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By Marika Daniel, '22, North Carolina Central University

Maryam Shahid, ‘23, a computer science major from Peshawar, Pakistan, knew very little about technology but was intrigued by Duke’s Code+ program, a 10-week summer experience for undergrads that prepares them for internships in the technology industry. Students learn coding and product development using web and mobile application software development. 

“I learned about Code+ through a summer opportunities fair,” said Shahid, a Karsh scholar. “I wanted to explore an opportunity in computer science that could give me a glimpse into how the field looked outside of the classroom, in an industry-like environment.”  

When she began the program, Shahid had some experience, but more importantly, a desire to learn more. Her experience with Code+ eventually led her to a position as a software developer at Duke’s Innovation Co-Lab, a campus space that allows students to explore new and emerging technologies. 

“Through Code+ I learned more about technology than I knew coming in, and the whole development process intrigued me so much. I feel like the program exceeded my expectations,” Shahid said. “It helped with the technical skills and the code-sharing workflow.” 

Shahid and her team had to find effective ways to communicate and stay up to date by creating a schedule that worked best for everyone. 

“We had team members in a different time zone and during a certain session  I was in a time zone that was 10-hours different from my teammates.10-hour different zone. This posed some challenges, but we set up a 24-hour workflow, handing off the reigns with regular updates,” Shahid said. 

Shahid was also exposed to different areas of expertise over a short period of time. She learned skills such as: website development, CSS, HTML, JavaScript, Ruby on Rails, React, and database management. She also learned non-technical skills such as how to give effective presentations, how to hold meetings with stakeholders, and feedback/testing sessions with users.  

“All in all, Code+ enriched my summer and gave me a glimpse into the world of software development. It played a significant role in my decision to major in computer science, and to be in my current job. I met amazing people through the program such as my teammates, my project leader, and current supervisor,” Shahid said. 

Shahid added, “To all of the future students interested in applying, be open to learning all that you can in this program and try to be fully engaged with your team. Figure out how to work together and don’t be hesitant to ask questions; this is completely new for a lot of students and the more you ask, the more you’ll know.”