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Journalism, Engineering kick off ninth annual student app competition

A stack of boxes of Apple Watches.

On Sept. 15, the MU School of Journalism and College of Engineering Information Technology Program kicked off the ninth rendition of their student contest with a programming theme that involves developing apps for the Apple watch. Photo courtesy of Dale Musser.

Six years ago, following the announcement from Apple that the iPhone would support third-party applications, the MU School of Journalism and the MU College of Engineering’s Information Technology Program collaborated to alter the design of their annual collaborative student competition to be based around iOS applications.

On Sept. 15, they kicked off the ninth rendition of the contest with a programming theme that involves developing apps for the Apple Watch.

More than 100 undergraduate and graduate students from eight different majors showed up for the briefing. Speakers from the School of Journalism, the IT Program, the College of Business and representatives of the professional app-developing world gave their advice and opinions on the contest. One former student who won a previous rendition of the contest described how the competition was a precursor to him landing his current job. Assistant Professor William Allen from MU’s Trulaske College of Business described his support of “entrepreneurial enthusiasm,” even offering students the chance to pitch ideas to his investments class.

Students are well aware that if they can create the next great app — like the group from three years ago who are still professionally supporting their app, SafeTrek —they will have a leg-up for in job market and may be able to generate a little of their own entrepreneurial enthusiasm.

Director of the MU College of Engineering’s IT Program Dale Musser described the objectives of the contest. This year’s theme is media, and Musser was adamant that students think about how users consume media. “I want you to inform, engage, and entertain. Ask yourself ‘Why do I need to have [an Apple watch]?’”

Keeping this idea in mind, students were given a few ice-breaking exercises, and encouraged to form groups and build ideas on their own for the next essential app for the Apple watch.

Watch for updates on the competition leading up to the announcement of the winner in May 2016.