20-21 LTS Annual Report

By his senior year, he’d gained enough experience and familiarity with the Lehigh web environment that he was asked to take on increasingly substantial projects, including the ground-up replacement of LTS Alerts, the system of announcements about interruptions to LTS systems like Course Site, HawkWatch, and Banner. Benkoski’s programming and development experience, coupled with his computer science course work, meant a short learning curve for him, allowing him to put that talent to immediate practical use. “Cody used his skills to help us develop the system using Flask, a backend web framework written in Python, which the team had not worked with previously,” says Ryan. “This experience allowed Cody to bring his own expertise to the team, even teaching us along the way.” Of all the diverse projects he worked on, Benkoski says he’s most proud of LTS Alerts. “Here, I’ve been involved in every aspect of development, from initial requirements to architecture discussions to (almost) production deployment,” he said. “This work complemented the required software engineering course I’ve taken as part of my Computer Science degree, and gave me invaluable experience into how software is designed and launched in the real world,” said Benkoski. He's currently working with his GM team on the development of telematics—a method of monitoring vehicles by using GPS technology and on-board diagnostics to plot their movements on a computerized map. During the ten-month LTS Alerts project— begun at the start of the pandemic, and The faded sticky notes on the door to Christmas-Saucon were hardly given more than a glance as busy students traveled from one class to the next, until a cancelled calc recitation gave Cody Benkoski ‘21 a chance to take a closer look. Help Wanted: Drupal Developer. Students apply within. A job with Web & Mobile Services (WMS)— one of over 200 LTS positions open to Lehigh students each year—seemed like a natural fit for Benkoski. As a dual degree student studying Earth and Environmental Science and Computer Science, and with previous web development experience under his belt, Benkoski tapped on the door, and interviewed with Senior Web Developer and WMS manager Ashley Ryan. Within weeks he began part-time work on the team with three other developers. As a junior, Benkoski—who graduated from Lehigh a year early through careful planning and summer classes, and now works as a software and control engineer for General Motors—primarily supported Lehigh’s Drupal multisite environment, a network of subsites on the Lehigh domain, including institutional, administrative, and college websites. He was responsible for implementing new features, developing web tools, upgrading site themes, applying visual enhancements, and ensuring compliance with federal and state regulations for web accessibility. “This work complemented the required software engineering course I’ve taken as part of my Computer Science degree, and gave me invaluable experience into how software is designed and launched in the real world." forcing him to work remotely, Benkoski met frequently with the WMS team over Zoom to evaluate design ideas and feature proposals from stakeholders at Lehigh, which offered new and intriguing challenges for him to solve. He said it was most gratifying to see completed ideas deployed to the rest of the campus community. The nature of Benkoski’s work also gave him experience collaborating with a variety of consultants on other teams in LTS, such as the Help Desk and Systems Engineering. “These interactions allowed me to see how interconnected the various departments within LTS are, and how they come together to provide essential campus services,” he said. Though his current work at GM differs from any of his LTS projects, Benkoski said that all the soft skills while working have carried over. “LTS student employees are held to such high standards that by the time you enter the workforce all the ‘growing pains’ have already been ironed out,“ he said. As Benkoski wrapped up his undergraduate career, he offered some words of advice for students looking for meaningful work on campus: “Get involved with LTS as soon as you can; the mix of professional and personal growth and flexibility at LTS is pretty much unrivaled in terms of campus jobs.” BUILDING SKILLS FOR CAREER SUCCESS Web & Mobile Services gig helps prep Cody Benkoski '21 for life after Lehigh 22 | L I BRARY AND TECHNOLOGY SERV I CES —CODY BENKOSKI ‘21 Sharon Jo '23 contributed to this story. L E A R N I N G W H I L E E A R N I N G