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.
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: women in tech
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.
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.
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).
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.]