Symbian Academy trains university students

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Symbian formally announced the Symbian Academy program today. The program is aimed at supporting universities who are teaching students about developing Symbian OS software. Symbian will be providing course materials, training, technical support and guest lecturers. Symbian Academy reflects the need for a greater numbers of train Symbian OS developers.

In setting up the Symbian Academy Symbian is planning for the long term provision of Symbian OS Developer to the Symbian ecosystem. Currently there is a shortage of skilled Symbian OS developers. Although various training programs are available though Forum Nokia, Sony Ericsson, UIQ and Symbian themselves for existing developers it is clear that a long term strategy to provide a continuous supply of newly trained developers is a necessity. Symbian have a strong track record of working with universities and the Symbian Academy formalises much of the support that Symbian has already been providing to universities.

Part of the Symbian Academy will involve the use of the Accredited Symbian Developer Programme. ASD, which is also available separately, is an accredited exam programme designed to test the skill / knowledge base of developers around key Symbian OS topic areas. It allows developers to demonstrate their practical and theoretical knowledge of developing software for Symbian OS. The exam consists of approximately 50 questions and it typically takes 75-90 minutes to complete the exam. The exam can either be formally supervised in a classroom or run via an Internet browser. Questions are in the form of multiple choice with 5 possible answers, of which 3 may be correct. The ASD is a good way for developers who want to differentiate themselves and gain recognition for their hard earned experience. It is recognised and supported by UIQ and Nokia.

The shortage of developers has raised the costs of developing on the Symbian OS platform and has been a major contributor to the the perception that Symbian is difficult to develop for. While developing for Symbian OS does necessitate an understanding of the 'Symbian OS way' of doing things (pattern and concepts that are proscribed by the design of the OS itself), the difficulty of developing for Symbian OS is often over played. Moreover the issue of inadequate tools and documentation (the other major problem held up against Symbian OS development) has improved in the last 6 months, although further work is necessary. 

Symbian must now carefully monitor costs associated with development in terms of both training and those associated with application development (such as signing, tools and distribution) to insure that Symbain development costs continue their downward trend.

Press Release: 

Symbian offers free university support to train future mobile software developers

London, United Kingdom, 21 June, 2006 - Symbian Limited today announced Symbian Academy, a program to provide free support to universities teaching knowledge and skills associated with developing software for Symbian OSTM , the market-leading open operating-system for advanced, data-enabled mobile phones, also known as smartphones.

Symbian OS is the number one choice for smartphone software developers with over 70 million Symbian smartphones shipped to-date worldwide. As the smartphone category stretches into the mass market, the opportunity to generate profit from Symbian applications and services has become an increasingly attractive proposition, leading to a rising demand for high-quality Symbian developers.

Symbian Academy is designed to make it easy for universities to create courses that teach Symbian software development and to integrate a Symbian component into existing computer science courses. University lecturers affiliated with Symbian Academy will receive free course materials, training, technical support, development literature, expert Symbian lecturers and exposure to Symbian's industry partners.

To help cultivate the next generation of mobile software developers, Symbian Academy will foster partnerships between academia and industry, maintaining the growth of the thriving Symbian ecosystem. Bruce Carney, Head of Developer Marketing, said, "Developers are very important to the success of Symbian OS and Symbian is constantly looking for ways to increase their number and skills. Symbian Academy is one of several initiatives being undertaken to ensure that developers of every level have access to the support that they need."

Forum Nokia
Harri Pennanen, Head of Academic Relations, Forum Nokia, said, "As Symbian enters the mass-market it is increasingly important that the smartphone industry engages with academia. Nokia believes that the creation of Symbian Academy will help to increase the number of suitably skilled software engineers, who will in turn provide the applications and services the market requires. Symbian Academy's free support for the teaching of mobile software development will complement Nokia's own extensive network of research and development with its existing university relationships."