Joe Gaszi ’17 quickly found success as a software developer at a mortgage lending company after honing his computer science skills at Elms.
In the world of computer science, being known as a “full-stack developer” carries a lot of weight. To put it metaphorically, they are the chameleons of the software development world, just as skilled at addressing issues with coding and programming as they are with visual design. Joe Gaszi ’17 — a computer information technology (CIT) major who graduated from Elms in just three years — happens to be one.
“There’s way more to CIT than the computers themselves,” the Enfield, CT, native said.
As a software developer at 1st Alliance Lending — a mortgage services provider in East Hartford, CT — Joe is responsible for making sure that customers have the best experience possible while using the company’s website. As his first major project out of college, he helped redesign 1st Alliance’s consumer portal. By analyzing how companies like Rocket Mortgage provide homebuyers with a simple way to obtain a loan online, Joe and a small team of developers gave their company’s interface a much-needed face lift.
“Knowing that people across the country are seeing my work, and that it’s helping them get in contact with the company I work for, is awesome,” he said.
Pushing the Limits
Although Joe graduated from Elms before the new computer science major was offered, he said that he made an effort to mold his coursework to a career in programming. In his push to graduate as quickly as possible, Joe taught himself Python and arranged an internship with the college’s resident programmer.
“I don’t think there’s any other college in the area where I would have been able to overload my classes and finish that fast,” he said. “It was due to how Prof. Hoffman structures her classes. She asks you to push yourself and take your work as far as you want to, even if it means pushing a deadline back. She’ll be there to support you.”
Joe’s ambition ultimately netted him the Lyne Murphy Computer Information Technology Award in 2017, which is given to the year’s most outstanding CIT major.
“It was great to see Joe grow into an outstanding programmer and a mentor to other students during his time at Elms,” said Beryl Hoffman, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science. “Joe puts 100% into everything he does.”
Succeeding in the Computer Software Industry
While coding and programming certainly require technical finesse, Joe is quick to note that the emphasis on the liberal arts at Elms influenced his work as a developer, too.
“I think being personable and able to talk to people is way more important than technical skills,” he said. “The skills come afterward.”
A key aspect of Joe’s job involves speaking with his colleagues and listening to what they want to see in the company’s computer systems. As a developer, he has the chance to be part of the company’s “business logic,” which is something a programmer wouldn’t normally do.
“The difference between the two is that a programmer will have someone tell them what to do, and then they just program it. Whereas a developer goes and talks to the people who will be using the software, and then develops it based on their input.”
Joe credits the CIT curriculum at Elms with preparing him for his current job, although he said that his favorite class would surprise most aspiring computer scientists.
“The design classes that I took were eye-opening,” he said with a smile. “They showed me that I can do more than just programming. They enabled me to focus on the bigger picture, instead of just the coding itself.”
Are you interested in coding, software design, and creative problem solving? The new computer science major at Elms gives you the skills and knowledge you need to succeed as a programmer. Contact us or schedule a campus visit to learn more.