Dev/Iowa: Just What An Entrepreneur Needs

On Wednesday, July 9, 2014 I was asked to come and address a classroom of aspiring developers at Dev/Iowa, presented by the University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. The students have heard from a number of professionals in the software/web development arena this summer, so my talk took a look at the “business” side of the equation.

Let’s talk business

In a talk titled “Amazing work & delighting your clients: Client Expectations, Project Scopes, & Communication Realities”, I addressed the following questions, how do you:

  • * understand the clients real needs vs. their perceived needs?
  • * ensure the final layout/pages/UX/design of the project meets the expectations of the client?
  • * scope and estimate a project cost so you aren’t taken advantage of?
  • * scope and estimate a project cost so you don’t take taken advantage of your client?
  • * communicate with your client during the project in a transparent manner?  
  • * keep yourself, your team, and your client on task during the project?

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The students had a number of questions and seemed interested in not only how they can code better, but how to ensure they get a fair rate and provide fair work in return for that rate.  It was great to see, be asked to speak, and see the next crop of local developers charting a course.

After the session, they ask the mentors to stick around and learn about the student projects. While getting brief demos, I was able to share a few nuggets of information to most of the project teams. Each were working on a two week sprint project for a local business, startup, or non-profit.

Developer void, ideas voided

The level of development needed for each of the student project varied, but what was obvious to me was the desperate need for more training like this.  Each of the entities who had their project being worked on by these students needed some kind of solution to a technical problem – not unlike my Marketing Technology clients – and they simply do not know where to turn.

Development – or even tech savvy – skills are hard to get in Iowa (or anywhere), yet the great ideas, possibilities, and opportunities are endless in the minds of so many around us.  As has been discussed numerous times at Newbo Open Coffee Club #NBOCC (which I currently host), computer software and development talent is lacking in general. With seemingly everyone having an idea for an “app” there has to be some amazing ideas laying dormant if not only for a developer to allow the visionary to help validate it.

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More developers coming!

Thanks to Dev/Iowa for asking me to be a mentor and I look forward to the continued evolution of this program leading to more skilled professionals in our community, feeding our great ideas.  In the meantime, I’ll be attending the July 30th Demo Day from 3-5 p.m. at the THINC Lab, 122 E. Market St., Iowa City to celebrate the students’ success as they highlight their portfolios and final projects. Join me there and follow Dev/Iowa via email or social media to stay in the loop. I understand this Fall there will be some new format programming for developers of all levels which will be a great addition.

Now go code something awesome!

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