Can Develop Detroit Make You a Talented Mobile Developer in 90 Days?

5/31/12Follow @GrowDetroit

Starting June 11th, Develop Detroit kicks off its inaugural 12-week program that promises to take attendees from coding novices to capable mobile developers able to build an iPhone or iPad application at will.  The course will take place two evenings a week with the hope to have a first-year class size of 20 to 30 students.

The project is the brainchild of Mike Vichich, a former employee of management-consulting firm Accenture, who recently moved into the startup scene with a mobile payments startup of his own called Glyph. Through outreach to established developers and business owners throughout Southeast Michigan, Vichich has assembled a team of coaches and mentors that will work with students over the course of twelve weeks to conceptualize (and ultimately develop) a mobile app of their own choosing.

At Demo Day in August, students will have an opportunity to showcase their work to an audience of potential investors and employers. Through the mentor network Vichich assembled, companies represented at Demo Day will include Picket Report, Detroit Venture Partners, Quicken Loans, Code Academy, RPM Ventures, and Venture For America to name a few. Many of these companies are working alongside the program in the hopes of building relationships with a talent pool of up-and-coming developers.

Dave Koziol of Arbor Moon, who will be leading many of the course sessions, carries a passion for training and conferencing, having worked for about a decade with the MacHack conference—a well-established organization that predated iOS development. More recently, Koziol started CocoaHeads Ann Arbor, a group consisting of developers from Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Toledo, metro Detroit, and beyond that meets once a month.

As of late, Arbor Moon and Koziol have worked with Mobile Monday Ann Arbor to teach a number of Intro to iOS courses, and hope that Develop Detroit can continue to strengthen Michigan’s talent base. “We’re doing all we can to move the developer community forward in Southeast Michigan,” says Koziol. “There are plenty of talented individuals out of work, as a product of the struggles in the auto industry.”

The hope is that the course will have broad appeal to many individuals, from those seeking a career transition to recent Computer Science grads looking to hone their mobile development skills. The course, says Koziol, would prove invaluable for anyone with an innate interest in mobile development.

Tom Crawford, an adjunct professor who taught a course focused on Mobile Design at Michigan State University in the fall of last year, will be doing several sessions focused on user experience. Priya Rajagopal, principal engineer at Barracuda Networks, will be aiding Develop Detroit by participating as a mentor for the first class.

“Mobile development is fast becoming an essential component of any successful business,” Rajagopal says. “Whether you are looking to build a business around mobile apps or to mobilize your existing business, the opportunities are endless. I constantly meet local entrepreneurs who are looking for developers to translate their app ideas into reality. Often times, there is a scarcity of local mobile developers. An unfortunate consequence of this dearth of local resources is that entrepreneurs often have to seek developers from outside Michigan. In some cases, they have even chosen to relocate their business outside Michigan, closer to where the talent is.”

Develop Detroit is a unique approach, and a contrast from Valley to Detroit, the recent initiative put forth by Detroit Venture Partners that aims to relocate established tech employees from Silicon Valley. Regardless of method or approach, however, the need for able developers rings loud and clear.

Alex Southern is a Detroit-based marketing executive with Midcoast, a leading 3-D studio. He founded GrowDetroit, which aims to fuel innovation and creation of new business throughout Detroit. Follow @GrowDetroit

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  • http://codeacademy.org/ Mike McGee

    In your Code Academy link, you are linking to the wrong company. It should be CodeAcademy.org. The other company is called Codecademy (minus the A)

    • http://www.growdetroit.com Alex Southern

      Don’t hate the writer, blame the Editor ;)

      • http://www.xconomy.com/detroit Sarah Schmid

        Yes, that’s my fault. The link has been fixed.