PUCRS is the only university in Rio Grande do Sul to house an iOS technology training center
The Brazilian technology market has experienced continuous growth – witness a 45% increase in the number of application downloads in the past three years, according to App Annie. But this has not always been the case. One of the main reasons is the gap between the large number of job opportunities in the field and the rather limited number of trained professionals available. It was precisely to reverse this scenario that the Apple Developer Academy emerged. Installed since 2013 at PUCRS’ Science and Technology Park (Tecnopuc), the program has trained 543 students and created 15 startups.
The Academy is an iOS technology training center for undergraduate students, and PUCRS is the only university in Rio Grande do Sul to have such an initiative. The program is the result of a collaboration between Tecnopuc, the Eldorado Research Institute and PUCRS School of Technology, in partnership with Apple.
For professor Afonso Sales, professor at the School of Technology and coordinator of the Academy, the program stands out for providing students with a great additional qualification in their training. “There are few undergraduate courses in which students can get familiar with this type of Apple technology. There are many extension courses, separate from the undergraduate programs, where students pay to supplement their capabilities. The Apple Developer Academy provides students with cutting-edge, excellent training,” says Sales.
The Academy uses the Challenge-Based Learning (CBL) methodology, which consists of learning through challenges. For Sales, this teaching method is a major strength of the course. “A methodology created by Apple has for some time been used in different parts of the world, and its implementation at the Academy was extremely successful. We had the freedom to tweak, to adapt it to the teaching of application development. The great advantage of this methodology is that it puts students at the center of the teaching-learning process. They are the lead characters”, he highlights.
Jorge Audy, PUCRS and Tecnopuc Superintendent for Innovation and Development, stresses that Academy is also a space for cooperation. “This is a very important initiative for the innovation ecosystem at PUCRS and in Rio Grande do Sul, mainly in the context of the Rio Grande do Sul Network of Innovation Environments (Rede Gaúcha de Ambientes de Inovação – Reginp). The Academy is open to our partners and offers training opportunities for young people from different institutions in our state”, Audy says.
Rafael Chanin, a professor at the School of Technology, Tecnopuc Startup and an entrepreneurship instructor for the project, points out that the Academy is an opportunity for students to prepare for the job market, as well as for creating their own business. “The program allows for growth not only at the technical level, but also at the personal one, and this makes students ready to enter the market as Apple solution developers and to build their own startups,” Chanin remarks.
Sales also highlights the diverse skills that the Academy seeks to develop in its participants. “The course also offers training in presentation, communication, marketing, sales, and product presentation techniques. This is hard to find in an undergraduate course in the area of technology. Therefore the students who enroll in the Academy see that they are making a big leap forward in their training”, he explains.