BYU grads’ tech projects startle business world

In a screenshot from one of his training videos, Nick Walter invites Udemy users to view his course on Apple’s new programming language, Swift. Walter’s training videos have earned him a place in the business world.

Three days after Apple released its new programming language last summer, a BYU graduate uploaded a course of training videos that earned him almost $45,000 in just one month.

Apple’s announcement for the new programming language, called Swift, came as a surprise to developers worldwide. Nick Walter, a BYU graduate in information systems, decided to take on the task of learning the new language and teaching it to others via videos.

“I thought it would be kind of cool to teach while learning,” he said.

Walter uploaded his Swift training videos to Udemy, an online learning marketplace, and earned almost $45,000 in the month of July.

“I was very blown away,” Walter said. He hadn’t expected to make much money through the course.

Small businesses and individuals alike are utilizing technology to expand their business and their ability to reach a larger audience.

“Technology has leveled the playing field,” said BYU professor Michael Swenson, author of “Boom Start: Principles of Entrepreneurial Marketing.” “With technology, small businesses can offer customers the same professionalism and sophistication that once were only available to big business.”

Walter attributed much of his Swift training course’s success to the tech platform that made it all possible. Udemy helps to market courses on its website through a variety of means, including targeted emails, the tactic used to help raise awareness of Walter’s course.

“We got it to the right students at the right time,” said Rachel Byrd, Udemy’s marketing and communications manager.

The online learning marketplace offers more than 18,000 courses in a variety of topics and subjects, designed to help students and others develop important workplace skills.

Josh Bird, CEO of Jolt, is another BYU graduate who used technology to jumpstart his startup. Bird used IOS, database and server programming to create a platform called Jolt. The program is designed to help operations-intensive companies, such as fast-food joints, track the tasks completed by employees. Jolt is already being used by McDonald’s, Subway and Seven Peaks Waterpark, and Bird recently set up the product for Jolt’s newest client, Legoland.

The product has crossed international borders and has been put into use by companies in Canada, Europe, New Zealand and Australia, and Bird said he has big plans for the future. He hopes to see Jolt become the industry standard for operations, changing the business mindset to, “You can run a business without Jolt, but you would never want to.”

“Technology now gives businesses of every size an opportunity to successfully compete locally and globally,” Swenson said. “With technology, today’s customer may be around the corner or around the world.”


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