Dev Agile Teamwork in Action

Dev Agile Teamwork in Action

By Jordan Kimura

Marv Chan, Manager of Web Development at Kelley Blue Book (KBB) paid a visit to LearningFuze along with alumni Howard Chen and Andrew Ngai to discuss Web Development insights with the students. Located in Irvine, just 3 miles from LearningFuze, KBB is best known for their automotive valuations and is also home to a ton of great content that you may not be aware of – new/used car research and tools, editorial content, classifieds and even, motorcycle valuations! In fact, 66% of all in-market car buyers use and a whopping 450 million+ cars are valued each year. The team provided valuable insight into the world of development at KBB in their discussion with the students.

Marv fosters a close-knit and collaborative team that has created a dynamic dev environment at KBB. An example of this can be seen in their annual Hackathon. It is a powerful event as it brings together a myriad of talent from across the organization to develop innovative prototypes and applications! Every year, all teams are tasked to come up with solutions centered around a theme, with prizes and bragging rights awarded to the winners. The Hackathon consists of a cross-functional team of 4-6 people from within the organization. These teams are likely to consist of a mix of web developers, software engineers, designers, architects, product managers, analysts and many more. As in any highly functioning environment, diversity and a balanced team are more important than simply having a team of only engineers. Teams are allowed to use any languages, tools and frameworks at their disposal. HTML, CSS, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Python, Java are the stalwarts, though teams have become really creative at extending and doing really cool things with – Alexa Skills Kit, Microsoft Bot Framework, Lewis AI, Rasberry Pi, virtual and augmented reality – you name it and the different teams have probably used it!

Howard and Andrew also shared their experience and some valuable advice as to how to succeed as a developer:

Alumni Howard Chen – Front End Developer

Howard graduated from LearningFuze several cohorts before and was in Real Estate Investment prior to taking the dive into the Full-Immersion program. After completing LearningFuze, Howard landed a Front End Developer job at Kelley Blue Book, has been there for a little over a year now and enjoys the environment, coding and continued learning experiences. Howard is very dedicated and mentioned that he commits time outside of work to learn and sharpen his coding skills for to be truly successful it takes commitment and passion beyond the job itself.

“Quitting my full-time job was tough but I really felt that I needed to pursue Web Development as it was my passion so that is when I started to look into coding bootcamps to acquire fundamental programming skills. As a Front End Developer at KBB, I collaborate with the UX team to ensure that projects are completed within the desired scope while maintaining good engineering practices.”

Alumni Andrew Ngai – Web Developer

Andrew graduated not long after Howard and has been working at Kelley Blue Book as a Web Developer for about 8 months. He loves the team environment along with working with different technologies and the chosen stack at KBB. He mentioned that KBB utilizes .NET and vanilla JavaScript. Andrew provided some sage advice to the students during the discussion:

“After reading hundreds of lines of code, you begin to understand and adapt to the functionality and code organization. There’s so many things to continue to learn after the conclusion of the bootcamp to integrate into your skills as a developer that keeps it fresh and interesting.”

Marv looks for Developers who demonstrate a positive, can-do attitude along with strong technical skills. A whiteboard interview is conducted for the majority of Web Developer roles; so it is important to know how to solve problems and be able to communicate effectively with others in that type of setting. LearningFuze Alumni Howard and Andrew worked very hard to get to where they currently are and demonstrated strong soft skills along with the required technical skills upon completing the Full-Immersion Bootcamp. As Qui-Gon Jinn from Star Wars says it, “Your focus determines your reality”.

Also, check out our last KBB event speaker, Diane Bullock on “Going Agile”.

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