Whilst teaching a couple of our intern students with no knowledge of iOS development, we thought it would be a fun exercise to try and create an app and submit it to iTunes within 24 hours. Stemming from a frustrating drinking experience in a loud, overcrowded bar the night before, the result is Drinkadex, a handy resource for choosing your beverage and making sure the barman gets your order right!
We're a big fan of 20% days, as they allow developers to relax and focus on learning new concepts and ideas that they may not necessarily explore on client projects. The beauty of this is the fact that work produced on these days will often be fed back into pitches and solutions for clients.
One of the challenges we found with taking on work placement students has been finding the time to both teach them new concepts but to also have them work on client work. We introduced 20% days as a way to allow them to explore new interests such as iOS development or Node.JS and gave them the tools and the knowledge to produce a simple project. This also gave us time to find out what they really wanted to learn and develop.
When given a simple concept it’s always easy to deviate from it and add exciting features, this is called scope creep. This is understandable, however we found that by teaching them the concept of iterative design and development, they could put these extra features aside for a later release and focus on the task at hand using the available time. This meant that they could really focus on producing a polished app both in design and development that they could be proud of.
Our other big challenge was teaching them how to code in a completely different language. We experimented with various learning techniques such as leaving them to learn independently as a team and jumping in only when we were asked for help. We also devised a laptop test, where we would teach our students how to code using a simple project with a laptop until it had 5 minutes of battery left. We would then tell the students that they had 5 minutes to finish the app before the laptop’s battery ran out. This freaked our students out but it put them in a pressured situation where they really had to think for them selves and use the knowledge we had given to them.
The end result of this is a simple, yet polished iOS app made within 24 hours by work placement students who had previously no knowledge of iOS Development or iOS Design. Make sure you download it now from the App Store.
Please don’t shake it more than 5 times!