On Monday evening I went to the kickoff meeting for the UMN's 2nd annual Mobile App Challenge. The challenge is a 2 semester long app design and development competition sponsored by the Office of Information Technology and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). It is open to all undergraduate students and is a great learning opportunity as well as a chance to get some serious exposure to design professionals and win some awesome prizes.
Next Wednesday (the 17th), is the last day pitches for app ideas can be submitted to the judges for the challenge, but even if you don't plan on pitching anything you can still participate! In fact, there will likely be a huge demand for designers. At the kick off meeting, the ratio of computer science students to designers was about 10 to 1. There is a serious need for more designers!
By next Wednesday, there is going to be a lot of pitches submitted online. Of these pitches, 20 pitches will be selected by judges to move on. Pitches that are selected will form teams of up to five students and beginning to do initial work and research for the app. A lot of these teams will likely be needing designers on their team. The speakers pointed out several times during the kickoff meeting that the best apps last year had teams of both developers and designers. In fact, the winning app WANDER, was designed by Natalie Doud, a graduate from the U's graphic design program. This is a great opportunity to build your teamwork and design skills and potentially end up with awesome work for your portfolio!
I am currently undecided as to whether or not I will be submitting a proposal for the challenge or just trying to join another team in need of a designer, but I am excited to be involved either way. Hopefully I will have more to tell you about the Mobile App Challenge in the near future!