Careers in Code Capstone Projects: Ideation Phase

Hack Upstate
Jun 18 · 6 min read

As part of our Careers in Code program, participants are required to work towards their capstone project, which is a full-stack (front-end, back-end, database) application that they build throughout the 24 weeks of the coding bootcamp. We’re about halfway through, and now that our students have foundational knowledge that will help them build their projects, they shared ideas for what they’d like to bring to life by the fall.

To stay organized throughout the process, students are using Trello boards for project management. At the end of this article, you can watch the video we livestreamed from the day they shared their ideas for more information on each project.


As an archery fan outside of bootcamp, Karin decided to bring her passion into the classroom and create an app for archers to keep track of their 3D scores. She shared a mockup of what she’d like the app to look like for the user (made in Mockplus), which included the ability to connect with friends, log the equipment they use, and, of course, keep score. She has been keeping a blog detailing her process, and will start working on some code to add functionality to the prototype.


Kaitlyn has been using Terminal and Trello to get organized before diving into her project, which will be to create an easier-to-navigate City of Syracuse website that has a more pleasurable user experience. The final product will be mobile-first, but desktop-friendly as well, and will focus on the Service Request page where citizens can file complaints. After meeting with a representative from the city, she will learn what data is available to help further her project along.


Kelly is building a Sensory-Friendly Syracuse website to provide a resource for people who have sensory processing issues and would like information about potential sights, smells, sounds, etc. before heading out into the community. Currently, she’s playing with the basic layout and color scheme and eventually plans to turn it into an app, but will focus on the website in the time frame of Careers in Code. The site will allow people to create user accounts and post reviews of local businesses according to sensory-friendly criteria, and in the future will have a moderated chat, an events page, and a resources page for more information about sensory issues. Her goal is to provide a more accessible experience in Syracuse by offering a better idea of what folks can expect when they’re out and about, so they can plan accordingly for their own needs.


Kate’s project will be to create an app (similar to a dating app) for potential adopters to find adoptable dogs in their area. She found research that matches four key attributes for people and dogs that make a better relationship between them (energy, confidence, focus, and independence). It turns out personality has less to do with matches. It’s a person’s expectation and what they want out of the relationship with their dog that impacts successful adoptions.

In her day job as a television show producer, she uses Photoshop regularly, so Kate is using this familiar tool to lay out several of her main design ideas that she has for the website, one of which is a Rorschach-like animation (pictured above).


While Elizabeth works on fleshing out her capstone project ideas, she shared her recent user experience on the website for a women’s organization. When attempting to sign up for an event, return attempts kept coming back with an error. She asked one of her Careers in Code instructors to help diagnose the problem. He helped her see that she already had learned the skills to implement a fix, and coached her on how to apply those skills. Elizabeth mocked up a solution, shared it with the organization, and has since been hired as a contractor working on their NationBuilder platform.


Dana is working on creating a Centro bus-tracker app that works similarly to Uber, where users can type in a location to find the nearest bus. Upon login, users will see a map and can type the nearest address they’d like the bus to come to, or allow the browser to use their location. Eventually, Dana would like to connect it with Amazon’s Alexa so users can request information the assistant, and also add the ability to send push notifications that let users know they need to leave the house. She is currently working on putting the frontend together in Xcode and is the very beginning stages of creating a mobile interface. She also requested the bus system’s API key to access vehicle locations, and will incorporate Firebase for real-time geotracking.


Tim is working on developing an e-commerce site that helps customers compare prices on men’s and women’s clothing and accessories. He plans to have a variety of brands and designers available with their products, sourced from different websites, and will show the sites where the products are available and for what price. Getting over his perfectionism has been a challenge, but he’s learning to focus on function over fashion in the building stage. Currently, he’s using Bootstrap to write the HTML/CSS, and will start focusing on JavaScript, which he says will be the majority of the website.


Based on her own experience while in college, Anna wanted to create a planner for college students to map out their classes. They would be able to upload their major, and the website would provide a list of all the classes they need to graduate so students can plan which ones to take each semester. For those who change their major, they would see the classes they’ve already taken that fit within their track so there is no time wasted. Students who haven’t yet declared their major would still benefit from the site, as it would help them plan core classes that they’ll need no matter what they decide. Anna also wanted to incorporate a feedback section to comment on completed courses, and a section with recipes chosen specifically for college convenience (quick to make, accessible for dorm-room appliances, etc.). The database that would be required for this project, however, is quite ambitious, so she will work on adjusting her app to be more manageable.


Dakir is creating a visually pleasing online gallery with interactive elements. He wants it to feel different than typical websites, not like you’re scrolling through a feed of information and is inspired by websites like Visions for the Future Internet, Leavingstone Digital Creative Agency, and Orkestra marketing agency. The common thread between these sites, aside from the intriguing visuals, is that every section fills up the viewport with photos or art — something he’d like to emulate in his own gallery. He is currently focused on the frontend, playing around with slideshows and anchor links.

Watch the student demonstrations below, starting around 35 minutes.

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