The young App-rentice


While other kids his age are busy playing online games, 19-year-old Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) student Gian Javelona is already running his own app-developing company.

Gian and his company Orange Apps, recently hit the headlines when Google Play featured their core app, the PUP Mobile Portal for Android. Within a year after its release, the app nailed 600,000 downloads on Google Play, and also gained several positive reviews from users.

The first app of its kind, PUP Mobile Portal allows students of the state university to view their grades online, visit the PUP Website, socialize with their fellow PUPians through social media or even enroll during the registration period. The idea was born out of Gian's thesis proposal, but being a daring person himself, he decided to turn his idea into a reality.

"'Yung mga nasa app develop-ment, puro games and more on social ang ginagawa. So naisip ko bakit walang gumagawa para sa education eh 'yun ang pinakamahalaga. Kaya nag-isip ako ng bagay kung paano mapapadali 'yung buhay ng mga estudyante," relates Gian.

One will also be surprised to find out that Gian thought of developing an app for Android when he himself doesn't have his own Android phone!

"Ginawa ko siya for almost two months. Mahirap 'yung iba't ibang versions sa Android. Pero nagawan ko naman ng paraan. 'Yung app ko compatible sa lahat ng versions. In terms of lack of resources, nung ginawa ko 'yung app ko, wala akong Android phone. Nanghiram pa ako sa classmate ko para ma-test kung gumagana," he explains.

However, despite the release of the app at Google Play, the university initially turned down the idea because of the amount of work that will be down for the university's information technology network. But Gian released another version that allows the members of the faculty to input their grades directly through their mobiles.

Through his newly-built company, Gian now plans to offer this innovation to other universities and lead the app development of the universities' IT system.

"We need to shout it out that PUP pa lang ang meron nito. PUP ang nauna, at ginawa ng PUPian," he proudly says.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Gian started Orange Apps when he was still a freshman of Computer Engineering Management at PUP-College of Technology. Drawn to digital innovators like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, he decided to name his firm Orange Apps, taking inspiration from the tech company giant Apple.

"I want to change 'yung image ng PUP na 'the rally center of the Philippines'. PUP is now an innovative university that creates technology. It's about time na 'yung College of Technology makilala hindi lang as diploma course, but also as the center of technology," he says.

Now that the app is widely supported by the College and the university, even the new university president Emanuel de Guzman has commended Gian and takes pride in being able to use it to post important announcements, such as suspension of classes.

EVERYONE CAN BE CEO

Despite his visionary goals, Gian insists that he is still an ordinary student who enjoys playing online games and hanging out with his friends during his free time.

He is happy though that unlike other youths, he already found his passion and ideal career.

"I want to inspire people. Just have fun. Love what you do. Explore 'yung mga bagay na gusto ninyong ma-experience habang mga bata pa kayo. Hanapin ninyo 'yung passion ninyo," says Gian, who recalls that at one point people even doubted his app development company and treated it as a joke.

The teen app developer believes that soon everybody will have their Android phones and everything will be done via mobile. With this in mind, he hopes to inspire the Filipinos, young and adults alike, to look at app developing as a possible career.

"Imbes na mag-work ang Filipinos sa foreign company, why don't they work for Filipino companies? I believe that one day the Philippines will be the site for start-up companies. And instead of working as employees, why don't we change that mindset. Everyone has the right to be a CEO. Pag graduate, let them be employers instead," he ends.