Digital Jam activi...

Digital Jam activity heats up around the Caribbean

The explosion of creative activity in smartphone and tablet applications continues to spread across the Caribbean, as budding technology entrepreneurs upgrade their skills and get ready for the world of business. With less than two weeks to go before the start of Digital Jam 3.0 "Caribbean Edition," mobile app competitors and their mentors are working feverishly to fine-tune and finish their entries on time for the March 1-2 event at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Regional Headquarters in Mona, Jamaica.

Digital 3.0 “Caribbean Edition,” a series of workshops and mentored training linking Caribbean youth to digital work opportunities around the globe, will focus on the problem of high unemployment among youth across the Caribbean. It aims to stimulate collaboration through learning, prize incentives, and networking, and to be a catalyst for sustainable development in the region.

Digital Jam mentor Damion Daley, head of Software Architects Ltd., worked with Jamaican teams after the last Digital Jam and is now guiding 2014 entrants in Barbados, Dominica, Haiti, Antigua, Trinidad & Tobago and St. Kitts. “This year,” he said, “I’ve been working with teams outside Jamaica to help them organize their thoughts and show them how to succeed. There’s a lot of excitement out there.”

Making a successful mobile app, Daley says, has a lot to do with preparation, a clear definition of needs before development begins. “The developer should use Minimal Viable Product, which lets him start with a strong basic idea but can grow with features later on. Without proper scope or direction, you won’t know where you’re going. But then,” Daley quipped,” it’s hard to put out a bad app idea.”

“The programmers I met in Barbados,” he said, “are mostly already out of school, and seem to be interested in developing apps for use in-country, even though I usually recommend that a new app should cross borders.” In Dominica, by contrast, the excited teenage entrants got their start from the IT instructor at the island’s community college and are working with more wide-ranging app ideas.

According to Daley, some of the more promising entries include ‘Nearby,’ an application that will provide crowdsourced, location-based information and services, and a medical app expected to help doctors and patients keep track of appointments, treatment regimens and patients’ conditions.

Enterprising Caribbean technologists will use the event, from its mentoring and application development training to the prospect of a $10,000 grand prize, as a stepping stone to the creation of new and essential mobile apps—and, perhaps, their own businesses.

Photo credit: Digital Jam 3.0

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