Cracking the Code to Online Learning
When voice recognition software was first engineered — by a group of men — many noted the technology had a harder time processing female voices. Katie DeAngelis ’11 says stories like these always made her think software engineers and developers were people like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.
“Representation matters,” says DeAngelis. That’s why she was excited to find an inclusive culture upon enrolling in the UNH Professional Development and Training (PD&T) Coding Boot Camp with a career change in mind.
DeAngelis earned her undergraduate degree in anthropology with a minor in justice studies. After graduation, she took a job with MEDITECH, traveling around the U.S. and Canada to help implement information systems in the emergency departments of hospitals. Later, she moved to Exeter Hospital as a laboratory information systems analyst.
In both places, DeAngelis found herself wanting to know more about the other side of the work that she was conducting — the technology creation side. She also began observing how many companies were moving to internet- based platforms.
“One of the things I saw over and over again with these systems was a need for them to function in a very specific way,” says DeAngelis. Sometimes, however, these systems would fail to operate to specification. “That was when I started to think about how it would be a really great experience to be on the back end of these systems.”
DeAngelis discovered the coding boot camp and knew it would be the perfect opportunity to learn more about the rapidly developing industry. She says she was confident in choosing UNH as she already knew the quality of the courses would be high.
“The cohort model, with live instructors, classroom collaboration and constant hands-on application gives learners the support and accountability needed to make tremendous technical skill gains within a relatively short- term program,” says Michael Mengers, director of UNH PD&T. “This has been validated time and time again by the career success our students are having in launching new careers or advancing in their current positions.”
DeAngelis says that she’s always considered herself a lifelong learner, but taking this course had her diving in on a subject in which she had no prior experience. She wasn’t the only one, though; her classmates came in with varying skill levels.
“One of the neatest things about being a developer or a software engineer is the fact that you can create whatever you want to create,” DeAngelis says. “Your only limitation is your imagination and your technical ability.”
The program allowed DeAngelis to work at her own pace as she balanced her full-time job and first-time motherhood. While she says it could be a lot of information to take in at times, there was always someone who was able to support her learning.
At the end of the course, students were given guidance on finding jobs in the field to match their interest. DeAngelis was able to land a role as a junior web developer at GYK Antler in Manchester.
“It’s so incredibly important that the teams creating these new technologies for our future are representational,” she says. The best teams, she believes, “…bring different experiences and mindsets to the table to help us create things that work for everybody.”