Not all programming skills are gained in school – Ville’s coding lessons train students for working life
The software industry is changing at a pace that makes it impossible for degree programs to offer the latest know-how. At school, students only learn the basics of development and gain an idea of how to study mobile development further. One way of keeping curricula more up to date is to hire third-party professionals to […]
The software industry is changing at a pace that makes it impossible for degree programs to offer the latest know-how. At school, students only learn the basics of development and gain an idea of how to study mobile development further. One way of keeping curricula more up to date is to hire third-party professionals to teach specialized courses.
In the course taught by Valta, students studied the use of the most important third-party libraries in mobile programming. The subjects included okhttp, retrofit, Jackson and use of the Realm database. As an exercise, the students had to design and develop an application that fetched data from a chosen public API and presented it in a Google Material Design compliant user interface. Katri Vilonen, an Android developer at Singa and student at Haaga-Helia, served as assistant teacher.
“Our aim was to teach the students to create complex applications with these techniques,” Valta says. “I was never taught any of this. I looked it up on the internet or learned on the job. It’s nice to be able to make it easier for others.”
For getting a job, however, taking an interest and learning the latest techniques by yourself is vital.
“Especially when starting out, you need to be able to show what you can do through your own projects in GitHub. The most important skills are learned out of school, by working on real projects.”
Students appreciate employment-oriented courses
Marianne Sirén, who is currently finishing her BBA in information technology, was interested in the course due to its Android theme and focus on skills needed in working life. In fact, Sirén has already found employment at Kisko Labs. She is also one of the organizers of Rails Girls events in Finland.
“The course really focused on practical skills, and the teachers were great,” Sirén says. “For example, it was extremely useful to learn how to use the Realm database.”
Prior programming experience was a requirement for the course, which ensured that the students were genuinely interested and already had some knowledge of the subject. Few mobile development courses are oriented towards actual working life, so students really appreciate the practical skills they offer.
“This was absolutely the most useful course I have taken,” Sirén says.