Nebraska Dev Lab September Update

Nebraska Dev Lab September Update

Latest Updates from Nebraska Dev Lab

When we began thinking about what would become the Nebraska Dev Lab Pipeline Program, we had one goal: create more software developers in Nebraska. But as time went on and we took a hard look at the state of the industry, we realized that we could also make an impact by helping to create a more diverse talent pool.

We completed our first cohort earlier this year. This was our first small step in creating more developers here in Nebraska. One of the things we were most proud of was our cohort’s diversity, with half the participants being female and three participants being from underrepresented groups.

As interest spread in the Pipeline Program and the other educational programs provided by Don’t Panic Labs (something we’ve been doing for several years), companies began reaching out to us about retraining some of their existing teams. One of these conversations led to an opportunity where existing RPG and COBOL developers were retrained to become modern full-stack developers. This required a slightly different approach as we were starting with participants that already had experience in programming. These participants just needed to be shown how modern technology stacks should be approached. This lined up well with the second stage of the Pipeline Program, so we were able to get this new program up and running fairly quickly.

Continuing conversations in our community uncovered yet another need: training employees from various other educational organizations to help them quickly become high-performing members of their respective teams. This lined up well with later stages of the Pipeline Program, so we were again in a position to get this program started quickly.

It quickly became apparent that what we originally intended for the Pipeline Program could meet the wide range of needs for organizations and participants, just with later “on-ramps” to our established curriculum.

Here is how we see the Nebraska Dev Lab set of programs today.

Tier 1 – Novice
This tier provides the basics of programming. This is the beginning of our Pipeline Program, which is intended for individuals with no programming experience.

Tier 2 – Programmer
The second tier assumes basic programming knowledge but not necessarily experience in modern software development techniques. Here is where participants put into practice what they learned in Tier 1 or what they have gathered through previous experience and emerge as full-stack programmers. During this stage, participants will spend five hours a week at their sponsor as part of a practicum with their mentor.

Tier 3 – Emerging Developer
Here is where participants jump into the team aspect of software development. Participants will work in groups as they build an actual software project. They will finish the tier as an emerging full-stack developer. During this stage, they will spend ten hours a week at their sponsor as part of an apprenticeship with their mentor.

Tier 4 – Developer
The final tier answers many questions the participants may be asking about how to best structure the systems they created during Tier 3. They will emerge as a full-stack developer. During this stage, they will spend twenty hours a week at their sponsor as part of an apprenticeship with their mentor.

Sometimes our industry’s terminology varies and can lead to some confusion. Two examples are “developer” and “programmer”. 

When we talk about entry-level programmers, we mean individuals skilled in creating coding artifacts and who can follow established patterns but require supervision and oversight. Entry-level developers are skilled in the tools and techniques for designing and building software, and they can analyze, design, develop, and test their software with some oversight.

These additions to the Nebraska Dev Lab will allow us to provide organizations more opportunities for all developers to work effectively in one cohort. Each tier is five weeks long, so the entire program takes 10-20 weeks depending on where participants start. In addition, they will be spending time back at the sponsor after five weeks and will be productive back at the sponsor after ten weeks.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, email

In Case You Missed It: Don’t Panic Labs is Moving!

Software development and engineering company Don’t Panic Labs is relocating to a new location in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska. The company will be located at 1317 Q Street Suite 150 beginning Monday, October 4th.

The move stems from a desire to improve how they serve their partners and better meet the team’s needs as the company’s growth continues to surpass projections.

This also marks a move for Nebraska Global, the parent company of Don’t Panic Labs.

“We’ve been in the Haymarket since 2010, back when the tech presence was essentially us, Hudl, and MacPractice. And we’ve witnessed a lot of growth since then,” said Doug Durham, CEO and co-founder of Don’t Panic Labs. “We learned quite a bit over the past year about how we can work with our partners more efficiently. Lincoln is our home, and we’re dedicated to the downtown area. We’re excited for the flexibility and opportunities this new location provides our partners and our team.”

The new location moves Don’t Panic Labs closer to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and students in Computer Science and Engineering programs.

“Don’t Panic Labs has hosted numerous university interns over the past decade, so being closer to the students is a huge plus,” said Bill Udell, COO of Don’t Panic Labs. “We look forward to how our new location will strengthen our collaboration with UNL.”

The company is planning a ribbon cutting and open house for a later date.

Now Available: Lean Software Systems Engineering for Developers

Regardless of company size, developers today face many of the same challenges: the problems are more complex than ever, seemingly countless options for system requirements, and less time to get it all done.

That’s why, since last summer, Doug Durham and Chad Michel have been formally putting down in print what they have been living out (and teaching) for years. And now, the fruits of their labors will be available to the world.

Their first book, Lean Software Systems Engineering for Developers: Managing Requirements, Complexity, Teams, and Change Like a Champ, is published by Apress, a leading publisher of books for developers, IT professionals, and tech communities worldwide.

Based on their years of software systems development, the book shows readers how to approach system development like a software engineer by giving them an understanding of how to view the entire spectrum of the software development process through meaningful examples, case studies, and sample source code.

The book is now available directly from Apress and also at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your favorite bookseller.

Now Seeking Sponsor Organizations for 2021 Cohort

Nebraska Dev Lab is now accepting applications from sponsor organizations for our next cohort.

Organizations interested in sponsoring participants should email to learn more about this opportunity.

More information can be found at