IRIS: Open your Eyes to New Opportunities
Iris is a platform for growth, change, and empowerment for minorities who want to work in technological disciplines. The app is designed to connect members of underrepresented BIPOC (Black, Indegegenous, and People of Color) communities with people in their industry to chat, schedule resume reviews, and build real connections for career development. The features of Iris are designed to steer clear of the mechanical, surface level interactions often present in other profesional networking applications. Iris is for real job candidates that want to progress in their career and for real recruiters that want to hire hard-working and curious candidates.
In our own experience, we have found that the resources available for minority students curious about getting a headstart on their career are greatly lacking. While there are plenty of videos and forum posts about resume development and job applications, there's not enough detail or one-on-one interaction to make any tangible progress.
The app gives students an idea of what it's like to network and build connections with people in industry by taking inspiration from social media apps such as Instagram and Snapchat. By using features such as profiles, chats, and active users, the app is designed to attract passionate engineers and scientists to communicate and find mentors with ease and familiarity. Our goal is to encourage young profesionals and pre-professionals to step up and build a network to find direction. Iris is for anyone, from the inner-city high school student curious about starting a career, to college students feeling lost and unsure about how to secure internships. If we can provide underrepresented communities with resources we wish we had as younger professionals, we will have succeeded.
The app works like any other social media app, with three primary tabs: Home, Chat, and Profile.
The Home section is created to explore opportunities and find professionals in relevant fields. At the top of the page, users can view some relevant profiles of active users (professional recruiters) that they could reach out to.
Below active users, the app lists some upcoming career fair events targeted at minority groups; tapping on these widgets will direct the user to the main website of the listed organization.
The Networking section features some options to create meetings with professionals. You can chat with a mentor based on major and interests, schedule a one-on-one appointment with a working professional, or even explore relevant professionals in your industry.
The career planning section allows users to schedule a resume review with a professional that is willing to look through the candidate's CV and look for places ot improve.
The chat section is created primarily as an open forum for users to reach out to the community and create relevant groups. The forums allow for users to provide each other with tips and resources to further their career goals.
React Native was used to create front-end of this application. This framework was chosen due to the fact that one codebase could be cross-applied to both the iOS and Android platforms. The backend was implemented using Google Firebase, which dealt with storing the accounts and the chats.
Room for Improvement
Some struggles we encountered were initially setting up the React Native code base, however once that was resolved coding the rest of the application was smooth sailing from there.