Crystal Freese is a student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and will graduate in the spring of 2014 with a BBA in Management Information Systems. Crystal received her first two degrees from Pulaski Technical College in 2012. In early 2013, Crystal became a member of UALR's "Power Team", working closely with Microsoft with building Windows 8 and Windows 8 Phone apps for the marketplace. Recently, Crystal was one of two students given a BizSpark grant from Microsoft, thus granting her the opportunity to continue with developing apps, no longer as the student under Dreamspark, but as a business entrepreneur.
Crystal is a member of Microsoft's Power Team, Mentor for non-traditional students, member of: the International Golden Key Honor's Society, Phi Theta Kappa, and Lambda, Lambda, Lambda. Although Crystal is a non-traditional student, she has proven to be an outstanding alumni, receiving numerous academic scholarships that have aided in her successful pursuit of her college education.
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Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic
Can you profile your top successes?
"....iTunes Fan app and Call it Duty Ghosts and I have a game called Learning Spanish...."
What are the best online resources to use as a developer??
"....I use the Desk Center a lot and MSDN has countless wonderful online tutorials as well. Bob Tabor is a pretty awesome guy as far as learning C Sharp and everything that comes along with building apps, especially when you're a newbie like I am...."
What got you into becoming a developer?
"....Last semester I had a C Sharp class and our professor got us into developing apps. She wanted us to develop apps and to get them into the marketplace and that is what our final studies were based on. So that how I started with this and it took off from there...."
What special technical tips can you provide when developing apps?
"....Anytime there is a workshop in your area I would recommend going to it....Saving your code is extremely important when developing your apps because you never know when you'll need it again....When you're in doubt refer back to Bob Tabor's tutorials....When building your apps, cross-platform your apps....Work smarter not harder...."
What are the major challenges when developing apps?
"....As a newcomer it's frustrating when you build your app and spend time putting it together and uploading to the marketplace and it comes back "x" amount of days later and your certification failed....Trying to come up with innovative ideas...."
What special developer techniques are you using in your latest app??
"....I'm building an app that I'm trying to implement speech into and the app itself will also be implemented into the Azure Cloud...."
Can you tell us more about this speech app? What is it supposed to do?
"....Well I'm not giving it away because I don't want to give my ideas to someone else, but essentially it will be speaking and then it will be translating into different languages...."
What are the major benefits in being part of BizSpark?
"....I'll be a business entrepreneur essentially having a business license, plus BizSpark gives countless software that we can use to build an app....."
Describe the value in being part of the Power Team?
"....Working in a team environment is rewarding in itself because even though we collaborate in such a small team we made great strides in the amount of apps that we were able to get into the marketplace over this past year...."
What are your recommended Microsoft technologies and why?
"....SkyDrive, finding your files anywhere and anytime....Nokia cellphone, it's great for testing your apps as well....Windows Surface....Hotmail account of course it links into everything that has to do with Microsoft....Visual Studio....Windows 8 is awesome technology...."
How do you mentor non-traditional students? What are non-traditional students?
"....A non-traditional student is someone who did not go to college right after high school and are typically older people, people who have come back to college or have never been to college like myself. The purpose of the program at UALR is to provide one-on-one assistance to follow alumni in their transition to the academic environment...."
Describe some of the scholarships you have received?
"....The lottery scholarships (as a non-traditional student)....Gibson Duncan Trust Scholarship....Louise and Jack T. Lynn Scholarship...."
Do you feel computing should be a recognized profession on par with accounting, medicine and law with demonstrated professional development, adherence to a code of ethics, personal responsibility, public accountability, quality assurance and recognized credentials? [See www.ipthree.org and the Global Industry Council, http://www.ipthree.org/about-ip3/global-advisory-council]
"....Yes and no. I do think that ethics, personal responsibility, quality assurance, public accountability, all those are extremely important, so on that aspect I do think that it should. But as far as recognized credentials that is what is kind of a fine line for me. Doctors must attain almost a decade of schooling to achieve their credentials, but computing is different because do I need a piece of paper if I can go out and build an app using all the tools that’s required so do I need a piece of paper to recognize that I can do that...."
From all the things that you've done, the scholarships that you've won, your life experiences, your leadership, developing applications, do you have any stories (amusing, surprising, unexpected, amazing) that you can share?
"....Our campus is so big and she didn't have a laptop so she brought her home computer every time and she lugged it all the way across the campus, up three flights of stairs into the room where we were developing our apps...."
If you were conducting this interview, what questions would you ask, and then what would be your answers?
"....How long have you been a developer?....Where did learn to build an app?.....What do you think about more women coming into IT profession, which is predominantly male...."
Crystal, with your demanding schedule, we are indeed fortunate to have you come in to do this interview. Thank you for sharing your deep experiences with our audience.