January 19, 2021
The Information Technology Program will continue its popular Developer Night series this semester after the events transitioned to a virtual format last year.
“In some ways, the virtual setting has been better because it’s more convenient for students,” said Nickolas Wergeles, an assistant professor of professional practice who leads the events. “And our students are very tech savvy, this is a platform they’re comfortable using.”
Developer Night is a weekly gathering during which students can discuss programming, work on projects together and get help from Wergeles and his teaching assistants (TAs) and peer learning assistants (PLAs). The events also provide social opportunities for students.
During last semester’s Zoom-based Developer Nights, students had the opportunity to select and join virtual breakout rooms based on their interests.
“That worked really well,” Wergeles said. “Students in the same class could meet and ask questions, while other students might go into breakout rooms to discuss capstone projects or even just to hang out and talk about video games.”
Junior Brian Jiang attends Developer Night for a variety of reasons. When he was enrolled in Wergeles’ web application development class, he went to get help with assignments. He continues to go to see what other students are doing and to socialize.
“With the virtual Developer Nights, other than getting help with web development assignments, I would check out projects in the web development and java courses so that I can get an idea of how I can be a better programmer,” he said. “The Developer Nights have helped me meet other students in the IT Program and get more involved with IT.”
Wergeles is considering transitioning to a hybrid series this semester, allowing a small number of students to attend in person using a lab or large conference room. Social distancing and masks would be required. Those in person would be connected to Wergeles through a monitor or presentation screen, and TAs could be on hand to answer questions, as well.
He’s also considering starting a forum for the group on Discord, a chat platform. Another IT group, the CyberTygers Cybersecurity Club, has an active Discord community where members share ideas, tech-related news and job postings.
Jiang, who is also involved in CyberTygers, encourages other students to attend Developer Nights this semester.
“You should go to the Developer Nights if you would like to get more involved with Information Technology and get better programming skills,” he said.
Wergeles agreed. “Whether you’re studying IT or majoring in computer science, it’s a great way to take your skills to the next level,” he said.