The Desire to Help Others And Be Creative Lead To Software Development | Graduate Spotlight

Apr 5, 2018
Mandy Arola


Kristen NorrisMeet Kristen Norris

Prior to NSS, Kristen Norris was working for a non-profit. After a few years as a case manager for the homeless, she opted to move into an administrative role that worked with volunteers and donors. While in this role, she began to contemplate a career change. When considering her options, she knew she wanted to create things and continue to help people. Software development felt like a great way to combine these two goals.

When looking for a bootcamp, Kristen liked that NSS was geared towards teaching new software developers and appreciated our six-month full stack web development curriculum. Now having completed a full-time bootcamp with Cohort 22, the relationships she formed with her classmates and instructors are what she likes best about NSS. She expressed, “I'm fortunate to have a great support system at home, but my family and friends weren't able to relate to that part of my life in the way that my fellow classmates were. It was great to have people to lean on and ask questions to when I got stuck.”

Kristen encourages current students not to get caught up in other classmates knowing more than you.

No one knows everything, even if it seems like they do.

Her front-end capstone was inspired by a birthday tradition she shares with her friends. On their birthdays they share their highs and lows of the past year, but sometimes it’s tough to recall all of their amazing memories. Enter Kristen’s app, Life Reel. The app allows users to track important events as they happen with a 5-star rating system, making it easy to look back and reflect. Users can leave notes about the event and view their event history by week, month, year, lifetime, or rating. Users can also share their reel with friends.

She built Life Reel with HTML, CSS, and AngularJS. She utilized Firebase Realtime Database and Authentication. Kristen intentionally challenged herself not to use a styling framework so that she could become more comfortable with CSS. She shared, “I'm particularly proud of the movie clapper (used in the create/edit forms) and film strip (used to display segments) that I built just using CSS."

The idea for her server-side capstone was inspired by her parent’s dog, Raleigh. Raleigh loves to visit her furry friends while on walks and even has a regular play-date with a neighbor. Kristen’s app, PupPals, allows pet owners to record information about the houses they encounter while walking their dog. Pet owners can add notes, names of the pets or kids that live there, and owner contact info. Pet owners can then plan their walks based on their dog’s friends. For example, if the owner is short on time, they can choose a route that will have fewer interruptions from friends.

Kristen explained how she built PupPals, “I used ASP.NET MVC, a C# framework, to build the application and it connects to a SQLite database for deployment through DigitalOcean. I utilized the Google Maps JavaScript API, Google Maps Geocoding API, and Google Places API Web Service to create a visual representation of the information a user tracks and allows the user to search the map.”

Kristen found that she really enjoys server-side development, working with data, and figuring out data structures. She found C#/.NET to be a lot of fun! As Kristen searches for a job that combines her creativity and desire to help others, she is building a database for her front-end capstones and exploring other languages and frameworks that she didn’t learn at NSS.

Listen to Kristen’s interview with Clark Buckner about her capstones and check out her portfolio site.

Be sure to listen to all of the graduates talk to our friend, Clark Buckner, about their journey into development and about their experience at NSS.

Check out all of the recent grads on Cohort 22’s class website.

Topics: Student Stories