The Border Conversion Factor: “A First Step in Changing Career Directions”

Charlie Grier: "I thought it would be a useful tool to have for those living in the border regions and travelers abroad."

Charlie Grier: “I thought it would be a useful tool to have for those living in the border regions and travelers abroad.”

An expat living in Mexico who spends considerable time shopping on both sides of the border, Charlie Grier thought it was time someone created an app that converted currencies and units in one easy step.

So he did it himself.

“I discovered there weren’t any apps which combined currency conversion and unit conversion in a single step,” he said. “I thought it would be a useful tool to have for those living in the border regions and travelers abroad.”

Thus inspired, he created Border Converter – a direct result of taking the Mobile Applications Development program at UC San Diego Extension’s Digital Arts Center (DAC).

Because his wife is a career U.S. diplomat who’s currently assigned to Tijuana, Grier has been forced to make his own career adjustments along the way.

A few years ago, the couple was living in Washington D.C. Before that, it was Bolivia. Before that, Germany.

His master’s in geography (University of North Carolina, Charlotte) and past experience in urban and transportation planning didn’t transfer especially well to different countries and cultures.

So last year, twice weekly, Grier fought the border traffic to learn the latest in programming and design for mobile applications at Extension.

That’s when he came up with the idea of Border Converter for iPhones and iPads.  Grier recently released the app for sale in Apple’s App Store.

“Publishing my first app is a first step in changing career directions,” said Grier, who had limited computer programming experience before taking the courses. “I’d like to launch a free-lance career in app development, starting now and for wherever we go next.”

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