I am currently working as a Graduate Research Assistant with IIT, Strategic Initiatives & Development. As part of my Assistantship, I work on the Robinson Country Intelligence Index (RCII) tool and Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (DALN) applications. My contributions include implementing new functionalities in RCII and fixing issues that occur in either of the applications.
Dr. Chris Brown, the Director of RCII, provides real-time requirements and feedback on development to allow for rapid application development. A biweekly peer-to-peer meeting, which includes sharing ideas and reviewing the latest developments, provides important perspective to fine-tune the application to meet student needs.
From a technical perspective, interactions with the development team give me a great chance to build production-grade software with the best possible performance. The things I have learned by working with the team include developing optimized, generalized code for modularity and reusability. Interacting with the team during a technical discussion is always an opportunity to learn and improve my programming approach.
I get a chance to dive into new technologies as well. Being new to AWS services, I learned about the DynamoDB as part of working on the DALN application.
Working on a massive software repository and navigating various components gave me exposure to how a real-world application is structured and how it grows and adapts to new feature requests and requirements changes. This experience has helped me be more far-sighted when planning to implement projects as part of my coursework.
One of my contributions included implementing a new visualization, Scatter plot, in the RCII tool, which became a valuable feature for students in their coursework. With constant feedback and guidance from the team, it's been a great experience to work with IIT.
I am confident that getting exposure to this technical and professional experience while still a student will help me in my professional growth as a software developer. I believe that having such early exposure to real-world application development and a professional environment can provide a great addition to skills and a start towards success for anyone whose goal is to be part of the software industry. I encourage interested students not to miss out on an opportunity to consider IIT’s experiential learning programs.