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Digital Applications Development Training Achieves Big Successes

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Journal article

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One of the greatest successes from the Connecting Soldiers to Digital Applications initiative since 2010 has been the course designed to teach military members and government civilians how to write native applications for smartphones. The program at the Signal Center of Excellence started with two assumptions. The first assumption was based the fact that Apples App Store on iTunes had been active for just over one year and there were over 100,000 iPhone apps. In addition, the Android marketplaces first few months also saw the rapid development and deployment of 20,000 apps. The staggering rise of these two distribution channels suggested that developing apps was not too difficult. Another assumption was that the military has members in its ranks that have the ability to develop apps. This assumption was tested and proven true during the Apps for the Army Challenge, in which 53 apps were developed over a 75-day period. As it turns out, developing applications is not as easy as first presumed -- or at least it was not a task that could be picked up by that vast majority of our workforce with the same ease as, say, HTML. The complexity of quality native applications comes with a cost, which varies greatly throughout the industry and can range anywhere from 5K-250K depending on the content, graphics, and cost of maintenance. From that came the question of whether or not the Army could create in-house capabilities for mobile app development. Does the Army have Soldiers and civilians within its workforce who, with some development training, could become capable of developing and deploying mobile apps within training or operational contexts The SIGCoE was then tasked with examining the possibilities for providing instruction for developing mobile apps.

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  • Computer Programming and Software
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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