NIU students get real world experience developing technology for Discover

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Tech-savvy students at Northern Illinois University are getting the chance to research and develop new technologies right on campus as part of Code Orange, a collaboration between Discover Financial Services and NIU.

“My end goal is to be a business analyst, so I wanted to have a little background in technology, as well as mirroring that with some soft skills,” said junior Jane Swift, who is enrolled in the program.

Students who are focused on technology degrees are recruited into the program.

“We give them an opportunity to come in and apply what they’re learning in the classroom, in a real world environment, delivering real world product that we’ll use as a company to put out for our customers,” said Glenn Schneider, Chief Information Officer for Discover Financial Services.

Students are paid to work on, and help develop, two new Discover technologies in the areas of mobile software development, web application coding, and person-to-person payment systems.

The lab is located on the lower level of Founders Memorial Library on the NIU campus.

“For a big company to be here on campus, and not have to drive anywhere else, plus the opportunity to have an internship during the semester — which is really hard to find — those are the things that drove me here,” said student Kris Schrader.

Schnieder says, ultimately, the goal is for interested students to wind up working for Discover after graduation.

“Hopefully, we’ve given these students an opportunity to learn and grow outside of their academic curriculum, to set them up well as they graduate, for a great opportunity ni the working world,” he said.

“After coming here and having worked in our teams and being treated the way we have, it’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” said student Jane Swift.

Right now, there are 37 students involved in Code Orange. They plan to grow that number to 50 in the Spring.

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