Each quarter, between two and four promising junior developers from the Portland tech community are selected for DevelopmentNow’s Velocity, a five week incubator program designed to help accelerate their careers. Velocity participants design and build their own production-grade product with the help of DevelopmentNow staff. The Velocity program was put into effect with the goal of fostering talent in our community. Our team of designers, developers, and project managers guide participants through all of the phases of product development, and mentor them using the same methodologies we implement for client projects.
This round’s developers created HomeHero – An application that makes chores fun for kids, and easy to manage for parents. HomeHero is a fully customizable parent/child chore application. Parents are able to assign tasks to children and monitor their progress towards predefined goals and rewards. Children enjoy an interactive game-like interface that motivates them to complete chore tasks, and shows their progress towards a goal or reward. The goal is to make chores more fun for children, and more relaxing for the parents.
Incentivizing Tasks for Easier Management
HomeHero tracks and encourages participation in household chores for children. The team believed kids needed motivation because chores are typically not fun for a child, and having some sort of motivation and game-like interface is easier to manage.
The parent installs the application, sets up customizable chores that they expect their kids to do on a regular basis, and sets up rewards that the kids can work towards earning. The child has a more interactive interface to choose chores through a spinning wheel, then marks the chore as complete when finished. The parent can then approve of the chore completion and award the set amount of points to the child. The points are tracked on a goal screen, which is shared between the parent and child. In the future, the team wants to focus on account profile security, notifications, and reminders.
The Inspiration Behind HomeHero
As a father, Nathaniel noticed that using chore charts at home did not work well for his daughter, especially in an age of tech. His daughter is familiar with phones, apps, and would be more enthusiastic about keeping track of chores through an app, and being able to work towards a goal. Nathaniel noticed that his daughter liked to be challenged, and needed to be reminded of a goal in order to set a habit. Things that did work in habit-forming were enthusiasm and repetitiveness, and creating a game-like atmosphere. Nathaniel also looked at other applications that attracted children and their attention to further inspire his research.
Janek took inspiration from his wife, a Child Psychologist, that has worked with many children with behavioral issues. In his research, Janek found that consistency and structure work best for children, and it can be hard to get them motivated to maintain good habits. He found that having some sort of sticker chart or game-like way of tracking tasks would be helpful to digitize what works in real life.
The Velocity Process
Following the 5-week program, both Nathaniel and Janek shared some of their takeaways.
Nathaniel learned how important it is to be prepared to always keep learning, and find the match between best practices and what time will allow. He found value in learning about software architecture and functionality, and his favorite thing was being able to focus on building one thing at a time, and chipping away at something much larger to see completion of a project.
Janek enjoyed learning the importance of thorough decision making, and the planning process associated with development. His favorite thing was having the opportunity to try out different ways of programming, and being able to look at examples of best practices like using MVP.
Velocity participants retain the intellectual property rights for what they build. Nate and Janek will have the opportunity to network their idea as a portfolio piece in their career search.
Meet our Velocity team:
Nathaniel studied at Tufts University in Massachusetts. He has worked as a QA Software Engineer for Authoria, a Program Manager for Riverside Publishing in San Francisco, and a Senior QA Engineer at Amplify before attending Epicodus, a vocational school for aspiring programmers.
I’m a software veteran making a move from QA to development. I was eager to intern here after hearing DevelopmentNow employees give presentations to the local coding community. I was especially attracted to DevelopmentNow’s early adoption of new languages and technologies. Needless to say I was delighted when they chose me. My goal is to continue improving as a developer in either back-end Java or Android.
Janek studied at Central Michigan University, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. He has worked as an IT Intern for Brose in Coburg, Germany, and as a Network Support and IT Support Representative for Verifone before joining the Java/Android track at Epicodus.
When I started the Java/Android track at Epicodus I wasn’t sure what kind of programming I wanted to do after completing the program. However, when we started working with Android I fell in love with it and quickly realized that I wanted to have a career in mobile development. I was really excited that I got matched with Development Now for my internship. The internship experience that Development Now offers is a unique opportunity to build an Android app with the guidance and support of professional developers.