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My Experience Working On A Real World Product For My Last Unit At Lambda School!

An Exciting learning experience in Lambda School Labs!

From January 11th, 2021 through February 4th, 2021, Lambda School gave me the opportunity to work on a project that replicates a real-world work experience. Lambda partners with non-profited organizations and companies that are in need of a product to release to market.

About The Organization

I was assigned to work on the Human Rights First project, focusing on their asylum cases. A quick overview of what an Asylum is: Asylum is a legal status that the U.S. government can grant to people who are at risk of harm in their home countries because of who they are, because of their religion, political opinion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity and if the governments in their home countries will not protect them.

The attorneys working for this organization are faced with many arising issues. The process of searching for a case through paperwork is extremely time-consuming. They would rather have access to an online account where they have the ability to log in with their own credentials and search for information on judges/cases. This process will give them quicker results in searching for a specific case/judge, which in return will give them a better opportunity in comparing judges and find certain biases that a judge might have or find information on what they usually rule on for certain cases. So my team and I created many features for an existing app that will let attorneys look at data being pulled from case files. They will now have quick access through this app and it'll be less time-consuming.

Technical Problems We Were Faced With

So before jumping into the code, we had a chance to meet the stakeholder and had the opportunity to ask her questions. We also had meetings with our product manager who represents the client-side and assisted us with the product vision & strategy while leading our team in making sure that we would be able to deliver a great product. He helped define the product roadmap that included features/requirements and also helped analyze the user’s needs.

The product roadmap can be found here

Once we became familiar with what wasn’t working and what features we needed to help fix existing problems, that’s when we jumped on our Trello board and created individual tasks as user stories. When we jumped in the code there was a lot of issues that came up and certain features missing such as styling that needed more work to make the user interface stand out more, being able to upload a new case to the database, being able to view detailed information about each case, saving judges/deleting judges/viewing specific judge information, saving cases/deleting cases/viewing specific case information, and being able to navigate the website easily to find what you need.

Fear And Concerns I Had During This Journey

The previous units for build weeks that I was working on consisted of smaller projects that were non-live products and so when I started my labs journey, I immediately became fearful.

I was afraid of failing as a developer and letting my team down. However, I realized that it’s perfectly normal to feel this way. Whenever we are faced with something new, fear tries to take over, but a great software engineer overcomes all those fears/doubts and pushes through no matter what, that’s exactly what I did! When I first jumped into the code, I didn’t understand what was going on.

Students had worked on the codebase from a previous unit, so I decided to take notes and break down piece by piece, what role certain chunks of code played in to give me a better idea as to what was going on. So then it all started coming together and became much clearer to me.

Features I Implemented

I took on the responsibility of creating features where a user will be able to select a certain case or judge and save it to a certain location, so then you can navigate to their routes and have access to see them. Think of the saving feature of the case or judge as a “favorites” feature. Like for example an online shopping store that allows you to store favorites on a certain location that you can later go back to and it’ll always be there unless you remove it. Here’s a quick demonstration of this video I created:

Our Human Rights Demo Video

In this video you just finished watching, one of my peers explained all of our features together. The current state of the app is what the next unit will be able to work off. The app is an amazing platform and has been improved by us and previous units, but there are many things that still need to be worked on. In the future, this app will require more features. One of them would be connecting data from the data science team to display actual data and not just dummy data.

I had such a great experience working on this project. I know that when this app gets released, it’ll help make the process for many people seeking asylum easier and it definitely puts a big smile on my face. I now know what it will be like working as a software engineer for a company. I can proudly say that I have what it takes now to contribute and help bring value to the world with my skills.

Here I Speak About Myself On A Personal Level And You Can Hear Me Talk About The Organization And Feature I Implemented!

Here is the website link to our deployed app

Here is the website link of the organization

Front-End Software Engineer

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