“The key is really cross-platform development.”
Mobile app program builds cross platform skills
When Taral Oza was streamlining the new cross platform curriculum for the UCSC Silicon Valley Extension Mobile Application Development Professional award program, he was thinking: versatility.
Educated as a biomedical engineer, he has never stuck to one operating system, one programming language or one platform.
“I use whichever technology works for given task,” he says. “I can switch gears at any time.”
It’s a time of explosive growth for mobile application development and right where he finds himself in his 20-year career in the medical device industry.
“The nature of our industry is really to be more versatile. I’ve had my hands into very wide spectrum of technologies for the last 20 years.”
Evolution of the app market
Since The Apple App Store debuted in 2008, the market has ballooned to more than 4 million apps. During the third quarter of 2018, there were 2.1 million Android apps and another 2 million in the Apple store. Analysts like Lexi Sydow with App Annie, predict 30 percent year-over-year growth rate on an expected consumer spend of $110 billion in 2019 alone.
“The key is really cross-platform development,” Oza says. “Developers write the code once and it works on both platforms, Android and iOS”
Cross platform application development frameworks have been around many years, but now they’ve matured enough for developers to build beyond a prototype and develop high quality applications on the three major frameworks—Microsoft’s Xamarin, Google’s Flutter, and Facebook’s React Native.
Flutter in the classroom
New on the horizon is Google’s Flutter, an open source mobile application development framework for building out Android and iOS, as well as Google Fuchsia products.
“Flutter allows you to build beautiful native apps on iOS and Android from a single codebase,” Google boasts on its website.
Students in the newly restructured UCSC Extension mobile app development courses— Mobile Application Development – Android and iOS, Introduction and Mobile Application Development – Android and iOS, Advanced—will work with the new Flutter technology.
“We’re trying to offer this early in the game,” Oza says. “It has a very bright and long future and getting in the game early is always good because students can evolve along with the framework and really make it part of their technical growth.”
Students will also be learning and developing in the class using a real cloud backend to get a taste of the real experience.
Mobile App Development—Streamlined
Oza has shaped the consolidation of courses in the eight-unit Mobile Application Development professional award. The introductory iPhone and Android courses are now combined as are the advanced iPhone and Android courses. Mobile e-Commerce, Fintech and Cryptocurrency has been refreshed to reflect a stronger emphasis on modern technologies that are evolving fast to align with mobile ecosystems.
While it’s recommended that students take two of the core courses and one elective, students can choose any three courses to complete the professional award.
“The usage of mobile devices is expanding into multiple directions so there’s a high demand for developers to create new ways for people to interact with their device,” says Mayen Udoetuk, director of the UCSC Extension Department of Engineering and Technology. “They may be working on it, managing their life, their health, their businesses. We want to make sure our students are trained in the development of the latest platforms.”
More smartness everywhere
While much of the growth has been in gaming and in Gen Z, there is a lot of potential to add “smarter” capabilities into existing apps.
In the health care industry, Oza has been directly involved with designing the mobile application that works with pacemakers, implantable defibrillators, implantable cardiac loop recorder and the mobile applications that help medical professionals monitor them remotely.
Learn something new
When he thinks of his team, versatility comes up again.
“I want problem solvers rather than someone to be tied very closely to a single programming language,” Oza says. “I’d rather have them say, ‘Sure I can learn that and use that!’ It’s very important in any industry. With rapidly evolving technologies, it’s not like you’re going to learn this in 2019, and then go on to use it for the next 20 years. Next year you will learn something new.”
ABOUT TARAL OZA
TARAL OZA, M.S., a principal software engineer with Abbott, has nearly 20 years’ experience of medical device development with leading high-technology companies in the Bay Area. A seasoned full-stack architect, his experience spans from embedded software and application software to backend development. He has worked on multiple implantable medical devices that have gained FDA approval and gone on to be successful life-saving products in the market. He has multiple patents in his name involving implantable medical devices. Technical skills include C#, C++, Java, Perl, PHP, TCL and Assembly, as well as experience with embedded software development for systems and devices, including both Windows-based desktop and Linux-based web applications. He also manages a team of successful developers and has mentored many students toward bright careers in his decade of teaching.
Oza’s upcoming courses
Learn more about the UCSC Silicon Valley Extension Mobile Application Development professional award program.
- Mobile Application Development – Android and iOS, Introduction
- Developing Applications for Android Mobile Devices, Advanced
- Mobile Application Development – Android and iOS, Advanced
Imran Hajimusa’s newly designed course—Mobile e-Commerce, Fintech and Cryptocurrency—begins April 18.