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Neumont College of Computer Science was founded in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2003, to fill the growing national demand for industry-ready technology professionals by offering 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. 

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Blog

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

 

Filtering by Tag: Alumni

Neumont Featured on KUTV's "Fresh Living"

Neumont College of Computer Science

Check out the clip from "Fresh Living" with President Aaron Reed, Ed.D., Director of Corporate Relations Britta Nelson, and recent graduate Sophie Wargo. They share their insights about the value of a computer science degree in today's economy.

Capstone Project Invitational Winners "Homestead" and "Ivory"

Neumont University

Neumont College of Computer Science is pleased to announce the 2018 winners of its annual Capstone Project Invitational event are “Homestead” and “Ivory.”

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“Homestead” by Ryan Stead received the Alumni Choice Award. The judging panel noted the project’s technical depth and potential in the marketplace as reasons for choosing it. The project is a virtual reality interior design tool that allows users to explore different colors, lighting, furniture, décor and more before redesigning their space. The computer science student moved to Salt Lake City from Gloversville, New York to attend Neumont.

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“Ivory” by Benjamin Goff was given the Industry Partner Choice Award for its technical depth and potential for success. The project is a piano tutorial that aims to help users teach themselves to play the piano. The user interface uses MIDI music files and a virtual keyboard to allow anyone with a USB or Bluetooth enabled keyboard to learn. Goff, who is originally from Rexburg, Idaho, is a senior majoring in computer science at Neumont.

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“There was some tough competition,” said Director of Academics Jeremiah Harrison. “All of these projects were amazing, we’re so proud of all of our students. These students today really went above and beyond to show what they can do.” Harrison hosted the event on Friday, January 12 at the Salt Lake City Public Library. A livestream of the event is available on Neumont’s Facebook page.

Other projects presented at the event included:

  • “3D Mesh Generator” by Justin Furtado: This tool allows game developers and designers to quickly create varied models by altering small details automatically.
  • “Angela’s Bakery” by Sophie Wargo: A custom website that allows a user to place an order for a cake using a 3D visualization tool.
  • “MCraft Tutorials” by Baret Woods: A website where users can create, share and show off the things they create in Minecraft.
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Capstone Projects are 10-week projects students design and develop on their own to show they’re ready to tackle the challenges of their senior year. Each year, five students with the best projects as determined by faculty are invited to demonstrate their work to a judging panel of alumni and tech industry partners.

Neumont is unparalleled in its approach to academics— uniting business, technology, and creativity to educate tomorrow’s tech elite. With a focus on project-based learning, students are immersed in a tech environment from day one to earn a degree in technology that will help launch their careers. Learn more about Neumont at www.neumont.edu.

Alumni Spotlight: Matthew Fajardo, Software Developer at Kern River Gas

Neumont University

Matthew Fajardo doesn’t need the fluff. When he puts his mind to something, it gets done. When he transferred from private school to public school in high school, he soon discovered that pushing hard at the beginning of the week, meant time to relax before the weekend hit.

Matthew also likes computers. In fact long before he graduated from high school, he knew he wanted a career in computer science. And what’s more, he wanted to get working in the field as soon as possible.

Matthew wanted a school that gave him access to both computer science and a career. That's why when Matthew and his father, Mark Fajardo, heard about Neumont University, they knew it was the right fit – even though it meant Matthew would be relocating more than 600 miles from home.

“Neumont was a good fit because I like to get through things fast,” Matthew, a recent Neumont graduate explained. And by fast, he means less than three years it took him to complete his bachelor's degree in computer science. “I could skip what I didn’t need,” he said.

Like most Neumont students, Fajardo discovered a place where his degree contained exactly what he needed to launch his career post-graduation – he is a software developer at Kern River Gas Transmission in Cottonwood Heights, Utah.

By attending classes year-round, Neumont’s unique and intense approach to education means students focus on what’s most valuable for a career in the tech industry. 97% of Neumont graduates are employed within six months of graduation, and accept an average starting salary of $63,000 per year.*

But the program is not for the faint-of-heart. Where Matthew could get by in high school with a single day of hard work (and ‘coasting’ for six). “At Neumont, you have to do the work every day,” he says. “You get out of it what you put into it.”

And it’s more than time that you’re putting in. While the cost of any education is expensive, Mark says Neumont is worth it.

"It’s an investment, but worth every penny. Neumont was a life-changing experience for my son," says Mark. "The entire Neumont experience was wonderful.”

From the financial aid staff to the advocates to the admissions officers, Mark was especially thankful for the time and attention Neumont gave him and  his son. 

“They encouraged us to ask questions and were very informative with the parents," says Mark. "Any time they were making any changes they informed us ahead of time, and any time I called they would get back with me right away.”

For parents wondering if Neumont could be the right fit for their computer science-minded son or daughter, Mark says “I recommend it to all my nieces and nephews.”

And his son Matthew, has some words of advice for future students, “Don’t get sucked up in video games.”

Learn more about Neumont University's successful alumni at www.neumont.edu/alumni.  

*Employment and salary statistics are calculated using data from the 2011-2014 Neumont University graduates. Neumont verifies employment and first-year compensation by employers in writing. Neumont does not guarantee employment or first-year compensation for future graduates. 

Erasmo Flores: Project Manager at HPE

Neumont University

For most Neumont University students, earning their degree means launching their career in technology. But for Erasmo Flores, it was a different story. He had already held C-level positions at various companies in Mexico and was looking for a degree to help him understand the technology he was managing. When he found Neumont, he enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program.  At Neumont,  Erasmo found much more than credentials. He discovered a new way of looking at and learning technologies that made him an even more attractive candidate for leadership in the tech sector.
 
Now he travels the world working for HP Enterprises (one of two publicly listed, Fortune 500 companies created from a split of the original Hewlett-Packard) and has some great insight for current and prospective students.

Helping students launch their tech careers

Neumont College of Computer Science

It's unusual for a university to brag about their students getting jobs immediately after college. But at Neumont University, it's a core focus for our staff and faculty. We work with tech companies to develop a curriculum that will teach our students the technical and interpersonal skills they will need to succeed in a professional environment. That means from day one, we're working with ever student to launch their career in technology. The experience culminates for students with Enterprise Projects in their final year when they work with companies on real projects. 

Chief Academic Officer Aaron Reed explains the role he plays in bringing together students, faculty, and staff with industry partners to help our grads get great jobs. 

Alumni Spotlight: Salt Lake-native Kevin Teynor on his Career at React Games

Neumont College of Computer Science

It’s no secret that at Neumont University, we love celebrating our alumni’s successes. So when we had the chance to chat with Kevin Teynor, game programmer at React Games, we jumped at the opportunity. Kevin graduated in the first Bachelor of Science Game Development cohort in 2014 and recently served as an alumni judge at CPI (Capstone Project Invitational).

Kevin (center) and other alums judge current student projects at the 2015 December Capstone Project Invitational. 

Kevin (center) and other alums judge current student projects at the 2015 December Capstone Project Invitational. 

He has been at React Games for just over a year, and says one of the benefits of working for a small studio is that “all the programmers get a chance to work on various things.”

While a typical workday consists of coding, testing and reiterating, the development process at React is highly collaborative. He says, “Even though I'm an engineer, I still have some influence on the overall design which is really cool.”

Like a lot of locals, Kevin loves to ski. He also enjoys going to movies, and --no surprise here for a BSGD grad-- playing video games. Below are his answers to a few questions about his current work and where life has taken him since graduating from Neumont University.

NU: What’s your best Neumont University memory?

KT: I don't know that I could pick out a single memory that was the best. Just working on all the different game projects was a lot of fun. Winning project showcase with one of them, 3D Geometry Wars, was pretty cool.

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

KT: In my (limited) experience, the biggest thing I see is a lack of diversity. Too many people with too similar views, backgrounds, and ideas is a huge limiter on what we can even think to make.

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

KT: Outside of the actual education, Neumont's accelerated schedules and at times overwhelming workload was a great way to grow acclimated to how the actual industry is. Learning how to manage tough deadlines is as important as any of the technical skills.

NU: Any words of wisdom for current (or prospective) Neumont students?

KT: Stay motivated. It's a lot of work, but it's incredibly rewarding when it's something you're passionate about. Don't burn yourself out by not taking breaks or doing something fun. Also, if you're not so good at it already, learn how to ask for help. This goes for both technical and personal problems. If you're having trouble with anything the best thing you can do is get advice or at least another perspective.

NU: You are working in a field that is predominantly male. Any specific thoughts on women and STEM or what the industry can do to attract more talented women?

KT: I think it's a shame that there aren't more women in the game industry, and I think the biggest reason for it is the whole "boy's club" mentality that idealizes the exclusivity of the existing culture. It's the biggest thing that I think needs to change before more women will be attracted to the industry; and it's the responsibility of the entire gaming community--not just the developers--to make it happen.

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

KT: All the new virtual and augmented reality tech looks really cool and interesting, and I can't wait to see what sort of games will be made around the hardware. The possibilities are virtually endless. I'm willing to bet entire new genres will emerge.

NU: With Salt Lake City deemed the world’s best Comic Con, if you had one super power what would you want it to be?

KT: I'm too indecisive to choose one; I imagine I could have fun with pretty much any super power. If I had to choose, it would probably be the ability to fly.

[This interview has been edited for clarity and content length.]

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

Neumont College of Computer Science

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.]

Alumni Panel 2015

Neumont College of Computer Science

We always love when our alumni stop by to visit. And on November 3, 2015, we were lucky enough to have four graduates from the Class of 2014 join us for a panel discussion. Watch the video for their insight and advice into life after college. 

From left to right, you'll hear from Aaron Martinez (Rakuten Marketing), Sam Fisher (inContact), Ryan Adams (React Games), and Zach Hunt (Performance Systems International). They each graduated from a different degree program and have different jobs in technology. 

Alumni Spotlight: Anthony Corbin, Software Developer at Google

Neumont College of Computer Science

Ninety-seven percent of Neumont University graduates are employed in their chosen field within six months of graduation, and they average a starting salary of $63,000.* We have the data to prove it, and it’s not a statistic we shy away from. But what the numbers can’t express are the unique stories of those individual alumni. Before Anthony Corbin (Class of 2015) even graduated, both Google and SONY Santa Monica Studios were knocking on his door with lucrative offers.

We sat down with Anthony to hear about his decision, his experience with project-based learning, and Neumont’s role in his road to Google. 

*Employment and salary statistics are calculated using data from the 2011-2014 Neumont University graduates. Neumont verifies employment and first-year compensation by employers in writing. Neumont does not guarantee employment or first-year compensation for future graduates.