Conestoga news

July 19, 2013 3:15 PM

Conestoga hosts BlackBerry programming camp

Conestoga's Engineering and Information Technology campus hosted the inaugural BlackBerry Jam Camp over two days on July 16 and 17.

A pilot project conceived by BlackBerry, the event brought talented post-secondary students from across North America together for two days of intensive programming and collaboration with BlackBerry staff and programmers.

Selected via an application process, the students were tasked with creating an app that will ultimately be included on BlackBerry App World, the online store that allows users to download apps to their mobile devices.

After two days of intensive programming sessions and seminars, participants returned home to begin eight weeks of programming that ends with the app approval process before inclusion on App World.

Penn State University student Trey Morris was invited to the conference because of his work developing an online course and app for the Pennsylvania-based university. Having access to BlackBerry programmers was important to help him move forward with his programming.

"Having these great developers from BlackBerry coach us through the beginning steps was nice, because we have that in-person communication," said Morris.

For some participants, the opportunity to build an app isn't as much about utility as it is about personal passion.

Notre Dame University student Sean Fitzgerald chose to base his app on Conway's Game of Life, a popular programming game developed by mathematician John Horton Conway in the 1970s.

For Fitzgerald, this camp wasn't his first experience with BlackBerry. Having recently returned from BlackBerry Live, an event where the mobile-device maker unveiled new technology, in Orlando, Florida, Fitzgerald looked forward to participating in another BlackBerry-sponsored event.

Eager to build on his knowledge from school, Fitzgerald knows that the more he could learn about different mobile platforms, the better.

"I don't want to restrict myself to one specific platform. I want to be able to program BlackBerry, Android and iOS," he said.

"What's great about this event is that they really emphasize that."

With plans for more conferences across the globe, BlackBerry hopes that these events will inspire the next generation of programmers and Fitzgerald agreed with their approach.

"It's no longer that you're special if you're a programmer. Anyone can do it. And I want to help them bring that knowledge to everyone."