I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of thirteen finalists for a nationwide app development competition called FinCapDev to develop new mobile apps to help working Americans make smart financial choices.
The finalists were awarded a grant ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 to assist them in developing the proposed app. A panel of judges will consider the 13 apps in June, and based on that distribute a $100,000 prize purse. The grand prize is $50,000. Two runners-up prizes are $20,000 each. Two honorable mention prizes are $5,000 each.
I’m excited about this contest for two reasons. First, my work in academia more and more requires working with mobile devices. So, on the development side, I see this as a good opportunity to keep my programming skills sharp. The language that I speak fluently is C++, which puts me in an awkward position when programming for iPhone and Android based devices. I’m also comfortable with Objective-C and Java, so instead of stubbornly sticking with C++ (which is possible but not common in the mobile world), I’ve been using the primary language of choice for each platform. This has been a lot easier than expected, and helped make sure that I’m constantly evolving as a developer.
The second reason I’m excited about this contest is that my simple little app might help real people stay within their financial means. Money does not buy happiness, but it seems to me that debt is the surest ingredient for un-happiness.
The prize money is motivating as well, but mostly it just makes it more exciting. It’s fun to see a bunch of smart folks bring their ideas to life under pressure of time and competition.
Here’s a video on the financial “behavior change” that FinCapDev is hoping to inspire: