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Hello Dev World

Jan 06, 2016 10:47 AM

Hello Dev World

Published: Jan 06, 2016 10:47 AM

Some time ago, a church associate posted that a high school student needed a software development mentor for a senior project.  This was an answered prayer.  After talking with the student and parents, we all agreed to mentoring sessions after worship service at the church’s internet café for ten hours over five weeks to meet the school’s project deadline.  The student seemed eager to learn more about technology in general.  After some thought, a document was presented for the student to decide which path of development to take:

Software Development Mentoring Opportunity


To mentor the student in understanding the skill of development and guide the student in creating a practical, real world solution with modern development tools.

Development Paths

Mobile App Development – A mobile app is software that runs on mobile devices, such as a smart phone or tablet, and takes advantage of the platform’s native mobile SDK.

Desktop App Development – A desktop app is software that runs on traditional desktops and laptops, and takes advantage of beefier computing power and hardware configurations.

Web App Development – A web app is software that runs an a server and can display on multiple platforms and devices via a web browser, and takes advantage of a large array of client side and server side web technologies.


Mobile App Development (Beginner Level) – Fortune 500 company Electronic Arts wants a branded company app on the Windows Phone platform. The project requirements include:

  • An about section
  • A section showcasing a few of the latest games
  • The game info screens must read out the game description with text-to-speech recognition
  • A section that shows a live RSS news feed

Desktop App Development (Intermediate Level) – The Georgia DMV government agency want a app that creates driver’s license pictures. The project requirements include:

  • Create a form that records all the client’s personal information (Name, Address, Height, Weight, Gender, Eyes, DOB)
  • Record a headshot picture from a web cam
  • Store data in a XML file
  • Have the capability to modify a record
  • Click a button to export a driver’s license complied image, created from the data in a record and the associated headshot picture.

Web App Development (Advanced Level) – A firm’s marketing department is running a campaign on Twitter with a specific hash tag (example: #EpiCenter), and wants a custom web app to measure the progress of the campaign. The project requirements include:

  • Download a given number of public tweets for a given hash tag for the last 7 days
  • Store data in a XML file
  • Give the ability to mark each tweet as a positive or negative
  • Run a report that shows a colored line graph of positive/negative tweets

Development Tools

Mobile App Development:

  • A desktop/laptop computer with internet access
  • A WIFI only Windows Phone 8 device will be provided for you
  • Photo editing software (Microsoft Paint or Photoshop)
  • Startup costs $0

Desktop App Development:

  • A desktop/laptop computer with internet access
  • A web cam
  • Desktop programming software with be provided
  • Startup costs $0

Web App Development:

  • A desktop/laptop computer with internet access
  • Web programming software with be provided
  • The web app will run on locally on a virtual web server
  • Startup costs $0

mentoring-wp7The student choose the mobile development path because of the gaming interest.  During the sessions, the student was taught how to use their free mobile device, and how to maneuver around the development tool Microsoft App Studio.  The web app allowed to student to create the app online with no code, then use a QR code to download the app to the phone.  All of the resources of company info, video game titles, descriptions and images were provided for the project.  They just needed to master App Studio and do the work to make the app, which was easily finished after two weeks.  We spent the rest of the sessions talking about IDEs, coding, best practices, project management, consulting, industry salaries and looking at the App Studio C# code in Visual Studio.  The student was so impressed with the industry, they considered taking a junior development job after college because of the pay, until reaching their dream job.

After getting an A on the senior project, the school teacher reached out to me requesting a school field trip tour of my employer’s software development department at the end of the school year.  Corporate was exploding with excitement, Legal, HR, Marketing and IT.  Everyone had their ideal vision of this community opportunity.  I thought by just answering someone’s post, one small mustard seed opportunity turned into something so large.

Unfortunately after reaching out to the teacher, the field trip was forgotten about two years in a row.  There’s always another opportunity another time…