Teens step into role as next generation of app designers

Teens step into role as next generation of app designers
A university student, front left, teaches programming to middle and high school students in Tokyo.

As teenagers use their flexible thinking to create practical smartphone apps for life and learning - one high school student has already started his own app business - various initiatives have emerged to support young people who want to make the world a better place through information technology.

Learning the ropes

About 20 middle and high school students and others gathered inside a room in an office building in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, on May 23 to learn programming from university students at Life is Tech! School. Run by Life is Tech Inc., the course teaches students how to make smartphone apps and other skills, aiming to release the apps they create online.

Seminars are also held during summer vacation and other holidays. Since opening in March 2013, the school has taught about 180 students. The endeavour has received attention from IT companies, including garnering scholarships from Google Inc. of the United States.

"It'd make me so happy if a lot of people used my app," said a 14-year-old middle school student from Nerima Ward who attends the school. He said he would like to use the skills he has learned to start his own business someday.

Life is Tech President Yusuke Mizuno, 31, said he started the school because "there are a lot of kids who are interested in making apps, but there was no environment to teach them."

Akira Baba, a professor of information studies at the University of Tokyo, said: "With so few resources, Japan needs to develop its information technology field for the sake of its future development. To do so, it's important to teach people things like app development when they're young."

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