The 'app' way to success

Mobile apps

With an explosion in smartphone usage, it is hard to think of people who don't have any mobile applications on their phones. Be it WhatsApp, Facebook or Google Maps, users have everything they want at the touch of a button. And now, ambitious youngsters are taking advantage of this increasing demand in the app world by developing their own useful and quirky apps. From entertainment and health to finance, food, travel and photography, there are several apps for all of it.

Chiraag Sumanth, S Varun, Arvind Srikantan and Aditya Dalwani, a team of students from PESIT, developed an app called Bankpyper at a 24-hour hackathon conducted by a leading European bank, with the objective of creating “the digital bank of tomorrow”. Sumanth says that the fundamental idea behind the app

is, “Everybody has a smartphone these days, but they don’t necessarily have internet access. So we wanted to facilitate the experience of online banking, offline.”

Through their background research, they found that only five per cent of the country's population has access to the internet, and Bankpyper was made to target the other 95 per cent. The app proves to be beneficial to people in the cities, as well as those living in rural areas. Bankpyper also looks to improve efficiency, from both the customer's as well as a bank’s perspective, by increasing productivity. Though the app is not officially in the market yet, the team has proposed their idea to the bank’s senior management for further development.

Alok Shankar, a student, took over the technology sector of ‘Children’s Lovecastles Trust’, an NGO that develops e-learning material for children.As their learning content tends to be pirated often, Shankar created an application with a licensing software for each device using the material. “Authenticated users can upload content of any kind – Word documents, pictures or videos – and the licensing for each device would allow that particular device to play content pertaining to a subject,” he explains.

A common misconception is that students in courses other than engineering do not have the capability to develop apps. Sumanth and Shankar are of the opinion that it is actually the other way round. Sumanth says, “It doesn’t matter what you’re studying, anyone can create an app.” While developing an app takes hard work and time, it is possible for anyone of any age to make one. The youngest developer in the world is a 12-year-old from California, and he has his own company that currently has four applications in Apple’s ‘App Store’.

Companies like Microsoft, Facebook and Dell were all once student startups. Sumanth places a special emphasis on the fact that technology should never be a constraint because there are several tools one can use. Shankar mentions, “Most tools to develop an app are free. Making one always helps college-wise and in future careers as well.”

With giant companies offering programs like Apple’s iOS Developer University Program, Microsoft Student Partners and Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, students now have a chance to learn from the biggest tech companies and jumpstart their careers.

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