mobile app developers is very positive and entry level mobile developers can earn $60,000 and up to six figures with three to four years' experience, Skrzypczak said.

For more information on MCC’s mobile application degree program, visit www.mchenry.edu/appdev.

 

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