For students and aspiring entrepreneurs of all ages, there has never been a better time to get involved in mobile app development.

The shift to the cloud for back end services and mobile devices for user interaction has eliminated much of the cost and complexity that previously imposed barriers to individuals interested in mobile app development. The cost of participation is now almost negligible — all you need is access to a web browser, creativity and a willingness to learn.

Due to an active and inclusive global coding community, there is an abundance of engaging educational material to help aspiring coders get up and running quickly using modern languages such as Swift. More importantly, that tutorial material is available in the form of videos, sample code, working demo apps and similar content that makes it easy to consume, share with friends and give back to the community. However, the best part is that the vast majority of these resources are available free of charge.

For example, all the services available to developers on Bluemix are available at no cost, including the unique cognitive capabilities of Watson. This state-of-the-art technology, which was once limited to a small team of experts in an expensive lab, is now freely accessible to students and anyone else with a curiosity about cognitive coding and mobile app development. This will be the model for future breakthroughs as it reduces the time between new discoveries and practical implementations by everyday users.

This revolution has not come a moment too soon, with millions of unfilled technical jobs continuing to impede global economic performance. The expansion of the coding community to include a more diverse pool of newcomers has already become a priority for many nations and local communities. Examples abound, from the extensive Girls Who Code program to the Lowekey Camp hackathon-style event for Cleveland high school students.

The remaining challenge is primarily one of awareness. Many of the people who watched Watson win on “Jeopardy!” in 2011 remain unaware that their own children could now be experimenting with the same — in fact, more advanced — technology at home or in school. Success in the next phase of the cloud and mobile revolution will very much depend on getting the word out to the broader community that everyone is welcome to come join this party.

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September 14, 2016 at 02:19AM