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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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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: technology

Neumont Commencement Address Looks to Tech Future in Utah and Beyond

Neumont College of Computer Science

Neumont College of Computer Science honored graduates at the 2018 Commencement Ceremony on Friday, August 31 at The Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City. John Knotwell, CEO and president of the Utah Technology Council, provided the keynote address. Neumont President Aaron Reed, Ed.D. also spoke briefly. You can watch the full ceremony at the YouTube link below. 

Knotwell, a 12-year veteran in Utah's growing tech community spoke of the value of listening, sharing that, "…true listening shows that you value those people around you. It shows that you are invested in them as people, and that you, as a colleague, coworker, boss, or friend, want them to succeed. And a world where we all wish one another success is the only way to find success ourselves. It's how we build each other up, how we build up our organizations, how we have faith in the future."

Valedictorian Mary Shultz (Computer Science) and Salutatorians Ben Goff (Computer Science) and Justin Furtado (Software & Game Development) stand to receive their diplomas. 

Valedictorian Mary Shultz (Computer Science) and Salutatorians Ben Goff (Computer Science) and Justin Furtado (Software & Game Development) stand to receive their diplomas. 

Making a plug for Utah's tech future as well, Knotwell shared, "We have over 6,500 tech firms in Utah. We are the fastest growing in the country, adding job after job after job to every listing site that has ever existed," noting that, "There will never be a moment where opportunity is not calling you. The only real impact that you can make, in your career or in your life, is your choice," and invited Neumont graduates to stay local.

Bashaa'ir Abdul-Qasim's (Information Systems) family greets the graduate during a reception after the ceremony. 

Bashaa'ir Abdul-Qasim's (Information Systems) family greets the graduate during a reception after the ceremony. 

"Make the choice to stay," he implored. "Make this community your home. Explore opportunities and the mountains. Invest your time here finding the balance that we all want in work and in life."

After noting three key life lessons gleaned from his time in tech and higher education, Dr. Reed closed his remarks reminding graduates, "Today was the day you joined an elite tech workforce --  the one-and-a-half percent that are chiefly responsible for the future of America's economy and national security," referencing remarks earlier where he noted that while 30 percent of Americans have bachelors degrees, only 3 percent of all awarded degrees go to computer science, and only 1.5 percent of people in the United States work in computer science.

2018 Commencement Ceremony Keynote Speaker John Knotwell, Utah Technology Council president and CEO, reminds graduates that the best way to find success is to help others. 

2018 Commencement Ceremony Keynote Speaker John Knotwell, Utah Technology Council president and CEO, reminds graduates that the best way to find success is to help others. 

But "even more exclusively than that," Reed said, "remember that today is the day you joined a growing army of tech giants that are part of a family of Neumont alumni."

Neumont Capstone Projects: Sports Data Analytics by Josh Little

Neumont College of Computer Science

Each quarter, students across all five bachelor's degree programs at Neumont College of Computer Science present their Capstone Project. This penultimate project demonstrates each student's ability to conceive, plan, develop, and present a technology-focused project in only 10 weeks. 

This week we're featuring Bachelor of Science in Business Operations and Technology Management Senior Josh Little for his project that brought together his passion for sports and his aptitude for technology as he developed a cloud-based data warehouse for data analytics using public data from the NFL. 

Student Josh Little at Neumont's 2015 Annual Fall Foam Massive at Library Square. 

Student Josh Little at Neumont's 2015 Annual Fall Foam Massive at Library Square. 

A Las Vegas, Nevada native, Josh came to Neumont after working for a few years and recognizing that he wanted a more stable career path. Josh plays ultimate Frisbee, manages a gaming channel, and runs a fantasy football league in addition to being an avid fan of football and hockey. 

After majoring in Technology Management, Josh settled on expanding his skills in data analytics through Capstone to show high-level football organizations the value of his skills and data management.

"This project serves a need rather than solving a problem by providing a way to store, operate, and visualize massive amounts of data in a way that makes sense and is usable," said Josh describing the purpose of his project. 

Developing a project, Josh would be proud to put his name on was a challenge to find a way to bring together sports and technology. He said, "I decided to create something that would marry my aptitude for technology with my passion for sports and carve out my own little niche in the tech world."

One of the most challenging aspects of any Capstone Project (especially one like this) is solving problems without any direction. Josh created his own system of self-evaluation to determine the best solution to problems he faced. 

Josh Little (back, middle) helped mentor first-year students during his sophomore year at Neumont as a Peer Leader. 

Josh Little (back, middle) helped mentor first-year students during his sophomore year at Neumont as a Peer Leader. 

He also found it rewarding to create a project he was deeply passionate about. "First and foremost, I felt good about myself even when I didn't know where I was going during this project," he said. The project ultimately opened up new opportunities for Josh and he is now completing an Enterprise Project with University of Utah Football Director of Sports Science Ernest Rimer.

"I have a skill set that I’ve been honing and still have room to grow; I have an ability to self-motivate and self-direct; and I have an Enterprise project to work on that I feel incredibly passionate about and excited for," said Josh when asked about his senior year. 

Josh thanks his dad, Ken Little for helping him find the courage to persevere and continue his education in technology despite worries that there may not be a place for a sports guy in tech. Ken helped Josh evaluate his passions and chase those goals regardless of his degree. "Time has proven him right," he said. "It turns out there will always be room for me in places that I am willing to make it." 

 

Neumont Capstone Projects: Publish.ME by Morgan Smith

Neumont College of Computer Science

Each quarter, students across all five bachelor's degree programs at Neumont College of Computer Science present their Capstone Project. This penultimate project demonstrates each student's ability to conceive, plan, develop, and present a technology-focused project in only 10 weeks. 

Over the next few weeks, we'll be highlighting some outstanding projects from seniors currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Business Operations and Technology Management degree. This program focuses on teaching grads how to connect developers and business leaders.

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Morgan Smith developed a project called "Publish.ME." This web platform aims to remove the bottleneck publishers face when looking for new authors while providing an open platform for writers to gain exposure for their work. 

"Primarily, Publish.ME is solving the greatest barrier to entry for new authors to gain traction in the industry," said Morgan. "It's empowering the writers of the world and eliminating luck from the publishing equation via technology."

Senior BSTM student Morgan Smith presents his startup, Publish.ME, to his peers and faculty for his Capstone Project presentation.

Senior BSTM student Morgan Smith presents his startup, Publish.ME, to his peers and faculty for his Capstone Project presentation.

Previously, Morgan's tech startup won $1,000 in seed money through Get Seeded. He started work on the project in his Project Management in Practice course. Over the next year, he continued to develop the idea in his free time and as part of coursework for other classes. 

Morgan found inspiration from his own love of writing to create a platform where more writers could be published. "As far back as I have memories of anything, I remember creating some sort of art. Eventually I decided that writing would be my primary focus as an artist," said Morgan as he explains his passion for the project. "But at one point, I had a professional writer look me in the eyes and say, 'It's literally a game of chance. I got lucky.' Something snapped in my brain, and I decided I would change the billion-dollar industry that somehow ran on luck."

The high-level business model and workflow for Publish.ME, which engages readers, writers, and publishers to create more written works. 

The high-level business model and workflow for Publish.ME, which engages readers, writers, and publishers to create more written works. 

Once Morgan recognized the bottleneck created by the "slush pile," which is an over saturation of content from aspiring writers, he knew he could use technology to innovate the publishing process. 

He is currently continuing  production on the project and plans to launch the initial software in July 2018. 

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.

Why choose Neumont?

Neumont University

Neumont College of Computer Science isn't like most other colleges and universities. And, we're okay with that. 

At our campus in downtown Salt Lake City, students learn in small, hands-on, project-based classes where they complete projects modeled after the tech industry. Students demonstrate what they've learned at our tech science fair Project Showcase. Then after two years of intense learning, they prove themselves to their peers and faculty through Capstone Projects. Finally, they work with real companies on meaningful projects during their senior year gaining relevant and practical experience prior to graduation. 

When you graduate in only 3 years with a bachelor's degree in technology, you'll have the skills and the experience you need to launch your tech career. Learn more about Neumont's unique curriculum by watching this video

Emerson Shaffer's Capstone Project Shatters Expectations

Neumont University

BSGD student Emerson Shaffer created an algorithm using C#, Unity 3D Engine, and Unity Profile that allows convex shapes to break differently each time during game play. He was inspired to write the algorithm for his Capstone Project after noticing that objects always broke the same way in some of his favorite video games. 

He found that small detail annoying and knew there was a way to fix it, so that the expansive universes of games could have one more realistic detail in them. 

The project won the alumni award at Neumont University's Capstone Project Invitational. And Emerson has continued to show great promise as a game development student. We're excited to see what he accomplishes when he graduates this fall. 

He says, "While homework helps me learn the material, Capsonte helped me learn to be confident in myself and my capabilities." Neumont University's problem- and project-based curriculum means students are actually coding from their first day in class.

Learn more about Neumont University's software and game development degrees. 

Industry Spotlight: Amy Dredge, Pluralsight Software Craftsman and Tech Lead

Neumont University

Career Week is in full-swing at Neumont University! We're profiling Enterprise Partners (past, present, and future) to help highlight how our hands-on education gives students the experience they need to launch their careers. Pluralsight is a global leader in online learning for technology professionals an one of Neumont’s Enterprise Partners. 

Recently, we caught up with Pluralsight's Amy Dredge to get some feedback on what she’s seeing in the industry from her vantage point as a Pluralsight employee, a woman in tech, and passionate computer scientist.  

Amy stepped into college without having written a single line of code, but after seeing her first application run, she quickly fell in love with writing software. In 2011 at 20 years old, she graduated magna cum laude from Utah State University with a bachelor's degree in computer science.

Since then, she has worked as a software craftsman, learning and improving her skills. She is currently technical lead on the learner experience team at Pluralsight. Her passions include TDD, pair programming, lean process, and continually improving herself and her workplace. Watching Pluralsight grow and thrive over the last three years of employment has been challenging and rewarding, she says.

On a side note, Amy’s personal hobbies include running, learning new things, and spending time with her husband and son.

Amy Dredge

NU: Tell us about your work, as well as what your company does:

AD: Pluralsight is a global leader in online learning for technology professionals. We provide instant access to more than 4,500 courses authored by top industry experts and serve as a career catalyst, delivering hands-on, practical training for the most in-demand and understaffed jobs of today.

I am a Software Craftsman with the additional role of Tech Lead at Pluralsight. My responsibilities as a Software Craftsman include writing new and maintaining existing code for the learning experience on pluralsight.com. Software Craftsmen at Pluralsight also participate in the process of discovering what our customers want. We speak to real customers, and we help decide how to best build what our customers need.    

My responsibilities as a Tech Lead include working as a partner with the Product Manager on our team to make sure we’re building experiences our customers will love that are also technologically sound, which is a critical component in reliably providing a great user experience.

NU: What industry trend or practice are you currently interested/passionate about?

AD: Lately, I find myself gravitating toward lean and the focus on flow efficiency. I like the focus on delivering small amounts of work frequently; I believe it enables meeting customer needs more quickly and more precisely. I also enjoy the emphasis on paying attention to the system at large, rather than exclusively concentrating on my immediate area. And lastly, focusing on continuous improvement allows us to do just that – improve. I believe striving toward lean principles results in better quality, faster delivery and a more enjoyable work environment.

NU: In your opinion, what are most tech employers looking for?

AD: I think there are three things tech employers look for in an employee: culture fit, love of learning, and skills.

I believe culture is often a big consideration when hiring, if not the most important. Most employers realize that some skills may need to be taught on the job, but other things—like attitudes and beliefs that make up a culture—are more difficult to teach. Hiring someone who doesn’t fit the company’s culture can cause a lot of disruption.

After culture, tech employers like to see someone who loves learning. Learning is so important in an industry that changes so rapidly. Having the right skill set and experience for the job is important, but being able and eager to learn new skills is more valuable in the long term.

NU: What are your thoughts on project-based learning vs. a more traditional theoretical approach to education?

AD: Academic standards are changing, particularly in technology. I earned a bachelor’s in computer science, and after entering the industry, I quickly learned that many people without degrees know a lot more than I do and contribute at the same level as those with degrees. With regard to the technology industry, I think something that is more valuable than a degree or certification is the ability and desire to learn. With that, I think project-based learning works better for some people. Getting hands-on experience early on is a great way to understand if technology is your career field of choice. Doing mini-projects has been a great tool for me when learning a new technology, but it’s not my only approach to learning.

 NU: How do we solve the issue of getting more women in tech?

AD: There are a number of things that can be done to get more women to enter the tech industry. One thing is to provide them with early exposure to the different fields of technology. I’ve seen more and more of this happening over the last few years, but I think that the efforts can be furthered. What I mean by exposure are things like hands-on coding at a young age, whether in the classroom or out. Exposure could also include hearing from women in the industry and having more women prominent as role models. Additionally, it would be great if this group of role models consisted of women with varying levels of expertise and experience. Individually and collectively, these role models could connect and encourage women who are at different stages of their tech career paths.

I think this also relates to the previous question. I believe that as we move away from the traditional classroom model of learning that more women will find it easier to engage in the industry. I could be wrong, but I think the stigma around technology being a male-dominant field makes it intimidating for women to get involved – particularly in the classroom.

NU: What is your five-year prediction for the industry? 

AD: I hope to see more women in tech five years from now. While there are on-going efforts to get more women involved, I think there will be even more of an emphasis on this in the future. All the efforts may not come to full fruition within the next five years, but I think we’ll see a slow upward trend in women’s participation in tech.

I also hope to see the tech education space evolve a lot over the next five years. At the beginning of 2015, Aaron Skonnard, CEO of Pluralsight, wrote an article in Inc. Magazine about the 5 Top Trends in Education Technology. They are all closely related: online corporate learning, skills measurement, alternative learning styles, online competency-based training, and flipped-learning tech. To me, these trends all seem to serve one goal: to make online technology education a sufficient—as well a more widely accepted and recognized—means of learning technical skills. I think Aaron’s words are informed and accurate, as I’ve seen more focus on these things.

Students are invited to learn more about Pluralsight and their tools for online learning at a training on campus on Wednesday, May 18 at 12 p.m. Please contact Tom Beatty with any questions. 

Career Week continues all this week with Tech Talks from Industry and Enterprise Partners at 12 p.m. in Room 323. Companies will also be on campus all week interviewing students for open positions. For the complete Tech Talk schedule, follow our Facebook page. 

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.