GMIT is Leading College for Student App Developers says Microsoft

Friday, August 09, 2013 Press Office
Press Release

Microsoft Kits Out New Lab in GMIT Maths and Computing Dept in Recognition of Students’ App Development Success

The Department of Maths & Computing at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) has been gifted a range of Microsoft Windows 8 tablets, Windows Phone 8 devices and Microsoft Kinnect for PC devices in recognition of the department’s major contribution to the mobile and app development space.

Microsoft has kitted out a computing laboratory in recognition of the continuing work being done in this area by the staff and students of the B. Sc. in Software Development and the B. Sc. in Computing & Digital Media programmes in the department. The devices will greatly enhance the learning experience for the computing students in the department.

As well as the hardware, Microsoft has given students in the department ‘Dreamspark Premium’ membership allowing them get licensed versions of Microsoft Software and free access as developers on the Windows Store to share their apps.

In the past year, GMIT computing students have released in excess of 150 apps for the Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7 markets, making GMIT the leading college for student app developers in Ireland.

Damien Costello, lecturer in the Dept of Maths & Computing, GMIT, says: “Our students now have access to a broad range of devices available for Windows 8, allowing them to successfully develop and test software applications as they will be used. Getting a modern, well equipped lab like this provides an excellent work environment for students, giving them a real advantage in their programming education.”

“This lab is a significant step forward for students who are learning to develop the next generation of apps which will utilise Windows 8 based devices and the range of sensors and input media that are now available. Our students have recently developed apps using the accelerometer, the camera, the compass and the gyroscope to name a few. These apps are now available on the Windows Store, on which the GMIT Software Development Students have been releasing apps over the past six months. Nature Detective, Muslim Suite Pro, Sprite Store and Irish Slang are just some of the apps now available,” adds Mr Costello.

Microsoft Ireland and GMIT have built a very successfully working relationship over the past number of years. Michael Meagher, Microsoft Academic Engagement Manager in Microsoft Ireland says: “The students coming out of GMIT have an amazing passion for technology is this is clearly evident on the types of apps that we see coming from the student body."

In the recent AppMeUp competition from Microsoft, developers had the opportunity to develop four apps for the new Windows 8 platform and in return, Microsoft gave the first sixty developers an Acer Windows 8 tablet. GMIT Software Development student Adeel Gilani was the first of ten GMIT computing students, and the first student in Ireland, to receive one of these tablets.

Having heard about and seeing the new lab, Adeel says: “the course material is very innovative and challenging at times and teachers were very informative and helpful. We have worked hard on emerging technologies from Microsoft but we were lacking real devices to test drive the software. Thanks to Microsoft, that isn't an issue anymore. The new lab will allow us to focus on the learning instead of worrying about the cost of the hardware.”

Another GMIT Software Development student and Microsoft student partner, Jeremy Freeley, says: "The resources, equipment and software that Microsoft have provided will go a long way to helping young developers to transform their ideas into apps, products and solutions for business."

Gabriel Hicks, Head of Department of Maths & Computing, GMIT, adds “this is an example of how the academic/industry alliances can benefit the students and keep their skill sets up to date, giving them the best start in their dynamic IT careers.”