Nebraska Dev Lab Monthly Update – July

Nebraska Dev Lab Monthly Update – July

Nebraska Dev Lab is an exciting program that moves pretty fast. June wrapped up with us in the middle of the software engineering portion of the program. This month, we finished out that portion, and the cohort is preparing to begin work on their capstone project.

Along the way, we have stressed the importance of proper techniques for writing real software, not simple sorting algorithms. During the first week of July, students put into practice the skills they learned while simultaneously getting some exposure to the technology they will need when they begin work on their capstone project.

The participants were then given a well-earned week off. They were pushed pretty hard that previous week, so a break was a welcome breather (not to mention that not seeing Doug, Alec, and Chad on a Zoom call for a week would help anyone’s mental state).

We are ending July by starting the capstone project. The capstone project is the culmination of what we have taught during the first two stages of the program. For this project, the participants are building a new mobile application for the Nebraska Suicide Prevention Coalition. This application is a real application that will be used by students across Nebraska. It’s goal: to help provide improved mental health and prevent suicide in teens and young adults. This is an excellent opportunity to do some real software development and give back to the community at the same time.

Participant Spotlight: Jamie Cajka

This month, we are highlighting NRC Health employee Jamie Cajka.

Why did you sign up for the Pipeline Program?

I wanted to get into programming. I went to a boot camp in Boston a few years ago; it was ten weeks at home and ten weeks on site working as a cohort. When I finished the program and came home, I wasn’t able to get a job in programming When my company offered the opportunity to apply to this program, it seemed like the perfect way for me to finally get into the field.

What was your level of familiarity with software development prior to starting the program?

The previous program I participated in focused on Ruby and JavaScript. I also was working with SQL and other databases at work before starting the program.

What have you enjoyed about the program so far?

Being able to work with a group and learn together. It’s so much easier to learn when others are learning too. Because of the pandemic and our transition to remote learning, I really miss being in the office where we could all bounce ideas off each other.

What about the program has challenged or surprised you the most so far?

C# and Visual Studio.

Looking ahead to after you’ve completed the program, what most excites you about being able to use the skills and knowledge you’ve gained through the program?

At this point, I’ve been trying to become a programmer for over three years. I’m excited to actually be able to finally work as a software engineer. I also look forward to helping the members of future cohorts any way that I can.

Can you list a few things you would recommend to someone applying to a future Dev Lab cohort?

Everyone struggles at some point, don’t let it get to you.

Maybe do some free courses online to see if you like coding; I had some friends that thought about applying but didn’t because they weren’t sure if they’d like it. Doing some of the free classes are a good way to see if this is something you would enjoy doing long-term.

Talk to someone in the field. I know a lot of people think that the day ends at 5 pm, but in this field you need to be prepared to be on call or to work long hours if something goes wrong.