Skyline College students with an idea for the next big technological breakthrough may soon be able to transform their dream into reality through a unique curricular collaboration with the world’s most notable computer company.
Apple’s application development curriculum Swift will be offered this fall to students enrolled in the school’s computer science program, granting those at the local campus a rare opportunity, according to officials.
Skyline College will be the only state community college to offer the program, and is among only five others across the nation to teach students the specialized curriculum for designing Apple device apps.
School officials celebrated the initiative as a means of helping students at the San Bruno community college build the talents needed to work in the highly-competitive and lucrative local tech industry.
“Having the knowledge, skills and ability to use Swift software is a very valuable skill set,” said Andrea Vizenor, the director of Career and Workforce Programs at Skyline College.
School President Regina Stanback Stroud shared a similar perspective in a prepared statement.
“This gives Skyline College students the advantage of having the latest, most relevant training in a hot and growing job sector. And with our location in the Bay Area, this will be a great benefit to local tech employers,” she said.
Computer science students will learn to code and craft apps, building their abilities for careers in the information technology, software and program development fields. The Swift curriculum will be integrated into the core computer science pathway, and will be available to each student enrolled in the program.
Skyline College officials are also hoping to build on the partnership with Apple to expand opportunities for students in the middle college or adult school programs, according to a school report. It is expected the program will expand to other district schools soon too.
The class should be a popular recruitment vehicle for students who may not otherwise be interested in computer science, due to the familiarity and comfort of many with Apple apps such as Airbnb, Venmo and Yelp, all of which are designed with Swift.
“We want to break down the barriers for students who may not think computer science careers are for them,” Vizenor said.
Officials also believe the program, if popular, could help build cultural and gender diversity in the computer science field, said Vizenor.
“We want to do all that we can to create experiences where students envision themselves as someone who is capable to be excellent in whatever they choose to be,” she said.
Community colleges in Alabama, Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania and Arizona are the only others in the nation offering the program.
The one-year course is designed by Apple engineers to help students to learn to code with free curriculum available through the company’s iBooks store.
Apple officials are hopeful the program is an effective means of making app design and computer science more accessible to students looking to pursue opportunities in the modern job market.
“Community colleges play a critical role in helping students achieve their dreams, and we hope these courses will open doors for people of all ages and backgrounds to pursue what they love,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a prepared statement.
The app development program is an extension of the tech titan’s K-12 Everyone Can Code initiative, building partnerships with public school systems to improve computer science curriculum.
The Swift initiative’s placement in community colleges is expected to open to doors for 500,000 students to be able to take the courses, according to an Apple report, which said many of the programs will be supplemented by partnerships and internships with local tech companies.
Considering the high demand for jobs in the technology field, especially in San Bruno near the home of YouTube, Vizenor said she believes the program will be a tremendous asset in meeting the interest of local students.
“This is ensuring we are meeting the 21st-century needs for technology careers,” she said.
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