Windows Phone 7 was released yesterday to the world to some rave reviews. So what? Mobile platforms have been around for the past few years and Apple and Google have a pretty strong foothold in the market. Why should MIS programs care about the release of the Microsoft mobile platform? Well because, in my opinion, it is best thing to happen to the discipline in a very long time. Let me give you three important reasons for adding Windows Phone 7 to your IS curriculum makes good sense.
- It is the future – According to an article in USA Today, mobile business application development will surpass all other types of application development by 2015. This is enormous for a discipline that has been searching to find its competitive advantage in the academic marketplace. As MIS programs compete with the more techno-centric IT and CS programs for students, business applications require the skillset that is unique to the MIS discipline. The increased demand for business applications will also translate into more jobs that require the skillset that MIS students possess. Training your students in mobile development now will prepare them for these jobs and make your program’s job placement rates look pretty good in the process.
- It’s a natural extension of current curriculum – Many MIS programs teach VB.NET or C# as the programming language in their object oriented development course. Guess what platform Windows Phone 7 uses? Yep, you got it, C#.
If you are currently teaching C#, then you just have to add an elective or special topics course on mobile development to your curriculum. This adds an exciting new dimension to your program with little to no effort and it reinforces the OOP skills that you teach your students while making them more valuable in the market. Try doing that with the Apple or Android platforms. Mobility could also be integrated into other courses in the program (especially systems analysis and design). It’s truly a win-win-win for students, faculty, and industry. Do you feel that? That feeling is relevance. It happens when industry is beating down your door to get to your students…and it feels good.
If you are teaching VB.NET, then the translation to C# is a very easy one for students and faculty to make as the languages are very similar. Additionally, if you are looking to migrate your OOP course to C#, well then this is the time to do it as you gain a more robust programming language for the Web and you gain the ability to teach mobility as well.
- No additional expense – In a time where budgets are stretched to the max, teaching mobility on the Windows Phone 7 platform doesn’t require any additional investment on the part of the department or the students. Many students have access to the Visual Studio platform through MSDNAA or through Dreamspark. The same is true for the development tools for Windows Phone 7.
So, there it is. An opportunity to increase the relevance of your program by teaching cutting edge skills that are valued in the marketplace, that requires little prep on the part of the faculty, and comes to you with little to no dollar signs attached to it. I am sure that there are other relevant reasons that I missed. Mobile development is literally the opportunity of a lifetime. So what are you waiting for???