Right out of the graduation gate, our grads are trained to do some great work that we are proud to share.
People come to Alchemy already equipped with incredible creativity and the ambition to make a meaningful contribution to the world. After gaining robust software development skills through Alchemy’s rigorous program, they’re ready to combine that creativity with top-tier tech and the results are extraordinary. Alchemy grads consistently provide examples of how software development can solve human-centered problems!
Check out these three post-grad collaborative projects that contribute to the community while also serving as stellar portfolio pieces:
- A sound app for Portland’s International Rose Test Garden
- An app benefiting the nonprofit New Avenues for Youth
- A game redesign inspired by Scrabble for HackOR
Expressing Natural Phenomena through Sound
Sonic Blooming is a wonderful example of tech’s power to enrapture, thrill, and capture beauty in a fresh way. The app allows users to explore, meditate, and generally vibe with the plants in the International Rose Test Garden or at home in their own garden. Plus, it is easy to use on multiple platforms.
“This gave me the opportunity to contribute to a real-world app that is used by the public right after completing the program,” said Jena. “It gave me insight into responsive design and browser compatibility while working with a client/product owner to deliver a polished and finished product. Additionally, what initially sparked my interest in coding and development was the desire to combine technology with art and music in creative ways. This was the perfect way to steer my career in that direction and solidify that intention.”
Mikey and Jena used their Alchemy skills of working on group projects and doing collaboration remotely to move this project forward. The app is built in React in the browser, which is covered extensively in Alchemy’s program, and uses the Web Audio API, another tool used during various project weeks during the program.
“I come from a background of doing collaborative interactive art installations using various forms of technology, so this project was right up my alley,” said Mikey. “I feel that every project I'm a part of like this puts forward momentum towards more professional opportunities that are "unconventional", art focused, and open up new ways to use the tools I've learned at Alchemy and beyond to create cool and accessible digital art.”
Though they hadn’t collaborated at Alchemy, Mikey and Jena connected through the Alchemy network via a coffee date set up through Alchemy's Career Services. This was a nice fit fueled by their mutual interest in music production. After that initial meeting, they kept in touch through the Alchemy network and when the opportunity to collaborate on this project came up, it was a seamless decision.
The app was not only a chance to express their creativity in collaboration, it’s also a project that builds their portfolios as they launch their software development careers.
Coding for a Cause
Over the course of a week, seven teams made up of 280 individuals work on challenges presented by non-profit organizations to address food security, child health and wellness initiatives, and the digital divide. The event is sponsored by the Technology Association of Oregon in partnership with AT&T, Google, and the Portland Trail Blazers in conjunction with the Techlandia Summit.
Alchemy grads consistently show up at this competition to build incredible solutions. The most recent event was no different.
Team Alchemy was made up of three grads: Jenna Goldman, Dannie Schumaker, Chelsea Spangler, and Ed Arib (from the City of Portland). Together they built the prototype with React Native and Expo, and chose Airtable on the back end so that the client could easily maintain their database without having a developer on staff.
"Alchemy prepared us to take an idea from the design phase into production in just a few days, even though we were working with a lot of technologies that were completely new to us," Chelsea shared. "Where other teams struggled with communication, we were primed to front-load our collaboration to get everyone on the same page, so we could later work quickly and independently in a coordinated way. Taking our tech and project management skills from Alchemy into a scenario where we had the opportunity to work with a client and their real-world needs was also incredibly rewarding."
“New Avenues for Youth is an organization that really resonates with each of us,” said Dannie Schumaker on behalf of their team. “We were honored to have the opportunity to build a prototype that could help youth in our community quickly navigate to a designated safe place — especially during a crisis — and communicate with a trained adult.”
New Avenues for Youth is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention and intervention of youth homelessness. Their programs and services impact young people as they work to overcome barriers, pursue their goals, and realize their potential. From supporting basic needs like meals and counseling to providing opportunities for education, job training, employment, and housing, they meet youth where they are—and help them get where they want to go.
A Classic Game Gets a Tech Boost
HackOR is Oregon's premier all-student hackathon, a 48-hour virtual hackathon where programmers of all experience levels and backgrounds gather to collaborate on a project. Paul Stevens, Evan Finklestein, and Sjaan Hydrick were the Alchemy grads who won Best UI/UX, coming in third overall out of 375 participants!
The event is organized and chaired by major schools in Oregon and attracts participants from across the United States and internationally.
Inspired by Scrabble, Gibberish added D-E-V to the tile bag with word detection A.I. that analyzed all 267,751 words in the Scrabble dictionary. It was built using React, Node, and Socket.io.
“This hackathon was like a whole project week condensed in 48 hours,” Paul said. “It was intense, but also incredibly fun because I had such strong teammates. Sjaan owned the design, Evan built the frontend, and I did the backend. Because we communicated and trusted each other, we were able to build a cool prototype in just two days. It was a crunch, but after Alchemy we were comfortable with that.”
What’s next for this creative team of Alchemists? Well, Paul said it best...
“Today HackOR, tomorrow the world.”