Click here to watch the video of our pitch presentation! Make sure you set the video on 1080p for the best viewing quality.
We came together as a team because we all experienced a similar struggle: a lack of exposure to and exclusion from the tech industry. Before we all decided that the tech industry was a place we wanted to grow our careers and product management was a career path we wanted to pursue, we were high school and college students feeling around the dark. We didn't know what majors were out there when applying, and our scopes of knowledge were limited to and influenced by what our friends, families, and schools knew. Tech also wasn't something most of us considered since we didn't see people who looked like us in the industry. The tech industry is saturated with Caucasian and Asian males, lacking representation and inclusion of females, LGBTQ+, Black, Latinx, and many more identity groups. Our mission through this Project Jam was to conceive a platform that our high school selves would have needed and found helpful in the major and career search.
What it does
Cumulus offers three main features: exploration, mentorship, and community. We give students an approachable way to explore various careers and roles in the tech industry through what we call explorations. A student simply takes a curated, 10-question aptitude quiz and is suggested some matched exploration paths. On these exploration paths, a student is guided through a curriculum that uses existing resources online to learn skills related to that path, watch videos and testimonies, read articles, and join Slack communities. Students can also reach out to mentors in that field to humanize the explored career path. Through conversations with mentors, students make purposeful connections and get a headstart on building their networking skills. Cumulus also has community groups that attract specific identities and career interests. This allows students to connect and see other students who look and think like them represented in the field. The communities will be facilitated and led by mentors so that students also have individuals to look up to within certain identities.
How we built it
Our prototype is built on Figma. It is a functioning, interactive prototype, and we encourage you to play around with it! We performed user testing sessions with some high school students using the prototype we built, and the overall response was incredibly positive. Feel free to take a look at our intuitive design here. Note: This prototype works best on a laptop/desktop rather than a phone. Also, make sure you open the link in incognito mode. It loads better that way.
Challenges we ran into
One of the biggest challenges we faced was scheduling. As an international team, it was tough at times to communicate time zones, set deadlines, and arrange meetings. However, being an international team also proved to have its positives. We had really diverse and unique perspectives from everyone, and it is really what elevates our platform and idea to what it is now.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The most rewarding part of this process was being able to receive positive feedback from our mentor, Arinze (shoutout!), and users during testing! We had poured so much hard work and thought into every button, layout, and feature, and to hear users respond with compliments and affirmations that this is a platform they would use and are looking for, made everything worth it.
What we learned
We learned a lot about the product-development cycle thanks to the way the Project Jam was formatted. Even more importantly, we learned a lot from each other. Since we were a diverse group of majors and skillsets, we often had a more experienced person in a stage lead us through the process. This really helped expand each persons' skillsets. Lastly, we learned how important it is to ask the question: "If I were a user, would I use this?" There were some features and aspects of our design we had brainstormed but eventually cut out because we really wanted to buckle down and focus on user-centered design and thinking.
What's next for Cumulus
Cumulus is only just beginning! We've got a solid analysis of the market, a tested and reliable prototype solution, and user research to back the demand and features of our platform. We'd love to add more features (mentioned in our pitch) in the future and even look into developing and deploying this platform to make it a reality!