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Neumont University was founded in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2003, to fill the growing national demand for industry-ready technology professionals by offering an accredited bachelor’s degree in three years that immerses students in a rigorous, project-based curriculum. This blog serves as a platform to publish and share, news, reviews, and stories from Utah's best kept tech secret. 

Alumni Spotlight: Jonathon "Tree" Michael, Software Engineer at REI Systems

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Neumont University's official blogs shares the stories of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff to illustrate the Neumont experience. 

 

Alumni Spotlight: Jonathon "Tree" Michael, Software Engineer at REI Systems

Krista Smith

Jonathon earned the nickname “Tree” because of his height, but he has made a name for himself for different reasons at REI Systems. His current duties include supporting two teams throughout the year with new development and maintenance of an enterprise solution.

“That's just a fancy way of saying I maintain a website for a company that happens to be the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS),” he says. "Maintaining the site consists of fixing new and old bugs while introducing new functionalities in tandem, so communication with all parties involved is important.”

Like many students, Tree chose a computer science education from Neumont University for the accelerated program.

“Going to school year-round highlighted the work ethic needed in order to survive in the industry,” he says. “There are no summer breaks and short timelines.” 

We got a chance to hear a bit more from Jonathan about his experience at Neumont and in the field.

NU: What is your best Neumont memory?

JTM: It is hard to pick out one specific memory, but a few things that come to mind are the memories of struggle and overcoming the mental rigors of the course. I remember the staff that helped us through the rough moments when second thoughts lie in the back of our heads. And friendships that will last my lifetime.

NU: How did Neumont prepare you for your current role?

JTM: The career path of the computer science major is vastly broad and requires a passion to learn in order to stay current. Neumont helps by teaching students to disseminate information through critical thinking and curiosity. Neumont fosters an environment that is conducive for learning making absorbing all the knowledge easier.

The hands-on approach is beneficial since the majority of our jobs include coding. I have a friend who is attending a well-known university who is also pursuing computer science, but has hardly written any programs. Writing code is half of our jobs; therefore we must do it well.

Also Enterprise Projects – having insight into what positions are available is helpful for choosing where in the industry you want to work.

NU: Now that you’re in the industry, what do you think the industry is lacking?

JTM: There are several things that are missing from the computer science industry.

1. Best practices and adhering to standards. Neumont does a fantastic job in this area. When working in a group and dealing with other people's code, using best practices and standards is critical for the projects success.

2. A drive to add value to the project. Taking responsibility for the product and ensuring that everything is complete and then a little more.

3. More women. You might laugh at this one, but women approach solving problems differently. It is unfortunate that our field is dominated by men, but the more we advocate for diversity, the more diverse we will become.

NU: Any words of wisdom for current and prospective students?

JTM: Be diligent with the little things. I personally believe anyone can learn how to code and become a computer scientist. However, doing so requires a drive to push your knowledge to the limit and farther.

I recommend Neumont to prospective students looking for careers in computer science. I believe Neumont provides a good structure for teaching students how to think critically and solve problems: the root of all programming.

NU: What’s a tech trend you’re interested in and why?

JTM: 3D Printing is just amazing. We are really close to being able to print working organs.

Another tech that is interesting is self-driving cars. The idea that a driver is no longer required for a vehicle is going to be life changing for everyone.

NU: Since according to Stan Lee, Salt Lake boasts the best Comic Con in the world, if you had one super power what would you want it to be?

JTM: This is a tough one. I'd want the power to fly. I would be able to travel the world on a whim and never sit in traffic.

[This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.]