The Young Tech Professionals Spring Quarter Tech Bootcamp, to me, was a place where I was able to learn how to think. So far in my undergraduate experience at UCLA I have learned and memorized many things, but not often given the opportunity to apply these concepts especially in a longer term project. The opportunity the Bootcamp provided was the ability to think freely and learn how to apply these many concepts in real world settings and applications. For those who do not know, the Bootcamp is a program developed for both undergraduate and graduate students to help learn the necessary skills needed in the real world that are not taught in the classroom. Initially, every student applies and is assigned a team of fellow students along with a ‘coach’ who is an industry leader on the assigned topic. There are formal meetings for the first 6 weeks with informal team stand-ups occurring often with the summation of the process resulting in a Minimal Viable Product that is then pitched to and judged by a board of industry professionals.
The team I was on was comprised of a very diverse group of 7 students working to create a Minimal Viable Product in the Health Technology sector. After 10 weeks of different ideations, 4 interviews with working doctors, and jokes over zoom our team ‘Salud’ created our product ‘MediPal’. After weeks of research the staggering facts such as one in five prescriptions are never filled, and of those prescriptions filled 50% are taken incorrectly led us to try and tackle the problem of medication non-adherence. MediPal was thus created and is a text message platform that integrates at the Electronic Health Record and pharmaceutical level to automatically enroll patients for reminders. In our final presentation we not only presented a working prototype, but also market research, financial projections, and professional interview statements which are all skills we learned through the Bootcamp.
What impressed me the most was the professionalism of this process at every step. This was most evident by the caliber of professionals who volunteered their time in this program, because they knew it was very important. For example, in our first meeting we learned an Introduction to “Productivity Tools” by Shahin Mohammadkhani the Executive Director of Architecture at Sony Pictures Entertainment. While in our last meeting, we heard from the Sr. Director of Marketing at Qualcomm, Cherry Park, on “How to Pitch”. Regardless of the end result, this creative process taught me to try and fail in the real business world and to keep trying in an incremental fashion until we achieve our goal. I could not be more thankful for our Team Coach Sumita Jonak for the countless hours, passion she instilled in us, and the invaluable life skills she taught us. As well as Raffi Simonian for organizing this program that taught us to think beyond the classroom, putting in the needed time to build something of this excellence through the years, and always be willing to help at every step.