Innovation office leaders host first mobile app design workshop for students

Media Credit: Ari Golub | Photographer

Innovation and Entrepreneurship staff taught students technical and planning skills for mobile app design.

Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship staff hosted the first-ever mobile app design and management workshop earlier this week.

At the event – held on Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. in the recently-opened GW Innovation+Entrepreneurship Lab – staff taught students different approaches and methods foundational to building a mobile app, according to the program website. Officials said the program provided participants with the technical tools and understanding needed to create an app from start to finish.

“What’s exciting about this workshop is we’re offering not only technical guidance on how to build an app but also what to do before students should hire an app developer,” Jasmine Bautista, a program assistant and event coordinator in the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said in an email.

Bautista said she was “excited” about hosting the workshop because it teaches students about technical skills, like coding and design, needed to design an effective mobile application. She said the workshop filled a “huge need” among student entrepreneurs, many of whom want to learn the basics of app development.

“It’s a combination of the technical skills that students yearn for when they want to develop an app but also tips on why they need to tread cautiously before working with a developer to start the coding process,” Bautista said about the workshop’s curriculum.

She said the workshop, similar to a pilot from last year, walks students through the app design and development process.

“We hope that students walk away with a better understanding of how the process works and what is needed to continue pursuing building an app,” Bautista said.

Innovation and entrepreneurship office administrators recruited Qyana Stewart – the chief executive officer and principal consultant for GlobalForce Tech Consulting, a company she founded in 2018 – to serve as an “industry expert” and mentor for students during the workshop.

Bautista said Stewart’s “extensive” background in software product development and project management allowed her to guide students and help them learn app development and design “fundamentals.”

Stewart said she played a role in leading the workshop and teaching students how to make informed decisions related to business and technology “in preparation” for launching a mobile app.

She said officials developed the workshop content based on 10 focus areas, like product management and technical requirements, that should be considered when introducing an app onto the market.

“We’ll also cover what to expect once a development resource has been identified and the importance of quality assurance testing and launch preparations to the mobile app stores,” Stewart said in an email before the event. “It will be a robust and engaging experience for the participants.”

Stewart said she incorporated her own professional experiences as an executive of her company and learned lessons from her company’s history into the workshop’s content.

Mariam Zara, a sophomore in the School of Business and an entrepreneurial fellow, said she helped develop the workshop with Stewart as her mentor. Zara’s curiosity about app design last year sparked her interest in the workshop, she said.

“I have seen a lot of students interested in building an app for the sake of convenience and getting their purpose out of a phone,” she said. “However, I always thought, ‘What goes into an app? How is it built? How is the project side of it done?’”

Zara said she wanted to bring her knowledge about app design to the workshop as a “resource” for other students who are interested in the subject.

“I just think there are students who have an underestimation of building an app,” Zara said. “I want to bring that awareness of the technical side and make people understand that this is costly and time-consuming but, in the long run, it is something sustainable and profitable for your business.”

Zara said she hopes other entrepreneurial fellows in the office will assist with potential mobile app design workshops in the future.

“We are considering doing it every semester,” Zara said. “I think that if GW offers it as a course, then that will be a really great resource for students as well.”

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