Clement Levallois, an Assistant Professor teaching the digital transformation of societies at EMLYON Business School, explains ahow CODAPPS, a recently launched Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), teaches entrepreneurs to develop and code their own mobile apps
Throughout my career I have been meeting with young entrepreneurs, and what I find is that even though almost all of these entrepreneurs would like to create a mobile app to go with their product or service, very few actually know how to do it themselves. This often means the slow death of their entrepreneurial projects, so I decided to create CODAPPS to enable each entrepreneur to code their own apps and make the most of the digital world we live in.
CODAPPS is a free online programme available on Coursera, open to anyone globally. Students benefit from the expertise of the EMLYON business school faculty and partners, including leading technology companies such as Samsung and NetBeans.
The course is designed for people without any background or skills in IT, and is the only MOOC in the world where users can see their finished applications being published on Google Playstore, the Apple Appstore, and the Windows Store. The programme is spread across 8 sessions and is being taken by university students, business school students, youngsters outside of formal education, young professionals launching their start-ups and entrepreneurs of all ages.
There are 6.8 billion cell-phone subscriptions globally for a population of 7 billion people, so it’s not surprising that we’re witnessing the rapid shift from desktop to mobile consumption that created the need for this course
There has been a surge in demand for app development in the last three years, and the corresponding skills are still in short supply. For example they’re much scarcer than website developers, and there is a particular skills shortage amongst entrepreneurs and SMEs in coding. This, combined with the shortage of good app developers, has pushed up the price of app development, making it an expensive investment. This inspired the concept for the CODAPPS Programme. We want to have a positive impact on the skills shortage by putting the ability to create and release apps in the hands of people who have an interest in learning how to code, regardless of their age, status or occupation.
In the long-term this could significantly decrease the extortionate costs entrepreneurs and small-medium sized businesses find when looking to develop their own mobile apps, as many have little choice but to outsource.
To guarantee an outcome that students will find valuable it’s been decided that all apps developed are native. This means the apps created will be truly integrated to phones and tablets, making use of all the possibilities afforded by the hardware – unlike the web pages packaged as mobile apps that many outsourcers will attempt to sell. Each of these platforms use specific technologies, so one app needs to be recreated various times with slight alterations that will suit each specific platform. The lack of developers able to do this at the moment is a real pain point.
There are 6.8 billion cell-phone subscriptions globally for a population of 7 billion people, so it’s not surprising that we’re witnessing the rapid shift from desktop to mobile consumption that created the need for this course. However the future of developing technological skills that enable organisations to shift from desktop to mobile is a transition that will take a while. The internet began being embraced by western societies in the 1990’s, at which point organisations generally claimed “our business does not really need it”, yet by the mid 2000’s it became a basic necessity. In this sense history is repeating itself. Many organisations still consider mobile platforms to be peripheral to their core business, but as this develops the skills will increasingly be in demand to accommodate. As more resources become available for people to develop their coding skills accordingly this should become less of a problem, and hopefully CODAPPS can help with the transition.