University of Wyoming IA Program Bridges Gap in Tech Talent

June 9, 2016

By Ivy Hughes

Ivy_Professional.jpgFinding good programmers fresh out of college who have an affinity for a rural - albeit beautiful - state in the middle of the country can be challenging. However, since 2012, the University of Wyoming’s (UW) Department of Computer Science and its Industrial Affiliates (IA) program have bridged that gap, most recently by finding us another brilliant intern.

Alanna Larson joined Language IO in May. She is the second intern we’ve found through IA. Our first IA intern, Stephen Boyer, joined us as a full-time employee in August 2015.

The IA program, which was created by Department of Computer Science Head Jim Caldwell, pairs UW computer science and computer engineering students with partner companies. Fourteen companies currently participate in the IA program with more set to come on board soon.

“What I’ve found works best is to get someone as an intern where they’ll still learn and slowly move on to bigger projects and groom them into a full-time employee,” said Language IO Co-Founder Heather Morgan Shoemaker. “By the time they graduate, they already know our business and feel comfortable. That ability for a student to gain some experience while they are still in school and move straight into a full-time position makes it better for us and them.”

Small companies pay $500 a year to participate in the IA program while larger companies may give up to $10,000 annually to belong. The annual benefit of participating in IA far outweighs the cost and it also keeps top talent in Wyoming.

Larson, who is from Minnesota, decided on the University of Wyoming after looking at comparing UW tuition costs to those of Minnesota schools. They were much cheaper and, as an added bonus, UW’s computer science team had a good national reputation.

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” Larson said. “But I looked into computer programming and it seemed pretty cool. I thought all computer programmers were obsessed, but I’ve met a lot of people at UW. There are more social computer science students than I thought.”

We love this program and really appreciate the pipeline it creates to keep tech talent in Wyoming. To read the UW post about the IA program, click here.