For an industry like mobile technology that’s rapidly evolving, there poses the constant challenge of providing an education that can keep up with it, and Full Sail’s new Mobile Development program is up to the task.
Launched back in January 2011, the 32-month Online Bachelor’s Degree program was first discussed over a meeting between Full Sail execs. “The executives saw that the future of computing was moving from desktops to mobile devices,” says Rick Osborne, the Mobile Development Department Chair. “As firsthand users of the new technology, they were aware of the opportunity for a degree program.”
Nobody has graduated from the 32-month program yet: the first students are currently in Month 18 and are about to enter the second block of courses, which focus on iOS development. Students start in basic web application courses, followed by iOS and Android development, before they get into more immersive development courses covering topics like cross-platform applications, gaming, and augmented reality. Approximately 800 students are currently enrolled in the program, with the ultimate goal of developing a skillset to produce a range of interactive content for various mobile platforms.
“The majority of the students that have come into the program aren’t existing programmers, but are just people who have devices and think [the field] is cool,” says Rick. “Students either want to start their own shop or pursue a dream job like designing apps for EA Sports.”
According to Program Manager Joe DeSetto, students will each create about five apps throughout the course of their studies. “Within the first 6-10 months, students will be ready to build apps,” says Joe, “and from there we’ll just add on to their skills. That will allow them to start taking on freelance work while they study.”
Mobile Development faculty members attend conferences year round like Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, Mobile Gaming USA, and Google iO to keep up with industry trends and report back to adjust the curriculum accordingly.
“Our primary challenge is the velocity of the industry,” says Rick. “We’re looking at 6-9 month iteration cycles where the course materials have to change, which is almost unprecedented. Students won’t be graduating with the version of mobile that was in existence at the time they enrolled, they’ll be graduating with the most current technology. Thirty-two months is generations long in the mobile world.”