Apps, Apps, Apps!

12 March 2012

UCL is the first UK university to include app development as part of core curriculum programming teaching for its Computer Science courses


The future is mobile

As various companies are selling apps by the billions around the world and tablet devices and phones are taking consumers by storm, software developers are approaching the field of apps as an increasingly foundational and key skill for software engineering. Aside from the hype of a company “not being seen without an app”, it demonstrates the ability to work with finely tuned software engineering problems, linking to existing data systems and infrastructure, and produce unique technology that can be used on-the-go to collect, share and disseminate many different kinds of information. This is highly appealing to employers, and UCL’s Department of Computer Science has already begun preparing its students for the demands the market will place on them.

We are very proud to be the first UK university to incorporate apps development into our core curriculum Computer Science courses.  The software engineering lifecycle of apps development are now included as standard in our teaching for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Computer Science, Financial Computing, Software Systems Engineering and Financial Systems Engineering Master’s programmes. It will be extended into many more teaching programmes subsequently, and has already had a home at UCL for a number of years as a part of undergraduate and MSc final projects and dissertations.

Awards for first student apps


Advanced projects supervision by Graham Roberts, Dean Mohamedally, Licia Capra, Tim Weyrich, Mark Handley, Stephen Hailes, Gabriel Brostow and many others in the Department are also leading app technologies being applied to various domains of Computer Science (including our new Robot Programming module for undergraduates!).  Earlier this term UCL presented its first Apps prizegiving for its MSc Computer Science and Financial Computing students.

Morgan Stanley, the global financial services company, are one of the many companies looking to recruit and sponsor students with these skills. They have partnered with UCL Advances, the arm of UCL which nurtures student entrepreneurship, to provide a £1.5k prize fund to those CS and FC students who produce the best applications.  For the first year of its delivery, the students were assigned the brief of producing apps to teach novice learners how to program (in programming languages chosen by their tutors, ranging from Haskell to C). Many of the final products were suitable for market, and will be released soon. The best of this selection were chosen by the tutors from the Software Engineering research group, and awarded their cash prizes by Jonathan Daplyn, the Head of the Global Listed Derivatives Technology Group at Morgan Stanley.

And the winners are:


Xin Zhang recieves her first prize from Jonathan DaplynKavi Dhokia recieves his first prize from Jonathan Daplyn

 MSc Computer Science

1st: Kavi Dhokia

2nd: Andrew Newman

3rd: Becker Ingolf & Fei Gao (jointly)

MSc Financial Computing

1st:  Xin Zhang

2nd:  Lifan Zhou

3rd:  Derek Ho


The teaching team would like to thank all the students involved for their hard work, the app teaching assistants, Maciek Gryka and Jozef Dobos for their dedication, and Morgan Stanley and UCL Advances for recognising the students’ potential. This scheme will run again next year, when even more students will be able to develop real, working apps as part of their Computer Science studies.

For more information on apps development, training and taught courses, and corporate opportunities for project and research relations, please contact the Department of Computer Science via


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