Mobile Makers grad takes on extra work while still in college
Inspired by mobile apps’ growing ubiquity, Antonio Grimaldo tossed himself into the iOS app development world. In the summer of 2013, Antonio, an app development novice and university student at the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico, enrolled in the Mobile Makers Academy’s flagship app development course.
“Since mobility is huge and most people have contact with their phones, I was interested in making something that could be used by a lot of people on a regular basis,” Antonio says.
Now, Antonio is a part of the ever-expanding iOS app-developing galaxy with the April 2014 debut of Cuby, an app targeting residents of Antonio’s native Mexico. Similar to Nest, a popular smart thermostat app in the U.S., the free Cuby app interfaces directly with Cuby’s infrared hardware to allow homeowners the ability to monitor and configure their homes’ air conditioning or heating remotely from Apple mobile devices.
“There are thermostats in Mexico, but they are not common for consumer use because they are more expensive, so most people have mini-splits controlled with infrared remotes that heat and cool a room,” explains Antonio, a native of San Luis Potosi, a city of 725,000 in central Mexico. “The Cuby app connects to the Cuby hardware in the room and gives homeowners control of their homes’ temperature.”
While Arteko Electronics had created the innovative Cuby device, the upstart Mexico-based company had no in-house app developer capable of linking the Cuby hardware to the home’s air conditioning unit.
Fresh from returning to Mexico in August 2013 after his eight-week stint at Mobile Makers Academy and still tackling a full course load at the Monterrey Institute of Technology, a university supervisor linked Antonio to Arteko CEO Arturo Martinez Lavin.
As Antonio began working on the Cuby app, he encountered new, unfamiliar technology, such as WebSockets, and began making modules for each function – soon discovering that approach required too much code. He reconsidered his strategy and began restructuring the 14-page app, often leaning on Mobile Makers’ Facebook alumni group for potential solutions to pressing problems he encountered.
“Arteko has been pleased with the app and it was exciting to challenge myself with something so complex for my first client project,” says Antonio, who updated the app in June.
He credits Mobile Makers with providing him the sturdy iOS foundation he needed to tackle the ambitious Cuby app, which has earned a quick following in Mexico’s more volatile northern climates.
“Because of Mobile Makers, I was able to learn new things more easily, better understand research and trial different ideas,” Antonio says.
Developing the Cuby app, Antonio adds, has not only boosted his technical proficiency, but also spurred intriguing professional opportunities. Since Cuby’s spring release, Antonio says he has fielded numerous job and project offers, about 70 percent of which specifically note his iOS app-development experience.
“I think I’ve impressed some people with this, and I hope it’s just the beginning,” he says.
Currently in San Francisco, Antonio is adding to his mobile development skills so he can be a full-stack developer. “With this I can create whole products by myself,” says Antonio, who will return to Mexico to complete his engineering degree later this year.
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