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GRCC class makes mobile apps


Fifteen Grand Rapids Community College students are taking a new class offered at GRCC this semester in the emerging field of technology that has them developing secure mobile applications.

“This course is not just to develop mobile applications but to learn about mobile security,” said Szymon Machajewski, instructor of the course.

Roughly 50 percent of the United States population owns a smartphone, and with advancing technology comes risks.  Hackers have moved from computers to their new love, mobile devices. It is easier to hack a cell phone than a PC. At the same time, more people are depending on their phones to buy, email and store valuable information.

Machajewski explained that in this course, they use an intermediate tool called Titanium, a free open source software. This specific software has one code that applies to making applications for a majority of operating systems; iPhones, Androids, tablets, BlackBerrys and other mobile devices.

Students enrolled in the online Application Development and Security for Mobile Devices Course, CO 275, download and alternate premade apps to create new ones. Students work to develop applications ranging from social media and location apps to conference and kitchen sink apps.

Students complete 11 apps during their coursework for a grade; most are built from preloaded working samples. During the course, students may take part in a project app if they wish. The project app is in addition to the 11 graded apps they make, but this one is released for the public at the end of the semester in the Android Marketplace and iOS App Store. This semester, the project app is being created for the GRCC Collegiate Newspaper.

“This online course has a practical and hands on approach,” said Machajewski. “The students get to experiences the entire process.”

After the class is over, students have the opportunity to decide if they want to become an application developer, knowing how to create secure apps and obtain the software needed to create them.

“Mobile technology is a huge emerging field,” said Machajewski. “With mobile technology skills, students represent a new generation of IT workers. They will have an opportunity to pursue entry level jobs in the technology industry and build a career.”

CO 275 is a requirement for the Associate’s Degree in Information Security, but it is also open to all students.  Contact Szymon Machajewski at smachaje@grcc.edu if you are interested in developing mobile applications and the best methods for insuring high level security.

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