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University of Ulster student Shannon Holgate from Castledawson was one of eight lucky undergraduates to secure a coveted place on Apple's inaugural ‘App Camp’ in Northern Ireland. The students were selected by leading IT company Kainos from an original entry of over 100 take part in the ‘App camp’ and get an opportunity learn everything they needed to know to design, develop and launch their own applications (apps) for Apple’s iconic iPhone and iPad.

Shannon, who has just finished the first year of a degree in Financial Engineering at Ulster’s Coleraine, is now halfway through the two month intensive App camp and well on the way to developing his first app which he has called ‘No Brainer’.

Shannon explains: “The app name, No Brainer, is a play on the abbreviation of number which is ‘no’ and instantly shows the main element of this innovative app. It’s a unique brain trainer because of the way it is created as a game combining the drop down idea of the popular game Tetris and the mathematics behind the TV show Countdown.

“It’s a fun and entertaining App that can be used to help those who want to sharpen their Maths skills but also to give anyone with an interest in Maths a bit of a challenge.

“The game will be marketed towards the general public of any age as the difficulty of the game can be adjusted. It will also be specifically targeted at the education sector, particularly primary schools as this will prove a very successful way of teaching Maths to the younger generation.”

Tom Gray, Chief Technology Officer at Kainos says: “The App Camp was designed specifically to hothouse the brightest and best new, raw talent.  It’s a fantastic way to engage with bright, young undergraduates by finding out first-hand what they have to offer, and helping them hone and shape their skills for commercial success. By partnering the students with the highly experienced team of developers at Kainos, Belfast, the App Camp initiative aims to develop and strengthen the skills base of undergraduates.” 

By the end of the App Camp, the eight students will launch their app on the official Apple App Store. They will each be presented with an Apple Macbook and iPod Touch so they can carry on their development work once they return to University in the autumn.