Student’s iOS game app lands him programming internship
A humanities background didn’t stop Eryn Cantrell from going back to school for a master’s degree in computer science at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.
“Actually, there is a lot of creativity in computer science and interesting problems to solve,” he said. “How do I build this? How do I balance utility with aesthetics?”
Cantrell answers those problems through creative programming, something he dabbled in after graduating with his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo., and while working for a software startup there called Intuitive Web Solutions.
“It is easy to lose yourself and get really interested in what you’re working on,” he said. “You look at your watch and you realize five hours have gone by, and you have no idea how.”
Programmers often call that experience “flow,” according to Cantrell. He’s learning the ins and outs of the industry this summer during an internship at Asynchrony in St. Louis. While taking the new Advanced iOS class offered at UMSL, Cantrell produced a game app that helped him land his internship.
“The class was taught by a professional iOS engineer in that area, David Vaughn,” he said. “It was a great class – one of those classes that was all projects, so I learned a ton.”
The app he built as a final project is a venture capital simulation game, which challenges players to grow their wealth by making successful investments in new businesses. Cantrell was inspired by previous work he had done for Intuitive Web Solutions.
“We were trying to grow and didn’t know anything about venture capital. It would have been really helpful to just play a little video game. That’s one way our generation chooses to learn that has proven to do well. They call it ‘gamification.’ If you can make it something interesting and kind of hide the fact that you’re trying to teach people things like accounting and finance, it can peak interest in a topic without lecturing people to death.”
Cantrell’s game app displays a deal pipeline and offers players actions like “build a relationship with the chief executive officer” and “conduct due-diligence.”
“I want to keep working on it,” he said. “I think it has potential to release on the app store. As far as games go, at least for iOS, I couldn’t find any app that did this type of work.”
But further development of his game will have to wait until after his internship at Asynchrony, where he is working with their iOS team on an app, adding Apple Watch functionality to it. So far, Cantrell feels like he’s fitting in well.
“The internship at Asynchrony is great. I’m most grateful for how the company treats their interns. They give us a significant amount of training, and they put us on meaningful projects and expect us to contribute. They treat us as part of the team.”
Cantrell will return this fall to UMSL to complete his master’s and hopefully his app as well.
Short URL: https://blogs.umsl.edu/news/?p=57787