Center for Applied Technology
Most higher ed institutions today have fragmented, frustrating online experiences. The CATLab builds tech solutions that give communities an effortless way to navigate the technology they need to pursue meaningful works and relationships.
We are developers, designers, artists, and writers from Westmont College. Think of the CATLab as an idea lab or technology innovation hub for our school. Our members’ studies range from Art to Data Analytics, and we utilize a wide range of liberal arts skills to achieve our goals. Students and staff work together to pave the way for meaningful change.
Kristen, Sr. Developer
“Thanks to my experience at CATLab, I constantly am implementing solutions within one job that I discover at the other — the work that I do for both Thornhill and CATLab is mutually beneficial. The skills I have been able to develop at CATLab ultimately allowed me to be proficient enough in Salesforce to take the internship, and resultantly I can branch out a little in a completely different implementation of Salesforce at Thornhill. Then, the work that I do at Thornhill circles back around, allowing me to bring a wider knowledge base back to CATLab on a weekly basis.”
James, Sr. Developer
"CATLab has taught me a lot. It was my first professional job in the technology field. It’s exposed me to working with other professionals, specifically consulting with professionals and building them a product. Having the creative freedom while complying with best practices and product requirements has helped prepare me for the internship I have now. My internship has required a lot of creative development within in the constructs of the business processes already in place, so I really do feel that I’ve had a foundation of sorts. CATLab has also prepared me for project management (using JIRA software, project planning, product requirements, consulting, etc.) There of course is an emphasis in being able to deliver which revolves around my technical ability, but the project management side of things is just as important especially in working within a team environment."
Sophia, Sr. Developer/Consultant
"When landing my first full-time internship outside of CATLab, we had just gone live with the Advancement project for Westmont. Being able to talk with the company about completing a project that was currently being used was really important. I also find it extremely personally gratifying to be able to put my technical skills toward helping the college.
In my current position at Outside Open, I rely on the resilience I developed at the CATLab to adapt to new challenges. At the CATLab we are constantly learning and refining our knowledge base. Like any technology, Salesforce is always changing and over the past 3 years we have been adapting to new Apex practices or moving from Aura to Lightning Web Components. Being able to pick up new concepts and languages quickly and confidently has served me well as a full-time software developer."
Curious about our team? Want a peek inside the CATLab? Check out our most recent blog posts!
3 Things We Created and Learned in Summer 2020
After 15 weeks of coding and creating, blogging and bug-fixing, we’ve finally come to the end of the summer. Looking back at our successes, we’re struck by not only the concrete things we’ve accomplished but also the lessons we’ve learned. Through our work this summer, we’ve come to see the importance of knowing who our work is for, sharing our stories, and having a team mindset. In short, we do our best when we’re focused on helping others.
The Work of Authentic Inclusion: Reflections from Our DirectorAs we reflect on what we’ve learned and accomplished this summer, we asked our director, Zak, to share his thoughts on leading a team through this tumultuous time. In “both technical and thematic challenges,” in both coding and conversations, Zak sees himself as the facilitator rather than the focus, staying out of the spotlight and empowering others to take center stage.
Sharing Inspiration: Meeting UCSB’s IT InternsHere at the CATLab, one of our deep-rooted goals is to join and facilitate conversations on the intersection between technological innovation and higher education. Not only can we be inspired by others’ ideas and successes; sometimes we can, in turn, inspire others. Last week, we got to see the direct result of this inspiration as we met the students part of UCSB’s new set of IT internships—a new program modeled after our work at the CATLab.
Moving Forward in the Midst of Uncertainty
As we near the end of the summer and as schools and cities weigh the pros and cons of reopening in the fall, we’re coming to realize that one of the hardest things about this pandemic is not the travel restrictions or the social distancing but the ongoing uncertainty in which we find ourselves. Even as we cope with unprecedented challenges, we realize that even our best-laid plans might have to change in a moment. So what do you do when you feel like the whole world is unsettled?
How to Get Hired in Tech
How do you prepare yourself to enter an industry that’s constantly evolving? Although job titles and programming syntax might change, there are still several steps you can take to become a compelling candidate and ace your application when looking for a job in tech.
What to Look For in an Internship
The benefits of an internship are multifaceted—not just a line on your resume! Among other advantages they provide, internships give you the opportunity to test-drive a career, build a network, and prove your skill to a company. We’ve already shared that 65% employers want students with more than one internship; but how do you tell what makes an internship valuable?