Tech Blog

My Experience as a Student Developer Using the AEK Before Joining Ex Libris

Background

Before I joined Ex Libris, I attended the University of Montana. I used the campusM app (UMontana app) every day as a student to check my grades, look up my assignments, check when the bus would be at my stop next, etc. I also worked as a student developer, influencing and building the services offered through the platform. I joined UM’s development team and helped internally with getting the app live for the hard launch in August of 2016. It was a great experience to be able to build new tiles within the campusM app and then immediately use them in my day-to-day life as a student.

Student Developer Program

While I was attending, UM typically had 1-4 student developers working on the UMontana app at a time. These positions were offered as student jobs, as well as internship positions which counted toward school credits. Student developers started with restricted permissions within the environment and slowly gained access to more areas the longer they worked there. This position granted a lot of freedom for innovation, allowing the students to really influence what services were available within the app. The student developer team created a multitude of projects (tiles) that were released to the production app including, but not limited to: the tutoring board, newsfeed, events info, International Development Studies Program info, scholarship newsletter sign up, degrees and majors lookup, social directory for social media, and athletics info.

I am a big advocate for student developers. I highly recommend that other universities provide the same opportunity to their students. Who better to develop services for students than a current student?

Using the AEK from Within Ex Libris Now

The transition was easy moving from a student developer position to a position within Ex Libris because Ex Libris uses the same toolset that is available to customers (AEK, App Manager, AEK Registry, Developer Network, Slack, etc.). There is a myriad of benefits that come with this approach. Documentation is kept up to date, great examples are posted, open source projects are made available, support is easily available, collaboration with other institutions is possible, etc.

Summary

I had a great experience working as a student developer using the AEK. The position gave me the diverse development experience that I needed and eventually led me to this position. A student developer program is a great way to give students the work experience they need after graduation. It is also a great way to have students directly influence your university app. Students know best what services they need, and which services have been missing. A position like this gives them the power to create solutions that promote student success.

If you have any additional questions or notes, leave a comment!

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