Two months is not a long time. It’s the blink of hot summer days, or the surge and release of the holiday season. Yet in a mere eight weeks, we at Mobile Makers witness the change of a lifetime: the transformation of some 20 people from novices to accomplished iOS developers.


When our summer cohort arrived in July from all corners of the world, most weren’t sure how to start a new coding session. By Weeks 3 and 4, things were starting to click, and by Week 5, each Maker had created about 30 basic apps. That’s when they pitched their own app ideas and formed teams to build them.

We helped each team refine their ideas and gave them guidance on how to solve the challenges they faced — we’re not about giving away the answers here: the whole point is to give our Makers the tools to survive on their own — and they did the coding, the problem-solving, and the hard work of team-building that’s integral to becoming a successful developer.


Then last Thursday, graduation day, six teams submitted their finished products to the App Store for review. They took these apps from concept to completion in just three weeks, a truly remarkable achievement that sets our Makers apart from other junior developers.

The goal of this exercise is to get practical experience and to understand the how’s and why’s that make for best practices in app development. The fact that the apps look and behave like pro apps demonstrates how far these Makers have come since they walked in the door.

Here’s a quick run-down of the summer cohort’s apps — pending approval from Apple, they should be in the App Store within a couple weeks.

Double Air Hockey is not simply an air hockey game… this one lets you play between two devices on a local network, as well as in one- or two-player mode on a single device. App by Antonio Grimaldo and Andres Pesate

Crimeter shows you which direction is best to go to avoid areas where criminal activity has been reported in Chicago, with a unique compass interface. App by Joel Arcos, Umut Kanbak and Maria Merino

GIFit2me lets you quickly search for animated GIFs and then copy and paste them into your email or text messages and social media. App by Andres Castillo and Alex Choi

Krowd uses the camera, geo-fencing and social media to provide organic consumer reviews of Chicago nightlife. App by Julie Caccavo, Kin Bariso and Eddie Kang

Nick of Time will get your heart racing as you try to complete simple tasks at an increasingly fast pace. App by Brian Dinh, Norm Gershon and Matthew Kish

PikFlick suggests movies based on your location. Using swipe gestures, you select or eliminate films, then give your device a shake to let PikFlick choose which movie you should see. App by Jeremy Herrero, Jessica Sturme and Brad Woodard

Eight weeks ago, these Makers arrived to learn how to build iOS apps. For them, the time and hard work they put in means they now have the skills to start a whole new career. For us, we celebrate their achievement. And we recognize that in just two short months, we have developed a bond that will stay with us forever.

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To see photos on Facebook of the summer 2013 graduation event, go to

Update: Crimeter was the first app to go live in the App Store. Congratulations to the team! Not all apps went live due to Makers choosing to hold them for further development.