5 places Where you Can Learn To Be An App Expert

Mobile apps are a critical platform for music discovery, distribution and marketing, making them a key driver of the music industry's future. But they're also a nascent field nurturing little in the way of education and training. Here are a few of the top schools making app development a focal point of curriculum.

STANFORD UNIVERSITY

Stanford was one of the first universities to offer iPhone app development courses and might be the only one that offers a course specifically for mobile music app creation. A driving force within the school is assistant professor Ge Wang of Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, and co-founder of mobile music app developer Smule, the firm that created the best-selling I Am T-Pain app.

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Called an "epicenter" of app development thanks to its strong videogame development program, USC emerged as a force for mobile apps after two students in 2008 created the Radio app for the iPhone-providing users with access to more than 6,300 radio stations nationwide. Now, the school offers development introductory and advanced classes for both iPhone and Android platforms-along with location-based technologies-that focus on collectively creating a workable app by the end of each semester.

MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

One of the first to formalize mobile app development as a course of study in 2008, MIT app classes range from semester-long intensives to one-week workshops. Classes are offered in all platforms, including iPhone, Android and more recently Windows Phone 7. The class operates much like a semester-length Hack Day-students work on various apps with advice from guest mentors from companies like Google, Nokia and Microsoft and present their demos at the end of the course to press, business leaders and potential investors.

OLIN COLLEGE

This engineering school's mobile app development program combines aspects of technology, design and business strategy, offering instruction on development and entrepreneurship. Students work in teams to create viable apps. Midterms last year took the form of an app contest based on the Echo Nest's application programming interface, from which six mobile apps were created.

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY

NYU offers a wide spectrum of mobile app classes, from quick certifications to full-blown development programs. It recently added support for the iPad, Kindle and Nook devices to the curriculum. And in addition to the tech-focused classes, the school offers courses in app marketing, mobile analytics and mobile advertising.

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