By BILL ZAN
GradeCheck is an Aeries Student Information System client for users within Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) and Tustin Unified School District (TUSD). In addition, Albany Unified School District (AUSD) support is currently in beta. The app allows users to check grades, standardized test scores, and class schedules without the hassle of logging into the web portal every time.
University High School (UHS) student Alex Chang (Sr.) released the app onto Apple’s App Store on March 2, 2013. The app now has over 22,000 downloads. Since its release, the app has received rave reviews from students. Jerin Tomy (Sr.) said, “It’s probably my most used app and Alex is really good about fixing bugs and improving.” Tyler Doan (Sr.) agreed, and said, “It’s really convenient, especially for Uni students.”
Sword & Shield interviewed Chang to learn more about his app.
S&S: What inspired you to make GradeCheck?
Chang: I actually don’t remember exactly what inspired me to make GradeCheck, but a lot of the motivation I had was because ABI was so unwieldy and I wanted to see if I could somehow better the experience.
S&S: How do you feel about the widespread popularity of the app?
Chang: I was not expecting it to be widely used. I made GradeCheck to see if it was possible; I never thought that it so many people would use it.
S&S: How was the experience of working on the app? Did you run into any issues?
Chang: Well, I managed to hammer out the first version of the app one day during finals week as a freshman, so I guess I didn’t have too much trouble with it at first. The hardest part about maintaining GradeCheck was making sure it worked. This was a problem for me because I don’t check my grades on a regular basis so I couldn’t really test the service daily; but it was really bad when IUSD and TUSD upgraded to Aeries 5, which required me to rewrite most of the code I used before.
S&S: Did UHS’s computer science class help you make the app?
Chang: Nope. I made GradeCheck before taking AP Computer Science, but I would definitely recommend taking AP Comp Sci to anyone who’s planning on programming for fun or as a career.
S&S: Is there anything new in the works for the app?
Chang: Yes! I’m currently working on a huge update for GradeCheck that includes an interface overhaul and push notifications (hang tight, guys!). There are a few other things that I’m planning on adding in but I’ll keep that secret for now.
S&S: Do you have any advice for aspiring app makers?
Chang: If you don’t succeed, keep trying. Programming gets tough sometimes and you just have to keep pushing yourself or else you’re never going to get anything done. Also, Google is your friend. Though that last piece of advice is probably applicable to almost everything.
Chang serves on our current Associated Student Body as the Technology Commissioner, a fitting job for his abilities. This past June, he placed 10th in the nation in the Computer Problem Solving event at the Future Business Leaders of America competition in Nashville, Tennessee. He is also currently working on a new project, which can be found on his website, iamalexchang.com.