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Fresh Perspectives from a New Developer

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

When I first joined CANA, right out of college, it was a bit overwhelming. Transitioning from attending classes and completing homework assignments to attending meetings and completing Jira tasks was a deceptively big change. Although college taught me in theory about programming and software development, I didn’t have much firsthand experience and wasn’t familiar with the technologies being used at CANA. Luckily, CANA had a training schedule ready for me to get me acquainted with the development process and the technology I would have to use.

Notebook and Keyboard
Photo by Kevin Canlas

During this training process, I learned JavaScript and TypeScript. In addition, I completed the official Appian training course from their website. Appian is a Marine Corps approved platform-as-a-service (PaaS) that provides the capability for enterprise application development in a cloud environment. I have found this training to be especially helpful, since Appian is mainly what I work with every day, and I haven’t used TypeScript or JavaScript yet. However, I didn’t feel like I had a real grasp on the concepts until I put them into practice. I gained this experience working on real bugs and features for the Integrated Materiel Analysis Toolset (IMAT) system which is designed to replace the Marine Corps’ legacy war reserve. I started with pair programming. Two senior programmers helped work me through some small bug fixes and taught me how they usually approach these issues. There were some differences between how they approached development and what was taught in the official Appian training. In particular, they taught me how to use the hidden Appian lambda functions, which weren’t mentioned in the official training. This training and the experience of working on actual software systems, with paying clients, has been effective in making me much more confident and knowledgeable in the development of software.

Besides the training, another challenge was working from home. However, this wasn’t actually a big change for me. In college, I had to work from home during my last semester due to COVID restrictions. In addition, I had experience working from home from my internship with the startup, Northland Creative Wonders. However, with the startup, I occasionally met with my boss in person. At CANA I never meet anyone in person, as a result I must rely more on Zoom meetings and chats to keep in contact with coworkers. I think the biggest challenge of working from home is keeping a schedule. If I was working in an office, the manager would tell everyone when it was time to attend a meeting or do other activities, but when you work remotely, you need to keep track of these things yourself, and it can be easy to get engrossed in a task and not notice what time it is. I have dealt with this challenge by setting up alarms that notify me when it is time to start a new task or join a meeting.

I’ve enjoyed working at CANA so far and think this is a great start to my professional career. My favorite things so far have been the friendly company culture, the kind people, and the ability to work from home. My fellow programmers have been very nice and helpful to me during my time working at CANA. They have given me helpful tips and feedback on how to do the best work I can and have assisted me when I was struggling with hard tasks. Although I didn’t get to go last year, I look forward to meeting everyone in person at the next offsite.

My advice to a new developer joining the company is this: make sure to manage your time well, try your best to become very familiar with the new technologies we use, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are stuck.


Tristan Rentsch is a Software Developer at CANA LLC. For more information or to reach out to Tristan email him at

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