January 17, 2014 by Editorial Board
A Jan. 7 DrexelNow press release announced a donation from Bentley Systems, a Philadelphia-based company, to the University to establish a mobile application lab within the existing ExCITe Center. The Application Development Lab (APP Lab) will be administered by the Pennoni Honors College, but its resources will be available to all Drexel students. There are multiple undergraduates at Drexel who have already designed and promoted their own apps, and now there’s an on-campus resource for other students interested in doing the same. We, the Editorial Board, are appreciative of the University providing students with industry-relevant opportunities for professional development outside of co-op. Everybody knows that the co-op program differentiates Drexel from other universities, and resources like the APP Lab continue to add even more value to our college educations.
Data from Portio Research states that more than 1.2 billion people worldwide used mobile applications in 2012. This number is expected to more than triple — to 4.4 billion — in 2014. It seems, then, that the APP Lab is coming to fruition at a convenient time for students. As the industry continues to grow, students who have taken advantage of the offerings of the APP Lab will be more prepared to join the workforce armed with relevant know-how and up-to-date skills. The fact that the lab is open to all students, regardless of year or major, will provide hands-on learning experience even for those students who aren’t necessarily technologically inclined. The lab will presumably also bring together students with different strengths and allow for collaboration across colleges.
While the Pennoni Honors College will help manage the lab and has plans to provide co-op and STAR Scholar opportunities exclusively to honors students, we appreciate that the lab will be open to anyone. It’s important to allow students to break out of their majors and explore other fields — and at Drexel, sometimes everything feels streamlined. We’re on such a fast track to adulthood and full-time jobs that it might be more difficult for Drexel students to take classes unrelated to their career of choice. Resources like the APP Lab allow students to learn important technological skills outside the classroom. We would like to thank the executives at Bentley Systems for the generous gift that made all of this possible.
The APP Lab will provide interested students with a useful and marketable skill for after graduation. Our college years are a time not only to earn a degree but also to explore interests and strengthen weaknesses on our resumes. As this new project will allow students of all majors to learn about and create their own apps, it will most likely provide a valuable service to the Drexel community, and we’re thankful to Bentley and the ExCITe Center for providing it to us.