SSAO Bridges and Bytes – Summer 2015: John Oerter, Mentoring Program kickoff, job openings at Symantec, and more…

In this issue:

Three Minutes with John Oerter

mBOaReuyJohn Oerter became a Scott Scholar in 2010. He is from Hastings, Nebraska and a graduate of Adams Central High School. He was awarded his BS in Computer Science from UNO in 2014. Currently, he works in Omaha as a Software Engineer for Phenomblue, a strategic branding company. His wife Jessica will become a math teacher at Omaha Public Schools this fall.

I’m building a web app for clients to track strategic goals as they go through Phenomblue’s strategic branding process. I started there in early 2015 and have been very happy with the switch. There are about 20 people, and we support all types of local companies – from the HDRs to the Thrasher’s Basements Systems.

I dove deep into the tech side, setting up the Azure infrastructure with a C# back-end and Angular front-end with JavaScript. We’ll add a mobile app in the future, along with other improvements. At the moment, it’s just me working on it, though.

The more I learn, the more I know I have to learn. I want to grow by honing my code-writing and Agile skills. The development community in Omaha is really great, and I go to a lot of Meetups for things like JavaScript, .NET, and Agile.

At John Deere, working through Sogeti, I learned how to write clean code and follow Agile processes. They were focused on test-driven development with pair programming and continuous integration. This worked great for quickly pushing-out new features, while also letting me get rather close with my co-workers.

Pair Programming sounded like a waste of time, but it’s really, really great to have a process, and Pair Programming is very effective, especially with a test-driven process. We would start-out with a feature or user story, and one person would write the test while the other person started coding. Then, we would work together to work-out errors, fixing the unit tests and re-writing the code until it was correct. You get to talk-through design decisions, which leads to very clean code. We had 8 people (4 pairs) and balanced the pairings, with new pairs each morning and afternoon. I definitely think it was more efficient. I think once the management sees the quality of work that comes out of it, any manager will be pleased with the quality that comes out.

Sometimes it’s good to just code something and do it the right way later. I get wrapped-up by learning the right way, but it doesn’t always have to be that tidy.

Only implement the features you absolutely need, avoiding the “wouldn’t it be great” philosophy. Often there is a simple way and a cool way. If you do it the simple way, you can finished it and expanded on it later.

I would really love to get an MBA or some kind of business leadership degree. I want to move towards leadership in my career, but before I get too far down the management path, I want to focus more on the technology side of things. When I left PKI, my plan was to go straight into my MBA and move-up at a large company. But I started working for a small company, liked it, and my perspective changed. I had wanted to get into management a lot sooner, but now I’ve flipped and want to become an expert. I’d love to start my own company in the future, but right now I’m focused on my current role.

The 808 College Ministry had a big impact on me in college and continues to be a big impact. I’m still very active with it.

Dr. McGinnis helped me get an internship at STRATCOM. I was in the J9 working under SAIC on a campaign plan, building a SharePoint, Word, and PowerPoint web app integration. I learned a lot and would love to get back into the defense industry at some point. It was really interesting.

Somebody said, “John, your building is on fire!” when I was eating in Scott Hall. We looked out the window and Building G of Scott Village was in flames. We just stood there and watched it burn. I lost mostly everything except a few things in my closet. The university handled it well, and nobody was hurt.

Mentoring Program: About to Kickoff

Planning for the new Scott Scholar mentoring program is off to a great start – 31 Scott Scholar alumni have signed-up to mentor incoming students this coming fall!

We still need one more bioinformatics mentor – please email Sheila Karpf if you are interested.

Mentors: Save the Date – August 4th at Noon Central. Please mark your calendars for a 30 min. “what to expect” mentor event (with free lunch!) at PKI on Tuesday, August 4th at Noon Central. A video link will be available for mentors outside of Omaha. More details to come. And thanks to everyone for helping get this program off the ground.

Quick Bytes

Have anything you’d like to contribute – thoughts, ideas, comments, content? Contact Kyle Hoback.

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